Michael Riedel (journalist)
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
His skewering of Broadway shows and personalities in his twice-weekly column have made him a controversial and often feared figure on the New York theater scene. He has been called "the enfant terrible of the New York press".
Early life and education
Riedel grew up in Geneseo, New York. His father was the athletic director for SUNY Geneseo and his mother was a grade-school librarian. He has been described as a "smart, sarcastic kid" who joined the Young Republicans at 12 and originally planned to become a lawyer and politician.
He initially enrolled at Johns Hopkins University, but transferred after a year to Columbia University. While at Columbia, he acted in plays and regularly appeared on a radio show devoted to musical theater. The summer after his sophomore year, he interned for Liz McCann while she was producing the Broadway production of Les liaisons dangereuses. In 1989, he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in History.
After graduating from Columbia, Riedel served as Managing Editor of the now-defunct TheaterWeek magazine, which he attempted to make more literary by hiring highly respected theater figures such as critic Eric Bentley to write articles. In 1993, he was hired as a gossip columnist for The Daily News and subsequently launched his now-famous column reporting the latest news and speculation about the Broadway theater scene. In 1998, he moved his column to the New York Post, where he remains today.
In 1991, Riedel met Susan Haskins, a theater artist and aficionado who at the time was working with the groundbreaking experimental theater La MaMa. The next year, they began their weekly talk show Theater Talk on public access. In 1996, the program was picked up by PBS.
David Leveaux controversy
In 2005, Riedel was the subject of considerable press himself when he was in an altercation with English director David Leveaux at the Manhattan theater hangout Angus McIndoe. Riedel, who later admitted to being "tipsy," insulted Leveaux by claiming that English directors often ruin classic American musicals. While rumors circulated that Leveaux hit Riedel so hard that the columnist had to go to the emergency room, the truth is that Riedel was merely shoved to the floor and was not injured.
In view of his notorious reputation as a theater columnist, Riedel was referred to as a "Napoleonic little Nazi" in the premiere episode of the NBC musical drama Smash on February 6, 2012. He later made cameo appearances as himself on episodes "Hell on Earth," "The Fallout," and "The Nominations." Riedel is a panelist on the "Hollywood & Vine" segment on the "Imus in the Morning" program, and is a regular guest on "The Mark Simone Show" and "The Mike Gallagher Show."
He's at work on a book for Simon & Schuster about Broadway and New York City in the 1970s and '80s.
- Heyman, Marshall (June 9, 2003). "Broadway Snarls at New Butcher, Michael Riedel". New York Observer. Retrieved April 2012.
- Gordon, Meryl (May 21, 2005). "Assassin". New York Magazine. Retrieved April 2012.
- Zinoman, Jason (March 5, 2004). "ON STAGE AND OFF". The New York Times. Retrieved April 2012.