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September 19, 1986 - Image 95

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-09-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

DINNER THEATRE AT

Your Host: Ed Chudyk

Cpat6

4

716010 ,






SPATS

Ribs
Steaks
Seafood
Chicken

HYATT REGENCY D DEARBORN

JIMMY LAUNCE PROductions, Inc.

RESTAURANT

present

Dining and Piano Lounge

\ _

new legitimate theater in De-
troit opened its doors with a
distinctly unmemorable musi-
cal called The Gay Life, star-
ring Jules Munshin. But, while
The Gay Life may have tuined
out to be less than an over-
whelming success, the Fisher
Theater itself was another
story.
A remodeled former movie
house inside Detroit's Fisher
Building, the Nederlanders'
glittery, 2,000-seat showplace
appeared to be just what the
doctor ordered for an ever-
growing number of theater-
goers in the bustling, thriving
metropolitan area of the early
1960's. (A second Detroit thea-
ter, the Riviera, had been
taken on by the family during
the 1950s and would later be-
come a movie house. The
Shubert was gradually phased
out, and closed with a perform-
ance of The Carol Burnett
Show in 1962.)
Broadway smashes Hello,
Dolly, Fiddler on the Roof, and
Sweet Charity were presented
for the first time on the Fisher
stage. Playgoers crowded the
theater to applaud great actors
like Henry Fonda, John Giel-
gud, Charles Boyer, Helen
Hayes. Subscription ticket or-
ders more than doubled during
the Fisher's first years of oper-
ation, going from about 20,000
in 1961 to almost 50,000 in
1970. In fact, in 1970, more
people held season tickets to
performances at the Fisher
than to any other privately-
owned theater in the United
States.
And so, meeting with im-
pressive success at the Fisher,
the Nederlander Organization
(now with D.T. as president,
Joey as manager, and Jimmy
in charge of bookings) began to
entertain thoughts of looking
toward the Great White Way.
At about this time, an anti-
trust action against the
Shubert Organization, in-
itiated by the U.S. Justice De-
partment, resulted in a consent
decree which ordered the
Shuberts to divest themselves
of a number of theaters, and to
acquire no new properties for
an indefinite period of time
(the decree was lifted in 1981).
The decree appeared to serve
as a catalyst for the Nederlan-
der group. In 1965, for a re-
ported $1.5 million, the Neder-
landers made their first mark
on Broadway with the acquisi-
tion of the Palace Theater.
Their tall-windowed offices at
1564 Broadway, are now lo-
cated "above the store."
In the next decade, they
would take control of other
theaters: the Henry Miller and
the Brooks Atkinson in New
York; the Palace West in
Phoenix; the Mechanic in Bal-
timore; the McVickers and
Studebaker in Chicago; and
New Jersey's Garden State
Arts Center. Soon, they would
add the Uris in New York and
Chicago's spacious Arie
Crown.
But, in 1967, in the midst of

.

Continued on next page

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71

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