Movie buffs who don't know their way around the Great White Way will be struck by the endless parallels to Hollywood in this Broadway documentary: There are star-powered megaproductions (like the $10 million Taboo, produced by Rosie O'Donnell) and smaller, hipper projects (the $3.5 million Avenue Q); shows designed to draw the largest possible audience (Wicked) and more personal, intellectual ones (Tony Kushner's Caroline, or Change). Producer-director Dori Berinstein knows her way around a Broadway show—she's produced 11 of them, including her latest, Legally Blonde—and her insider status no doubt helped secure behind-the-scenes access as she tracks one season in the life of four musicals, and explains the unusual level of intimacy between interviewer and subjects. Those include a sampling of New York's theater critics, who, compared to their film-watching brethren, have a much stronger influence on the bottom line. Still, their inability to predict the winners at the box office (who would see Avenue Q?) or at the Tonys (what could beat Wicked?) shows Broadway's inherent unpredictability, which makes for good entertainment in any art form.
Kushner ups the IQ on Broadway.
ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway
Runs at Varsity, Fri., June 29–Thurs., July 5. Rated PG. 102 minutes.