Robert Plunket has known New York Post theater critic Michael Riedel a long time. It’s a comfort zone that will no doubt make tonight’s conversation at the Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota one of the more memorable stops on the book tour for Riedel’s new tome Razzle Dazzle.
Ahead of his moderator chores, Plunket wrote a great column in Sarasota magazine about his friendship with Riedel. He remembers the time Riedel was none too impressed with his cameo-ing as the Pope in a dinner theater production. As well as how it all began for the pair in the Big Apple:
I’ve known Michael for 30 years or so, ever since he was 23, a recent Columbia graduate and just starting his career in New York. I was then at the peak of my power – a not very famous novelist though a frequent contributor to The New York Times. I sensed a kindred spirit in Michael, and one night at Joe Allen’s when we were both a little tipsy I gave him the advice that made his career: “Attack the mighty.”
Well, Michael took me at my word. From then on he began to operate outside the accepted rules of behavior. As one writer put it, “He became an attack dog in a world of lapdogs.” He began to crash parties. He repeated backstage gossip. He wrote about things that people begged him not to write about. And most importantly, he began to needle Frank Rich.
If you’ve forgotten when and why Riedel was slugged by theater types, twice, Plunket’s got those details as well.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Post Theater Critic Recalls His Friendship With David Brown