Broadway

Some of the biggest Broadway turkeys

Forget Viva Forever!, Jennifer Saunders' Spice Girls musical which is to close after just six months, here are some of the most embarrassing theatrical flops the other side of the pond.

Not 100% LaBeouf: Shia plagiarises apology note to Alec Baldwin

The trajectory of an A-list fall out rarely surprises. Star meets star, egos run out of sync, agents plant bitchy stories in the press. But this week - with the Shia LaBeouf and Alec Baldwin split - gossip watchers were treated to a bizarre twist in the old routine. First, a macho and apparently heartfelt apology posted on Twitter. Second, the revelation that this email was almost entirely cribbed from a 2009 essay in Esquire. Oops!

Buddy Freitag: 'Angel' who backed a series of hits

Edgar "Buddy" Freitag, who died on 30 May of a brain tumour at the age of 80, helped back some of Broadway's most talked about shows, including the musical 1920s pastiche The Drowsy Chaperone, Memphis and Edward Albee's The Goat, Or Who is Sylvia? He died less than two weeks before the Tony Awards, with several of his shows, including the hit revival of Porgy and Bess, Nice Work If You Can Get It and End of the Rainbow - vying for honours.

Spielberg's NBC TV venture Smash is set to divide and multiply

Steven Spielberg's upcoming NBC TV venture, Smash, suggests a whole new future for the story-within-a-story device. Due to air in the UK on Sky Atlantic later this year and starring Anjelica Houston, Debra Messing, and Katharine McPhee, this comedy drama, which premieres in the US on 6 February, presents the backstage politics behind the production of, and the drama of the production process of, a fictional Broadway show about Marilyn Monroe.

Darlan dazzles, Lights dazes

On the face of it, only one of the novice hurdle winners at Taunton yesterday could be described as breathtaking. The first, after all, was returned at 200-1; and the second, sent off at odds-on, won by only half a length. But the manner of Darlan's success was such that he stole the show even from the eye-watering starting price of Lights Of Broadway.

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Tom Hedley: 'On stage, Flashdance in your face and completely alive'

When I wrote Flashdance, in 1982, it was a hard sell; musicals were considered poison at the box office and Hollywood studio executives were put off by the notion that what I had written would in any way be thought of or described as a musical. The first director I approached was the great Bob Fosse. He was very drawn to it but, after giving me copious notes, he finally shrugged and said: "Look, the fact is, this is simply not a movie. What you have written is a stage musical and I would be willing to consider working on it for Broadway. But even then there is a central flaw in your concept – you seem to have all the choreography done as single dancers direct to the camera. You must have ensemble choreography for the stage."

The Human Comedy, Young Vic, London

The Young Vic has an admirable tradition of kicking off its year with a production that pulls in the local community to play alongside professionals in the role of chorus – and the venue has had some of its most signal recent successes in this department. It now launches its 40th anniversary season in joyous fashion with the belated British premiere of The Human Comedy. A flawed, affecting show by Hair composer, Galt MacDermot, this piece flopped on Broadway in 1984, but it fits the bill here to an almost parodic degree in its celebration of the healing power of community and the unifying nature of song.

Anne Frank: The Life, The Book, The Afterlife, By Francine Prose

Can there be anything new to say about Anne Frank? No, and there is nothing really new here. On the other hand, the Anne Frank industry is so huge that there's a lot the ordinary reader doesn't know. This is truer in the US than here: only a quarter of American high school students can identify Hitler, Francine Prose says, whereas more British students can identify Hitler than Oliver Cromwell, to judge from recent reports. But the wider story of the Frank family and their helpers is less well known, and the first part of this book is fascinating.