Synopsis: An all-star cast tells the inside story of the Broadway theater and how it came back from the brink thanks to innovative work, a new attention to inclusion, and a sometimes uneasy balance between art and commerce. Legends of the stage and screen including Helen Mirren, Christine Baranski, August Wilson, James Corden, Alec Baldwin, John Lithgow, Viola Davis, Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen take us behind the scenes of Broadway’s most groundbreaking and beloved shows, from “A Chorus Line” to “Hamilton.”
Iconic performances by Lin Manuel Miranda, Patti Lupone, Bernadette Peters, James Earl Jones and Mandy Patinkin lead the way on a hurly burly ride through Times Square, once again the main street of American show business in ON BROADWAY, directed by Academy-Award nominee Oren Jacoby.
AVAILABLE FOR 48 HRS STARTING AUGUST 28th AT 2:00 PM
Sharon and Don Silverberg
Tzvia and Reuven Shelef
John Ellison Conlee
Ahmed Aly Elsayed
Stephanie P. McClelland
No Guarantees Theatricals
Storyville Films production
In the middle of my interview with Helen Mirren for ON BROADWAY she suddenly questioned the whole idea of people sitting together in a dark room to watch a play. “Why are all these people quiet? Why do they shut up and quietly listen? It’s ridiculous, when you think about it. I mean…what a weird thing to do.”
Count me among those weirdos who have been mesmerized by actors like Mirren baring their souls on a Broadway stage, and helping make Times Square one of the most iconic places in America. Every year millions of people travel thousands of miles and spend billions of dollars to come to one tiny neighborhood of New York City along a street called Broadway and sit in the dark to watch a show.
Back in the 1970s, when I was growing up in Manhattan, this whole thing almost came to an end. Broadway was on the verge of bankruptcy and there was talk of tearing down the theaters to make room for parking lots. The Broadway audience had declined more than 50% in 5 years, most of the theaters were sitting dark, the theater owners couldn’t pay their bills, and the neighborhood was so scary the police department was warning people to stay away.
As a lifelong New Yorker, I was drawn to the surprising story of how an industry and art form on the verge of extinction not only avoided collapse, but managed to reinvent itself in astonishing ways.
Making ON BROADWAY I was given an extraordinary chance to interview actors, directors, producers and playwrights who are the heart and soul of the American Theater. They told us the inside story of the remarkable changes they’ve witnessed over the past 50 years, which have turned everything around. They helped us track the breakthrough works and artists who made Broadway into a venue where you will find everything from the experimental and iconoclastic to the corporate and commercial, reflecting the diverse, complicated society in which we live. Despite the fact that it is constantly changing, Broadway somehow attracts the most passionately loyal and devoted fans in the world. As Ian McKellen says in his interview, trying to describe the force of Broadway… “Come on, come in, come here… I’m going to give myself to you and you’re going to come and love me.”
Oren Jacoby (Director & Producer) is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker whose work has been recognized by the American Film Institute, the Tribeca Film Festival, the Sundance Institute, and the Alfred I. DuPont Awards. His film Shadowman was runner-up for the Best Documentary audience award at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017. My Italian Secret premiered at the Hamptons and Rome International Film Festivals. He created and was executive producer of Risk Takers (Bloomberg TV) an original documentary series about great American innovators. Jacoby’s stage adaptation of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man was produced at Chicago’s Court Theater, The Huntington Theatre in Boston and won a Jefferson Award for Best New Play adaptation. Sister Rose’s Passion was winner of Best Documentary Short Film at the Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for an Oscar. His company, Storyville Films, produced RBG (Sundance Film Festival 2018, Oscar nomination Best Documentary 2019).