This scene of the audience in a Broadway theater on opening night was originally drawn from Hirschfeld’s 1951 satirical book on putting on a show, Show Business is No Business. In the book he describes all the players in the drama of opening night including the playwright, the producer, angels, the relatives, the director, performers, and musicians. Hirschfeld takes pleasure in enumerating all the things that will go wrong on opening night, regardless of the preparation, but writes, “Once the curtain is up, you are in that unenviable position of observing two years of work kaleidoscoped into a two-hour experience. Nothing said or seen will give you the slightest clue to your fate; the immediate, audible response of the audience will not in any way reflect their private opinions, so you might as well relax. First-night audiences seem equally as enchanted with a failure as with a success.”
This image was used as the show poster in 1983 for the original Broadway production of Noises Off, a farce about a traveling theater troupe putting on a show.
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