Jack Viertel Reveals Most Startling Broadway Moment—an Attempted Murder—in New Fireside Jack Series | Playbill

Playbill Universe Jack Viertel Reveals Most Startling Broadway Moment—an Attempted Murder—in New Fireside Jack Series

Viertel, who retired as senior vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters at the close of 2021, recalls producing I Hate Hamlet.

To mark the recent retirement of Jujamcyn Theaters Senior Vice President Jack Viertel, Jujamcyn is celebrating the producer, writer, and artistic director's decades-long career with Fireside Jack, a series of stories about his work in the theatre.

In this first offering, Viertel shares his "Most Startling Broadway Moment," which occurred during the brief Broadway run of Paul Rudnick's I Hate Hamlet, Viertel's first production for Jujamcyn as lead producer. Watch below as Viertel discusses the night Nicol Williamson tried to murder his co-star, Evan Handler, on stage.

Viertel's career at Jujamcyn—which owns and operates the St. James, August Wilson, Walter Kerr, Al Hirschfeld, and Eugene O'Neill theatres on Broadway—began in 1987, when Viertel joined as creative director. Among the many productions Viertel helped shepherd to Broadway are The Piano Lesson, Into the Woods, M. Butterfly, Angels in America, the Jerry Zaks-helmed revival of Guys and Dolls, The Secret Garden, Grand Hotel, City of Angels, Jelly's Last Jam, the Nathan Lane-led revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Proof, Gypsy starring Patti LuPone, and more. Viertel conceived and co-produced Smokey Joe's Cafe, and came up with the concept that later became the musical and film The Prom.

From 2000 to 2020, Viertel served as artistic director of City Center's Encores! series, which has presented such musical gems as Hair, Chicago, Follies, Lost in the Stars, Mack & Mabel, Juno, House of Flowers, The New Yorkers, Me and My Girl, and 1776.

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