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Hadassah of Great Neck, a metaphor of something?

 
 
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2014 07:40 am
After the show, Cohen hustled out to a pay phone on Broadway and
called Bloomgarden.
“Do you really like it?” Bloomgarden asked.
“Not only do I really like it, more important, I understand why you
like it. Kermit, this is the kind of show you would have put on twenty
years ago.”
“How much do you think it would cost to move the show to Broadway?”
“Don’t do it on Broadway,” Cohen said. “You’re not exactly going to
sell theater tickets to the Hadassah of Great Neck.”
“Well, that’s true.”
“Do it big- time Off- Broadway.”

In this conversation, what does "Hadassah of Great Neck" mean?
It seems a metaphor to me, but I can't find out its meaning.
 
View best answer, chosen by JustinXujia
Ragman
  Selected Answer
 
  3  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2014 07:57 am
@JustinXujia,
This is another phrase that is not common to regular American conversational dialogue. It requires prior knowledge of American culture - particularly Jewish American culture. Hadassah is a Jewish internationally charitable philanthropic community-minded organization. The implication is that many knowledgable 'budget-conscious' Jewish audiences who live in Great Neck (on Long Island New York) would be hard-pressed to pay high-priced Broadway priced tickets for this sort of show.

Off-Broadway venues and performances would be more reasonable. Again this indicative of a narrower smaller less ambitious potential choice of venue for the performance.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2014 11:34 am
@Ragman,
Rag did you respond off the top of your head or did you have to Google that q

In any case I do admire guys like you who will respond for no apparent reason to the concerns of a perfect stranger at some remote location through some obscure digital forum
McTag
 
  0  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2014 03:39 pm
@dalehileman,

I thought it rather good. Well done, that chap. Smile
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2014 03:53 pm
@McTag,
Mac I quite agree. The a2k harbors much talent
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2014 06:50 pm
@dalehileman,
thanks. It was off-the-top of my head. I did not need to reach out in this case. However, I do have some first-hand familiarity with the subject, the culture and the arts, admittedly. Living in Boston, as we did, in a Jewish community, my mom was a member of Hadassah.

Besides the OP had a legitimate interest in a cultural specific that most likely couldn't be researched at the typical places like Google or Wikipedia. This is where our forum shines. We may be seen as cultural ambassadors, for better or worse.
JustinXujia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2014 07:27 am
@Ragman,
Am I the "perfect stranger" dalehileman refers to?

We have similar online forum in China, but the question is in English.

Thank you and them for being so kind to strangers like me!
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2014 07:43 am
@JustinXujia,
Being a perfect stranger is a positive attribute. After all, each and every one of us started out on the forum this way.

And, furthermore, you're no longer a stranger here. Welcome aboard.
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2014 08:38 am
@Ragman,
Tickets please.

http://www.20thcenturylondon.org.uk/watermark/eyJmaWQiOiI1MTY2IiwiYWx0IjpudWxsLCJ0aXRsZSI6bnVsbCwid2lkdGgiOiI0NTAiLCJoZWlnaHQiOiI3MTgiLCJ1aWQiOiIwIiwiZmlsZW5hbWUiOiIyMDYwLTgzLmpwZyIsInVyaSI6InB1YmxpYzpcL1wvbGVnYWN5X2ltYWdlc1wvMjA2MC04My5qcGciLCJmaWxlbWltZSI6ImltYWdlXC9qcGVnIiwiZmlsZXNpemUiOiI2MjE2NSIsInN0YXR1cyI6IjEiLCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOiIxMzI5NTkwMDMyIiwidHlwZSI6ImltYWdlIiwiY29weXJpZ2h0IjoiTG9uZG9uJmFtcDsjMzk7cyBUcmFuc3BvcnQgTXVzZXVtIn0%3D/IkxvbmRvbiZhbXA7IzM5O3MgVHJhbnNwb3J0IE11c2V1bSI%3D/width_280
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  0  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2014 09:00 am
@Ragman,
Hadassah in my hometown was short-hand for cheap. Not hard-pressed to pay the high prices. They had the money, just didn't want to pay full price for anything. I learned a lot from the fine ladies of the Hadassah.
dalehileman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2014 10:03 am
@Ragman,
Quote:
couldn't be researched at the typical places like Google or Wikipedia. This is where our forum shines
Yea Rag I have to agree, unique in this respect, good work
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2014 10:14 am
@dalehileman,
thanks
Lordyaswas
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2014 10:23 am
@Ragman,
Hadassah of Great Neck.

Wasn't he in The Empire Strikes Back?

Bobba Fett's mate, if I remember.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 11:54 am
@Ragman,
I really don't think the reference to the Hadassah of Great Neck has anything to do with the higher price of Broadway tickets or with Jewish women being more "budget conscious" or unable to afford higher priced tickets. I think it refers to a built-in niche audience for a certain type of play.

I agree with you that the phrase does require some knowledge of American culture, but it also requires some knowledge of the history of Broadway theater and off-Broadway theater. At one time, particularly the time period when that conversation cited in the opening post took place, I was quite a theater buff.

The Bloomgarden referred to in the conversation was Kermit Bloomgarden, one of the foremost and most successful theatrical producers bringing productions to the Broadway stage, with a long list of hits, particularly during the 1940's, that had won acclaim with both critics and audiences. One of his last successful Broadway productions, in the late 1950's, about 20 years prior to the conversation cited in the opening post, was "The Diary of Anne Frank".

I think Cohen's reference to Hadassah of Great Neck referred to the fact that such groups were a built-in niche audience who'd formerly supported and flocked to "The Diary of Anne Frank" 20 years earlier, because of it's content and resonance with Jews, but were not necessarily the sort of theater goer that could connect with, or even want to see, the kind of play they were now talking about which was Lanford Wilson's "The Hot l Baltimore"--a work which might have less mass appeal and consequently should be mounted in a smaller venue off-Broadway, where it would be easier to sell tickets to fill the theater with serious theater-goers. Bloomgarden did wind up producing Wilson's play off-Broadway, at the Circle in the Square theater, where it received wide acclaim, and many awards.

So, my take on this is that "Hadassah of Great Neck" refers to a built-in audience for a particular Broadway play, and one affluent enough to buy tickets to see it, which makes those tickets easier to sell. That was true of "The Diary of Anne Frank", but might not have been the case had "The Hot l Baltimore" been moved to Broadway.

At that time, Great Neck was known for being an affluent suburban enclave whose inhabitants could well afford the price of a Broadway ticket. I don't think what Cohen said to Bloomgarden was meant to be a comment on Jews or their alleged tight-fisted spending habits. I think it was really about the difficulty of selling tickets to a new Broadway play with possibly more limited appeal than "The Diary of Anne Frank".



Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 11:58 am
@firefly,
I think you either misinterpreted what I wrote or confused my comments with others.
firefly
 
  0  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 01:16 pm
@Ragman,
I don't think I did misinterpret what you said, you did cite ticket price differences between Broadway and off-Broadway as being a factor, and referred to members of Hadassah as possibly being more "budget conscious" or less able to afford tickets to a Broadway show.

I looked at the cited conversation between Cohen and Bloomgarden, in the opening post, in the context of the history of Bloomgarden's Broadway productions, which was a completely different perspective than the one you took. The play they were talking about producing, in that conversation, Lanford Wilson's "The Hot l Baltimore" might not be as easy to sell tickets to as it had been easy to sell Hadassah groups tickets to "The Diary of Anne Frank" 20 years earlier--and I think that's what Cohen meant by his Hadassah comment. "Hadassah of Great Neck"--and groups like that--were an almost guaranteed audience of ticket purchasers for that earlier play, "The Diary of Anne Frank", given its particular appeal to a Jewish audience. Cohen was cautioning Bloomgarden that Wilson's new play might have a more limited audience, meaning it was better remaining off-Broadway.
Quote:
Again this indicative of a narrower smaller less ambitious potential choice of venue for the performance.
.
Exactly.

The conversation between Cohen and Bloomgarden really didn't have much, if anything, to do with ticket prices, Hadassah, or Jews, it was about differences in the appeal of different types of plays, and the ability of those plays to attract audiences to fill a theater--these people were business men. "The Diary of Anne Frank" had no problem attracting Broadway audiences, but Lanford Wilson's play, which had considerably less appealing characters, and consequently less mass audience appeal, might be better off presented in a smaller venue with fewer empty seats than if it was mounted in a Broadway theater.

Also, in the 1970's, when that conversation took place, Broadway ticket prices were still fairly affordable, and the off-Broadway prices were on the rise. But off-Broadway was known for the more experimental, or off-beat, or more cutting-edge productions, so it wasn't just lower ticket prices, there were differences in audience tastes that attracted ticket buyers to either Broadway or off-Broadway. Bloomgarden was wise in leaving Wilson's play off-Broadway for that reason.

We're simply looking at the topic from very different vantage points. But, if I did misinterpret what you said, please correct me.

Miller
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 03:33 pm
@firefly,
firefly wrote:

I really don't think the reference to the Hadassah of Great Neck has anything to do with the higher price of Broadway tickets or with Jewish women being more "budget conscious" or unable to afford higher priced tickets. I think it refers to a built-in niche audience for a certain type of play.

...So, my take on this is that "Hadassah of Great Neck" refers to a built-in audience for a particular Broadway play, and one affluent enough to buy tickets to see it, which makes those tickets easier to sell...


I agree with firefly. Moreover, there is nothing to suggest that Jewish women of Great Neck are more "budget conscious" or unable to afford higher priced tickets.

I've know several members of Hadassah in the Boston area, most of whom are wealthy physicians and lawyers and certainly not tight fisted when it comes to buying tickets to a great play. Moreover, I've know several other Jewish women from the Long Island area who like their Boston counterparts have plenty of cash to spend and enjoy spending it.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 05:29 pm
@firefly,
It was ehBeth that mentioned the budget conscious thing from her own experience.
firefly
 
  0  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 08:15 pm
@ossobuco,
Ragman did use the descriptive term "budget conscious", osso.

ehBeth said that, from her experience, the women of Hadassah had the money, but they were known as "cheap" because they didn't want to pay full price for anything.

Rags and ehBeth were not saying the same thing, and I really didn't confuse them.

I just don't think Cohen's reference to "the Hadassah of Great Neck" in his conversation with Bloomgarden had anything to do with Hadassah, Jewish women, or the price of tickets, for reasons I've stated in my previous posts. I really think the comment harkened back to the kind of demographic group that helped sustain Bloomgarden's original Broadway production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" as a commercial success 20 years earlier.

I also think the reference generally implied that the kind of suburban women who'd gone to a Broadway matinee for the kind of play Bloomgarden had produced in the past wouldn't be interested in seeing Lanford Wilson's new work--the audience for Wilson would likely be more limited, making seats more difficult to fill in a large Broadway theater.

"Hadassah of Great Neck" wasn't used by Cohen as a metaphor--which is what the OP wondered about--I think it would be more aptly described as an allusion.

BTW, the conversation in the opening post actually took place, and it's recounted in the book, "The Loudest Voice in the Room" which is about Roger Ailes.

ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2014 08:26 pm
@firefly,
OK, I didn't pay enough attention.
0 Replies
 
 

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