12 March 2007

Beck Is Back

It says Hirschfeld on the marquee, but Beck on the will-call window.

A few years ago, the Jujamcyn Theatres people rechristened the Martin Beck Theatre on W. 45th Street The Al Hirschfeld Theatre, loosening long gone vaudeville producer Martin Beck's already tenuous grip on immortality. But Beck, who built the theatre—one of the most beautiful on Broadway—isn't totally forgotten. Theatregoers picking up tickets at the will-call window will see his unfamiliar name there, and perhaps wonder if the man at the window is named Martin Beck.

Beck, by the way, had one of my favorite nicknames in New York history: "Two Beers Beck." Whether that means he was on the floor after two brewskies, or resolutely refused to down more than two ales, I don't know. I suspect he was a good negotiator, as any Broadway producer has to be, and would engage his colleagues in a friendly drink while talking business. But he would order only two beers—enough to seem convivial, but not so much that he wouldn't lose his grip on the situation.

No comments: