The real drama happens behind the curtain in this fascinating and rare look at four high-profile Broadway musicals (Wicked, Taboo, Caroline, Or Change, and Avenue Q) and their fearless journey to the Tony Awards®. Includin... more »g a star-studded cast, this entertaining film takes viewers on an unprecedented behind-the-scenes view of the creative process that captures all the heartbreak and hilarity of trying make it big in Show Business!« less
"A documentary about the genesis, success, press, and fallout of four Broadway musicals would have to be quickly paced. Besides that, the well-rounded content of Dori Berenstein's 'Show Business-The Road to Broadway' is whole and complete--entertaining, fun, informative, eventful, and fascinating. If you love musicals, this is a must-see. If you're only luke warm, you'll probably love it anyway just to trace the creative sparks back to their origins.
Well, it's just so exciting! Especially if you don't know the outcomes (like me). Watching four selected Broadway musicals from 2004, we witness each one get created from the piano to the stage. Only a hair less satisfying are the steps of creation for the choreography, rehearsals, and press conferences. It's all in the details. Some of the participants strive for the American dream from the bottom: One got off of welfare; another was working as a temp. Then, as the show takes a life of it's own, we make our bets (like on our favorite horse race) and see which one wins (financially and/or critically). Sort of an entertainment version of 'The Apprentice' without The Donald, Adam Zucker's editing never leaves us yawning in the aisles. The film is effective enough as it reaches its climax at The Tony Awards.
How can you not love a movie that gives you a real look at 'Wicked,' 'Avenue Q,' 'Caroline or Change,' and 'Taboo'? The film features substantative sound bites from a myriad of producers, actors, writers, and artists. As an overview, I loved the round-table discussions by critics at a New York restaurant. Or how about the feistiness and passion of Boy George and Rosie O'Donnell? Then, we're left in suspense as we see which show is left standing and for how long.
Noting that some musicals make millions in a few weeks and others fold the same night, 'Show Business...' gives us "the big idea" and runs off with it. Off the stage, that is, where all the players sip champagne--and celebrate their triumphs or drown out their sorrows. Vibrant like Broadway itself, it is quite a show!
(Especially featuring--besides the aforementioned--Tony award-winning Actor, Alan Cumming and 'The New Yorker' Chief Critic, John Lahr.)"
A True Valentine to One Tumultuous Broadway Season Full of I
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 07/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The odds against a Broadway musical becoming a profitable hit make Hollywood studio film deals seem like a sure thing by comparison. However, there is a more palpable energy to live theater and arguably a genuine sense of risk. Filmmaker Dori Berinstein has captured this high-wire dynamic in spades with this enthusiastic 2007 documentary, which covers the 2003-04 Broadway season culminating in the Tony Awards held in June. There are plenty of random shots from the season's shows and even coverage of a little-known rehearsal ritual of having the most prolific cast member wear a gypsy robe before opening. Berinstein's focus is primarily on four disparate musicals - the successful $14-million Wizard of Oz-inspired extravaganza, Wicked; a socially conscious period piece, the powerful Caroline, or Change; the glam-rock Boy George autobiography, the financially stunted Taboo; and the season's underdog, the adult-oriented comic paean to Sesame Street, Avenue Q.
Bouncing between the productions in various stages of development, the filmmaker intersperses brief interviews with the producers, directors, writers and principal actors, as well as scabrous roundtable conversations about the spotlighted shows among the influential theater critics who have the power to close a show with a scathing review. The diverse combination of perspectives provides interesting fodder, even though given the wealth of material gathered here, the treatment sometimes feels truncated and cursory, for example, composer Stephen Schwartz and star Idina Menzel are given plenty of attention on "Wicked", but not nearly as much is lavished on co-star Kristin Chenoweth or the other creative forces behind the show. Intriguingly, the near-legendary backstage turmoil behind "Taboo" is mentioned, but very little of that tension is evident in the rehearsal scenes or the interviews with producer Rosie O'Donnell, Boy George or stars Euan Morton and Raúl Esparza.
Even though it is not remotely a warts-and-all type of film, there are refreshingly candid comments from O' Donnell and Boy George about the unfair press coverage "Taboo" received from the New York Post's smarmy Michael Riedel. There are also moments that are surprisingly poignant like "Caroline, or Change" star Tonya Pinkins recounting her grief-filled back story and Morton near tears as he talks about his post-close struggles. Easily the most amusing scenes spotlight the young, precocious composers of "Avenue Q", Jeff Marx and Bobby Perez, who seem to have accidentally backed into their show idea and ironically came out the season's true victors. The interviews with Marx's proud but dumbfounded father are especially hilarious. As a Broadway aficionado, I couldn't help but wish there were more musical moments included beyond the snippets shown, in particular, more of Pinkins' stirring turn in her show or the wildly talented Esparza's cross-dressing turn in "Taboo". But otherwise, this all-access peek into the Broadway theater scene is genuinely insightful and wonderfully entertaining."
The bonus features.
J. Jeffreys | 10/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'll refrain from reviewing the movie as other reviewers have already addressed that aspect of the film. The bonus features on this DVD are enticing on their own. Liza Minnelli, Alan Cummings, John Lithgow, Brian Dennehy, Antonio Bandares, Patrick Stewart and more share their Broadway experiences in a private and personal conversational manner which makes one wish entire films were devoted to these one on one conversations. Donna Murphy has a particularly passionate and moving conversation about her love of Broadway. Dori Bernstein, Jeff Marx and Alan Cummings provide audio commentary. A study guide, deleted scenes, bonus Footage, Tony Awards clips and Broadway cares all round out the package making this a fantastic behind-the-scenes peek into making a Broadway musical which also makes one wish this were one of a nine or ten volume encyclopedic video series."
A remarkable look behind four shows
Rob McMillin | Garden Grove, CA United States | 08/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As this film's ending makes perfectly clear, Broadway is brutal: far more shows fail than succeed. Show Business followed four musicals (Wicked, Taboo, Avenue Q, and Caroline, Or Change) through pre-production to (some would say premature) closing, unveiling the huge amount of work expended to put these productions on the stage. Not only is it a valentine to the musical, but to the art form's fans. A must-see for anyone who loves Broadway."
Chris Kennison | Jefferson City, Mo United States | 06/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got this DVD for a friend who is NUTS about theatre. I am too, but she's actually wanting, trying and probably going to succeed getting into the business. I figured this was a must have for a eighteen-year old girl who is still excited and going full steam toward achieving her dream.
I wasn't wrong. She loved it. From what I understand, it brought her to tears and gave her goosebumps.
My only complaint is that I wish it was longer. For someone who is active in theatre, knows about the backstage things and wants to see how it's done in the biggest market in the world, SHOW BUSINESS is a must have. A brilliant insight into the things that we don't usually get to see from the best in the world."