Second Act Trouble: Behind the Scenes at Broadway's Big Musical Bombs
(Applause Books). If Broadway's triumphant musical hits are exhilarating, the backstage tales of Broadway failures are tantalizing soap operas in miniature. Second Act Trouble puts you with the creators in the rehearsal halls, at out-of-town tryouts, in late-night, hotel-room production meetings, and at after-the-fact recriminatory gripe fests. Suskin has compiled and annotated long-forgotten, first-person accounts of 25 Broadway musicals that stubbornly went awry. Contributions come from such respected writers as Patricia Bosworth, Mel Gussow, Lehman Engel, William Gibson, Lewis H. Lapham, and John Gruen. No mere vanity productions, these; you can't have a big blockbuster of failure, it seems, without the participation of Broadway's biggest talents. Caught in the stranglehold of tryout turmoil are Richard Rodgers, Jule Styne, Jerry Herman, Cy Coleman, Charles Strouse, John Kander, Mel Brooks, and even Edward Albee. The infamous shows featured include Mack & Mabel; Breakfast at Tiffany's; The Act; Dude; Golden Boy; Hellzapoppin'; Nick and Nora; Seesaw; Kelly; and How Now, Dow Jones .