Late yesterday afternoon, on my way home from work, I took this shot of the crowd milling outside Broadway’s St. James Theatre for the premiere of the musical comedy, Bullets Over Broadway. If the mood out here involved anticipating that night’s performance, though, I suspect that nervousness dominated inside, starting with playwright Woody Allen.
America’s most famous neurotic could be expected to be at least a bit skittish, especially since none of his work had opened on the Great White Way since 1969. Now, the difficulties had grown exponentially (or, at least, what a world-class neurotic would think of it as “exponentially,” anyway). All of a sudden, just before the opening, gossip was spreading about a closing number that the cast supposedly couldn’t stand…about no African-American actor having a role as a gangster, despite the fact that much of the action was set in the Cotton Club…about how Allen, with his detailed notes, was usurping the role of director Susan Stroman…and oh, that continuing talk about that 20-year-old sex scandal.
Then, this morning, it was all over. The reviews ranged from mildly skeptical (The New York Times’ Ben Brantley) to laudatory (USA Today). The consensus seemed to be that The Woodman didn’t have a Hindenburg-style disaster, anyway.
It looks as if Allen has dodged a bullet—or, in keeping with his title, a hail of them.