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Subject: "Holzer was the Maxine Bialystock of her time."

NY Post
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Date Posted: Friday, January 10, 12:36:15pm
In reply to: NY Times 's message, "Adela Holzer, B'way producer dies at 95" on Wednesday, January 08, 02:48:30pm


I belong to an elite club: Those who saw one of the three performances of “Senator Joe,” a musical about Joseph McCarthy, produced by that great Broadway swindler, Adela Holzer. She died this week at an age that’s still a mystery, like so much of her life: Why did she think a musical that featured a musical tour of McCarthy’s liver (complete with dancing corpuscles) had a chance? As she said while it was in rehearsals in 1989: “I’m really humble, but I think the theater needs me at this point.”

Holzer was the Maxine Bialystock of her time. She swindled investors by pretending to be David Rockefeller’s secret wife. She kept a photograph of him on her bedside table, which she showed to people whom she was trying to fleece. The money somehow got diverted from the show to her purse.

Press agent Josh Ellis worked on Holzer’s “Me Jack, You Jill,” which he calls “perhaps the worst play in Broadway history.” Holzer closed it before the critics got there, but if they’d seen it, Ellis said they would have instantly forgotten “Moose Murders” and “Carrie.” It was so bad, the audience heckled the cast, which included Sylvia Sidney, Lisa Kirk and Barbara Baxley.

Baxley once asked Ellis to give her a hug before she went onstage because “the audiences are so hostile, I need a hug to fortify me.”

You don’t see crooks like Holzer at Sardi’s much anymore. Broadway’s a well-oiled machine run by corporate giants, rich theater owners and multimillionaire producers. Investors can still back a loser, but they’re not getting swindled.

This business could use a couple of mountebanks, if only for color.

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