THEIR FAVORITE THINGS: Broadway Press Agent and Author Susan L. Schulman Shares Her Theatregoing Experiences

By Andrew Gans
November 20, 2013

Playbill.com's feature series Their Favorite Things asks members of the theatre community to share the Broadway performances that most affected them as part of the audience.

This week we spotlight the choices of theatrical press agent Susan L. Schulman, who is also the author of the recently released "Backstage Pass to Broadway: True Tales from a Theatre Press Agent."
(** — denotes a show Schulman worked on)



(Clicking on a name bolded in blue will take readers to that actor or show's entry in the Playbill Vault.)

 

Mary Martin in Peter Pan, The Sound of Music and I Do! I Do!

 

"As a kid, I saw Mary Martin in Peter Pan from the second balcony and, even from way up there, I knew she was a magical person. I have never been disappointed seeing her on stage – she was a singular presence who seemed to embrace the audience just as they embraced her. To me she was everything a musical performer should be."

 

 

Robert Preston in The Music Man

 

"Preston was such a joyful performer – he always seemed about to burst into a song and dance. I worked with him years later when he replaced George C. Scott in Sly Fox, and he had that quality off stage, too. Filled with fun and that sly twinkle in his eye."

 

**George C. Scott in Sly Fox and Death of A Salesman (at the Circle in the Square)

 

"These two performances showed the diametrically opposite sides of Scott. He was adorable and over the top in Sly Fox – silly and outrageous, bordering on slapstick. And in Salesman this big, bold, larger-than-life actor played a small, defeated man with total honesty and broke your heart."

 

**Scott Wise in State Fair

 

"... Singing and dancing 'The Man I Used to Be,' channeling Gene Kelly with such easy charm and grace. Everyone in the audience fell in love with him. "

 

 

**Kathleen Chalfant in Angels in America

 

"She playing eight roles including the Male Doctor, who had a face-off with Ron Leibman. Kathy learned to sit, stand and think like a man for the role, while also playing the Mormon Mother and Ethel Rosenberg, among others. Astounding." 

 

 

**Karen Ziemba as The Wife in Contact

 

"She spoke only two or three words yet held you enraptured for the entire act. With only dance and her expressive face, you understood everything this sad and lonely character thought and felt, and you desperately wanted her to find happiness."

 

**Jim Dale in Scapino

 

"Jim comes from the presentational style of the English Music Hall and has that quality of instant likeability. The minute he steps on a stage you want to go on the journey with him. Scapino was his Broadway debut, and he got to show off all of his many skills, which led to a new career in America."

 

Lindsay Duncan and Alan Rickman in Private Lives

 

"They were incredibly sexy together in this Noel Coward revival. You believed they couldn't keep their hands off each other – on stage or off. Plus, of course, they understood Coward perfectly."

**Bob Fosse's Dancin'    

 

"I handled the show and especially loved Fosse's tribute to Fred Astaire called 'Dancin' Man.' The dancers wore white ice cream suits with striped ties as belts (à la Astaire) and did a smooth and sassy sand dance. I could watch that number once a week for the rest of my life."

 

 

Yul Brynner in The King and I

 

"I saw this for the first time when I was ten. I was so engrossed in the story and so mesmerized by Brynner as The King, that I believed he had really died at the end. I was so relieved when he came out for his curtain call."