Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

“Well, have them do something!”

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One of the great breaks of my career came in 1960, when I was among those called in to doctor a musical in very deep trouble, Tenderloin. The show eventually was not a success. But the experience was profound.

George Abbott, the legitimately legendary Broadway figure, was the director of the show—he was closing in on seventy-five during our months together and hotter than ever…He was coming from backstage during rehearsals, and as he crossed the stage into the auditorium he noticed a dozen dancers were just standing there. The choreographer sat in the audience alone, his head in his hands.

“What’s going on?” Mr. Abbott asked him.

The choreographer looked at Mr. Abbott, shook his head. “I can’t figure out what they should do next.”

Mr. Abbott never stopped moving. He jumped the three feet from the stage into the aisle. “Well, have them do something!” Mr. Abbott said. “That way we’ll have something to change.”

William Goldman, Which Lie Did I Tell?

Written by nevalalee

March 19, 2011 at 9:58 am

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