Yes, “Book of Mormon” is a Hit…

… but just how big of a hit?

To find out, take a glance at the Eugene O’Neill’s marquee.  In the grand tradition of “Cats” (those yellow eyes!), “Phantom” (that mask!) and “Merchant” (Pacino!), words have given way to a single, iconic image– in this case, a shiny doorknob. Tickets cost  $8,000,000, it’s “the best musical of the century,” there aren’t seats until 2020, but it’s the marquee, I think, that says it all.

The demand for this (admittedly fun) show is so insane, the brand so instantly identifiable, that titles are superfluous. Now that’s what I call a hit.

Are those South Park guys the new Andrew Lloyd Webber?

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Eyring the Dirty Laundry

Richard Eyre’s diaries, titled “National Service,” are a brisk, entertaining ride through the Royal National Theatre. As its Artistic Director from 1987 to 1997, Eyre oversaw his share of hits and misses, and these journals offer up articulate, beautiful, behind-the-scenes dish of that storied public performance forum. (I’ve always called it Disneyland for theater lovers, those Denys Lasdun staircases guiding you from patio to bookshop to cafe to theater to terrace and back around again.)

Eyre is descriptive, emotional, gossipy, and concise. As such “National Service” makes for splendid subway reading: Pick up and leave off at will, and never worry about getting bored, as a new topic is a mere entry away.

Much of the book’s pleasure comes from the way theater superstars wander in and out of the pages. One night it’s dinner with Judi [DENCH!], then a show with Tom [STOPPARD!], and finally drunken pub songs with Fiona [SHAW!]

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