Gordon Greenberg makes his Broadway directing debut this fall with Roundabout Theatre Company’s romantic crowd-pleaser Holiday Inn, for which he also co-wrote the book.
His previous directing credits include the West End revival of Guys and Dolls, Disney’s Tangled, the Drama Desk Award-winning Working and Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well… (both of which he also co-adapted), Paper Mill’s The Baker’s Wife, and Happy Days.
BroadwayBox caught up with Greenberg as Holiday Inn continues previews at Studio 54 to hear from him about which original Broadway productions he’d most want to go back in time to see if he had a Broadway Time Machine.
The Sunshine Boys (Broadhurst Theatre, 1972)
I am deeply connected to the comedy of my parents’ generation. From The 2000 Year Old Man to any word out of (my mentor) Garry Marshall’s mouth, that robust heart-filled classic comedy descended from vaudeville just makes me happy. And this seminal Neil Simon play is ground zero for that brand of joyous wit. I would kill to see it performed by the original cast, with powerhouses Sam Levene and Jack Albertson.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Alvin Theatre, 1962)
Further to the above, I have spent many hours imagining the thrill of seeing Zero Mostel live on stage. I’ve always believed that people come to the theatre to see death-defying acts. Who would want to watch Cirque De Soleil with a giant net right under them? It’s the danger that thrills us—from a comfortable distance. And Zero Mostel was a dangerous performer in the best sense of the word; vibrant, unpredictable, and passionate.
Funny Girl (Winter Garden Theatre, 1964)
Sometimes a show is defined by a performance—and sometimes it’s the other way around. In the case of Funny Girl, both were true. Having seen Sheridan Smith’s terrific Fanny this past year, I kept wondering how exciting it must have been to see Barbra rule the stage in a voice, physicality and presence that were brand new to the world. At a time when actors all strived to sound and act the same, she dared to take her liabilities and make them her assets. And real life mirrored the plot of the show. It was a perfect storm of talent and context.
The Glass Menagerie (Playhouse Theatre, 1945)
Laurette Taylor’s Amanda set the standard for all others after her. Having read numerous accounts of her magical performance, it’s always been something I’ve wanted to see live.
Evita (Broadway Theatre, 1979)
I saw the original Hal Prince production 12 times (mostly with my pal Jonathan Marc Sherman)—but only at matinees, since I was not yet allowed out after dark. So I saw every Eva except Patti Lupone. How torturous is that?
See Gordon Greenberg’s Broadway directorial debut this fall in RTC’s vibrant new musical ‘Holiday Inn’ at Studio 54.