Broadway: How to Go On Succeeding

Long runs in musicals can be like long runs in stockings. Things get shabby. Dancing becomes listless. There is something a little threadbare about the beat, the book, the cast, the chorus. Even the tickets seem faded.

Actors start playing the match trick—lighting a match and holding it until it burns their fingers, thus distracting the audience's attention from another actor. The geometries of their love affairs become hopelessly complicated, and morale is chewed up by cliques, gossip, and fierce little jealousies. Meanwhile, the washed and eager faces out front are sitting on upholstery that may be wearing out, but...

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