23-Year-Old Donald Trumps Broadway Venture—And His Playbill Bio

News   Looking Back on Donald Trump’s Broadway Venture—And His Playbill Bio
 
He was associate producer on Paris Is Out! What if it had been a hit?
Donald Trump
Donald Trump Joseph Marzullo/WENN

It’s there for anyone to see, but you need sharp eyes.

Buried in the Playbill Vault is President-Elect Donald J. Trump’s one Broadway credit and his one Playbill Who's Who.

TONY WINNER LAURA BENANTI UNVEILS EPIC MELANIA TRUMP IMPRESSION

Trump was 23, the scion of a wealthy real-estate family, when he approached Broadway producer David Black and said he was interested in becoming a producer himself. According to an account in The New York Times, Trump offered to pay half the $140,000 cost of Black’s next Broadway production in return for teaching him the Broadway ropes—and equal billing in Playbill and on posters.

Trump had no experience, but had reportedly done his homework on both Black and the show. Black agreed to put Trump's name over the title (though beneath his own). The show was a comedy titled Paris Is Out! by Richard Seff. It starred starred Sam Levene (best known as the original Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls) and Molly Picon (a Yiddish theatre star best known for playing Yente in the movie of Fiddler on the Roof).

Paris is Out! - Jan 1970
Paris is Out! - Jan 1970


Despite that star power, the show ran just 16 previews and 96 regular performances, losing both Black’s and Trump’s investments.

Trump's brief bio appears in the Playbill thus: “Donald J. Trump who joins Mr. Black in this production as Associate Producer is making his theatrical debut. He is in the investment and real estate business, and will be associated with Mr. Black in his new musical, W.C.”

You have to look for it. It's way down at the bottom of the left column on page 38:

Paris is Out! - Jan 1970
Paris is Out! - Jan 1970

Black later produced W.C., a musical based on the life of comedian W.C. Fields, without Trump’s involvement. Despite the presence of Mickey Rooney and Bernadette Peters in the leads, it closed in Detroit during its out-of-town tryout in 1971.

In the meantime, Trump had returned to the family real estate business—though at one point was reportedly considering the idea of a musical based on his life, to be called, simply, Trump. During the run of his reality TV series The Apprentice, Trump announced that he had partnered with Fran and Barry Weissler to produce a musical based on the series, which he was was scheduled for a spring 2006 premiere. The project never came to fruition.

At the time Weissler commented, “Donald Trump is a larger than life character and the Broadway musical stage may be the only medium large enough for him. We know Broadway audiences will embrace the drama and genuine intrigue of The Apprentice just as television audiences have.”

This past spring The Times quoted Black as saying of his onetime partner, “He did have a flair for show business, and he liked putting his name on something that was not real estate.... And, if the play had been a hit, who knows, he might have continued.”

Video: Watch Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in Trumped Musical Parody

Mike Daisey's Trump Monologue Sets NY and DC Dates

Paris is Out! Playbill - Feb 1970
Paris is Out! Playbill - Feb 1970
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