Everything Was Possible by Ted Chapin

Everything Was Possible

(Applause Books). In 1971, college student Ted Chapin found himself front row center as a production assistant at the creation of one of the greatest Broadway musicals, Follies . Needing college credit to graduate on time, he kept a journal of everything he saw and heard and thus was able to document in unprecedented detail how a musical is actually created. Now, more than thirty years later, he has fashioned an extraordinary chronicle. Follies w...

Details Everything Was Possible

TitleEverything Was Possible
Release DateMar 1st, 2005
GenrePlays, Theatre, Nonfiction, History

Reviews Everything Was Possible

  • Kasa Cotugno
    Follies holds a special place in my heart because it was the one that got away. I never saw the original, but listened to the (imperfect) cast album obsessively and did see a full production in the 1990's in San Jose. It fell between my two favorite musicals of all time (sorry, Hamilton): Company and Sweeney Todd. All Prince/Sondheim productions. I devoured this book. It could prove daunting to anyone not at least marginally familiar with the for...
  • Rolls
    It's time to come clean. I know this will come as a shock to all of you out there in "Goodreadsland" who look to me, Rolls Andre, as a paragon of virility and male potency; but, I must step out of the shadows of my secret shame and say unequivocally that I am absolutely mad about the musical theater. I'll scream my undying devotion from every rooftop in this dirty old town ‘til my voice is as shredded and worn out as Elaine Stritch's. I am a su...
  • Philip
    I saw FOLLIES on April 14, 1971 (the Wednesday matinee), during the second week of its original Broadway run: The Winter Garden Theater, Orchestra, Row C, Seat 13. Yes, I still have my ticket-stub! I thought then - at fourteen years old - that it was the greatest show I'd ever seen on Broadway (and I had seen quite a few by then).Thirty-nine years later, my opinion hasn't changed.This is actually my second reading of Ted Chapin's excellent accoun...
  • Anika
    Brilliant!! Go out and buy this book IMMEDIATELY!! At full price!!
  • Caleb Hoyer
    This has been a favorite among theater people, my tribe, for years and years, but I was never really tempted to read it because (shocker!) I don’t actually know the show Follies that well. Well, something finally pushed me over the edge, and I’m so glad. Even though my knowledge of the show isn’t that thorough, this book is a delight, compelling and entertaining from start to finish. It is a thrilling depiction of the creation of a new musi...
  • Paul
    Okay, this made me super jealous that my high school classmate Bob Higgins saw this show. Chapin kept a diary of his three months working as a production assistant on Follies - 30 years later, he turned it into a book. Great details about the number of changes and rewrites. Fascinating.
  • Taylor
    This is arguably the best book about musical theater. Ted Chapin worked as a gopher on Follies and wrote this book based on his experiences of the production. The book really captures the collaborative nature of theater and all of the struggles a production must go through to make it to Broadway. And of course, this production involved Stephen Sondheim, Hal Prince and Michael Bennett. If you like theater this book is a must read.On a side note,Ch...
  • Abeck01
    Comprehensive telling of the development of the musical Follies, from the minds of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman, through its reinterpretation by the creative genius of director Hal Prince, into one of the most remarkable, landmark musicals in American theater. Chapin explains all the ins and outs of its production history and how it became one of the most underrated, yet most beloved musicals of all time. Prince's production is recalled in ...
  • Brenda Clough
    This is like a dream of working on a Sondheim musical, only it was real! The ultimate wish fulfilment book for Broadway mavens.
  • Russell Sanders
    Ted Chapin’s Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies is a must-read book. It would appeal to anyone who loves musical theater or theater in general; to Stephen Sondheim aficionados; to those who are awed by the careers and talents of Hal Prince and Michael Bennett; to those who have fond memories of the original stars of the show, Alexis Smith, Dorothy Collins, Gene Nelson, and Yvonne de Carlo; to anyone who wants a primer on ...
  • Laura
    The WSJ book review had a column on “Songs of the American Century” (Sat/Sun April 7-8, 2018) and I decided to give several of the recommendations a try. My first,Ted Chapin’s “Everything Was Possible,” is a detailed (and I mean that very literally) account of the evolution and staging of the Sondheim/Prince 1971 musical, “Follies.” The show, to me, is a hit and miss affair, so it’s really interesting to read about how much was re...
  • Ian McNair
    When Stephen Sondheim opened his copy of Life and saw a picture of Gloria Swanson standing in the rubble of a theatre in ruins, little did we know that this sowed the seed of inspiration for his monumental musical, Follies. This journal of events records the highs and lows of getting the production to Broadway and not everything went to plan. Yvonne de Carlo was particularly infuriating because she couldn't remember the lyrics for "I'm Still Here...
  • Sarah Toppins
    I skimmed this book while I was rehearsing Follies. I particularly liked reading about the development of the numbers I sang. This book probably isn't for everyone, but I recommend it for Sondheim fans.
  • Alexis
    I definitely would have enjoyed this book more if I were more familiar with Follies. As it stands, I did enjoy the fascinating portraits of Hal Prince, Stephen Sondheim, and Michael Bennett at work.
  • Jay
    If you have any interest in how a Broadway musical is born or how the collaborative process works this is a solid read by someone who was able to observe the creation of just such a thing first hand.
  • B Rardin
    Just like being there!The book is filled with so much detail it’s like really being there. If anyone wants to know what it takes to put together a broadway show - read this! I’ve worked on Broadway and this captures every detail. Loved it!
  • Laura
    It's been some years since I read this book, and I gave away my hardback copy of it. But I know I relished every page, being a die-hard Stephen J. Sondheim fan, who has been in love with FOLLIES since spring of 1971, when, at 13, I first saw the cover of Time Magazine that featured Alexis Smith kicking her leg, clad in a bright red flapper dress, and then devoured the article and further photos inside. Thank goodness Ted Chapin kept such a detail...
  • Sammy
    Ah, what a joy to read! "Follies" was a landmark musical upon release in 1971, coming hot on the heels of - and besting - Sondheim's first great work, "Company". Done well, it's a haunting examination of ageing, the demise of 'classic' culture, and how our nostalgia conflicts with a culture obsessed with modernity and youth.By stroke of good luck, Ted Chapin was able to witness the creation of this musical from first rehearsal to opening night. T...
  • Neil
    Ted Chapin either had unique access to many levels of a Broadway show in development, or he fills in the gaps very gracefully. Either way, he produced a marvelous and rather unusual book. And no matter what you think of it (some love it, some find it disjointed, others say too depressing), I think you have to admit that Follies is an important show, one worthy of this kind of attention.The story that emerges is a great depiction of all the kinds ...
  • James
    Last week I saw a production of Follies at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. The direction and ensemble was excellent with a few standout numbers and only minor flaws (the sound system). The performance so excited and intrigued me that I picked up this book at the Chicago Public Library. If you love musical theater you will not be disappointed reading it for Ted Chapin provides unique insights into the creation of a what is now, forty years later,...
  • auntie
    Is this my favourite Sondheim show? They're all my favourite. It holds a special place in my heart, however, and I am a curator of all of the productions. I don't know a body of music which moves me as much as this one particular volume does. I CANNOT BEELEEVE i never KNEW the book existed ! I was RANDOMLY changing channels one Saturday and Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman were performing their American Songbook at the NJPAC on PBS, moderated by Te...
  • Anne
    "Lord knows at least I was there. And I'm here. I'm still here. Look who's here!" (insane applause.) Sadly, I was not there when the original production of Follies marked the end of what many consider the Golden Age of the Broadway musical. I recoil at such dramatic declarations, and yet...there is some truth to them. Ted Chapin was lucky enough to be a gofer/production assistant and "observer" during the rehearsal process of Follies, and thirty ...
  • Joseph
    Mr. Chapin, an unabashed fan of all things show biz that work, went back to the diaries he kept when he was an assistant to the producer/intern (all sorts of go-fer) for the original production of Follies in 1970.His account of the rehearsal period shows how the "inevitable" look and feel of a Broadway show often are a result of lucky accidents or "JUST DO SOMETHING!" desperation. ("I'm Still Here", one of Sondheim's best, quickly replaced a song...
  • Brenna
    I did not finish this book. I tried so hard to get into it for it had all the potential of me loving it but sadly it wasn't meant to be. I love, LOVE the concept and idea of having someone go through the motions on how a award winning Broadway develops from start to finish. It was great to see how honest and real backstage theatre really is and how much hardwork goes into it with just a short period of time to use. Maybe if it was a more recent p...
  • Melissa
    Even though I enjoyed this book greatly, I would only recommend it if you REALLY like Sondheim. REALLY like, as in you care about the original cast members of his shows & deleted songs & staging, and you know enough about Broadway history to be able to contextualize all of the drama swirling around the original production of Follies. Also, if you haven't actually seen a production of Follies and only know it from the sadly abbreviated cast record...
  • Alex Baker
    Based on a diary he kept while as a college-aged production assistant, Ted Chapin's book about the creation of Stephen Sondheim's controversial 1971 masterpiece Follies is an admirably restrained act of witness. Anyone with a shred of musical theater nerd inside them will eagerly devour this book, both for the unsentimental portraits of the show's famous creators as well as the fascinating details about the process of creating a show of Follies' ...
  • Mark
    Complete engrossing read. The level of detail is often is almsot exhaustive. What's particularly impressive is the author's objectiveness. He gives us lots of facts, lots of background and lots of personalites and weighs in with an opinion rather than reporting from a prejudiced point of view. This makes the reader really feel like we're in on something since we can form our own opinions rather than having them handed to us. He's respectful but n...
  • Mark
    A stupendous book about the creation of a monumental musical, a musical that in the intervening years has rightfully taken on the patina of legend. I'm so grateful for this account, and for Ted's remarkable journal that made the telling possible. I'm also grateful for the book's total lack of snark, and for his insights on the extraordinary men and women who created and performed this musical. His time with FOLLIES must rank as one of the most su...
  • Mark
    This incredibly detailed history of the Sondheim musical FOLLIES is really for musical theater fans only... but if you're part of that group, it's an intriguing glimpse into the details of what it took pre-personal computer to create a Broadway show. In particular, it examines one of the great polarizing musicals - a dark & difficult show about memories & regrets that nevertheless has some stunning musical & lyrical moments.
  • Bob
    I am a huge fan of the legendary show, Follies and was very excited to read this book. And, it lived up to my expectations. Based on Chapin's experience working with the original creators of the show, pretty much as an assistant/errand boy/gofer, he took extensive notes about what was taking place in this process. Anyone who is fan of Follies or a fan of the process of creating a musical should read this!