"Can We Talk?": 12 Reasons Why Joan Rivers Was a Broadway Baby

News   "Can We Talk?": 12 Reasons Why Joan Rivers Was a Broadway Baby
 
The staff at Playbill.com remembers the late Emmy-winning and Tony-nominated artist Joan Rivers, offering 12 reasons why this Brooklyn native and Manhattan fixture was, indeed, a Broadway baby.

Joan Rivers in <i>Broadway Bound</i>
Joan Rivers in Broadway Bound Photo by Martha Swope

Our list follows a Sept. 8 report that the Broadway League had decided not to dim its lights in Rivers' memory

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12. She was critically acclaimed for her stint in Neil Simon's award-winning Broadway Bound, playing the role of Kate, the part originated by Tony winner Linda Lavin.

11. Rivers was both a performer and a writer of the 1972 Broadway play Fun City.

10. She appeared on "Theater Talk" in its "Season's End Critics' Panel 2013" that also included New York Times' Ben Brantley and The Washington Post's Peter Marks. 9. Despite her worldwide stardom, she was a Broadway gypsy at heart, telling New York Magazine she loved having late-night dinners at Joe Allen's, because "[it's] where Broadway gypsies go (if you're in a Broadway show, that's where you go)."

8. In 1994 she was Tony-nominated and Drama Desk-nominated for her performance in Sally Marr...and Her Escorts, which she also wrote!

7. Though she was known around the world for her comedy, her goal was to be an actress. The Tony nominee even admitted she could recall all her acting reviews. Rivers was quoted as saying, "Acting is my true love. I would like to have been a serious actor and I plan to in the next life. I'm going to be Meryl Streep Rivers."

6. Rivers was a creature of the theatre and was at work on a play about her life in recent years. When asked why she opted to write it for the stage and not the screen, she told Playbill.com, "I'm a New York girl. I'm a theatre person. Tell me what it is, I've seen it. On Broadway and Off-Broadway and above Broadway. I go to theatre at least three times a week. So I always think in terms of theatre."

5. Her nighttime and daytime talk shows spotlighted numerous Broadway talents, including Patti LuPone, who performed "I Dreamed a Dream."

4. She attended most every Broadway show, often stopping by post-curtain to offer her congratulations to the cast. In a 2013 interview with New York Magazine, she said, "There's nothing like Broadway at night, and I try to go to Mamma Mia! if possible, because I like to watch 15,000 Japanese tourists in the audience trying to sing 'Waterloo.' If you don't go to Broadway, you're a fool. On Broadway, off Broadway, above Broadway, below Broadway, go! Don't tell me there isn't something wonderful playing. If I'm home in New York at night, I'm either at a Broadway or an Off Broadway show. We're in the theater capital of the world, and if you don't get it, you're an idiot."

3. She was an ardent, generous supporter of numerous charities, including God's Love We Deliver, Elton John AIDS Foundation and Rosie's Theater Kids, among many, many others.

2. Two of Broadway's most honored stars sang at her memorial: Audra McDonald and Hugh Jackman. Even the New York Times noted that her funeral was "more Broadway than Hollywood," with the New York Police Department's Emerald Society playing Kander and Ebb's "New York, New York" and the George M. Cohan classic "Give My Regards to Broadway."

1. And, simply, Broadway will be a little less bright without her there on opening night.

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