Excerpt: Falling Off Broadway by David Black

About the Book:

Falling off Broadway is a witty, entertaining memoir by Tony Award-winning producer David Black of his adventures on Broadway. The book is filled with revealing personal accounts of theatrical luminaries and well-known figures such as Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Julie Harris, Gene Hackman, Joel Grey, Bernadette Peters, Burt Reynolds, Julie Andrews, Groucho Marx, Joshua Logan, Alan King, David Merrick, Donald Trump, and Richard Nixon. This memoir is based on David Black’s one-man play, which received rave reviews in New York and London.


Read an Excerpt:

Featured in Aug/Sept 2016 Issue: Sixth Anniversary Issue

When my new musical George M! opened on Broadway, the New York Times theater critic Clive Barnes wrote, “It’s too bad George M! was not allowed to compete in the Tonys, so I am giving it my personal Tony Award and Joel Grey can have two.” This review by Clive Barnes turned George M! into an instant hit.

It was 1968, and the night before the presidential election, I wired $500 to Hubert Humphrey because I did not want to watch Richard Nixon on television for four years. Five days after the election, my secretary said, “President-elect Nixon is on the telephone!” 

“You’re joking!” “Get on the phone!” 

When I picked up the phone, it was Rose-Mary Woods, “Mr. Black, it’s an historic moment in the history of our country when a President-elect first appears in public and President-elect Nixon has decided that his first public appearance will be at George M!” 

My first thought was that, since Lincoln, very few presidents have gone to the theater. If Nixon actually showed up, George M! would run forever! Nixon wanted seven free tickets—for himself, Pat, Julie, Tricia, and three gentlemen named Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Dean. 

I was alone with Nixon in a small room backstage during intermission. He told me how he used to sit in the balcony of our theater as a kid, and about his piano lessons. Nixon was sweating and trying to impress me and he had just been elected president of the United States. 

Nixon is nervous talking to me because I am a Broadway producer. 

Nixon liked George M! and he invited me to bring it to the White House. He also invited me to produce his Inaugural Gala. 

Jack Kennedy had invited Frank Sinatra to produce his Inaugural Gala and Richard Nixon had invited me. I decided to accept. 

From Falling Off Broadway by David Black. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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