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Bathtubs Over Broadway (2018)Bathtubs Over Broadway (2018)

Bathtubs Over Broadway (2018)

A surprisingly mesmerizing exploration of a forgotten Broadway phenomenon

Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Music



Easy, Feel-Good, Instructive
Dava Whisenant, Female director
Chita Rivera, David Letterman, Florence Henderson
87 min


rotten tomatoes
When he started as a comedy writer for the Late Show with David Letterman, Steve Young had few interests and not many friends outside of his day job. But while gathering material for a segment on the show, Steve stumbled onto a few vintage record albums that would change his life forever.

Our Take

Salwa Benaissa

Even if you’re a huge Broadway fan, you’ve probably never heard of the “industrial musical.” While it no longer exists in practice, in the 1970s industrial musicals were shows that corporations commissioned for some of the biggest Broadway names to produce. The script would be based on the company’s offerings and history, and privately performed by real Broadway actors to audiences made up exclusively of company and factory staff.

Now, a documentary about industrial shows doesn’t scream “entertaining,” but to describe Bathtubs Over Broadway in such a manner would be selling it way short. It’s really about Steve Young, a comedy writer for David Letterman, and how his life changed when he found his first industrial musical LP when leafing through a crate of old records for a Late Night segment he was working on.

Ultimately, what makes this such an enjoyable watch is the protagonist’s enduring passion over what at first appears to be nothing but a niche obsession. But with time, as he connects with other collectors and the people who were involved in the original industrial musical productions, his passion breeds community and lifelong bonds. Even if you’re no fan of Broadway, this makes for a great pop culture documentary and an unexpectedly touching story of human connection.


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