Michael Riedel Loses Bet, Gets Doused With Ice

by Jacob Coakley
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Michael Riedel gets doused with ice water by Harvey Weinstein after audiences loved Finding Neverland. Photo credit:  Evgenia EliseevaIn a fun story about the politicking and press that happens in the big-stakes Broadway world, longtime New York Post gadfly and Broadway gossip columnist Michael Riedel lost a bet to Finding Neverland producer Harvey Weinstein, and had a bucket of ice water poured over his head as part of the ALS ice bucket challenge. After Riedel wrote a column criticizing Finding Neverland (which is playing at American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., in a run-up to a Broadway debut) without having actually seen the show, the producer Harvey Weinstein invited him to see the show for himself and offered him a challenge: if less than 80% of the audience did not love the show, Weinstein would do the ALS ice bucket challenge. However if 80% or more of the audience loved it, Riedel would have ice dumped on him. The show was surveyed and the results were verified by accounting firm Ernst and Young. After 96% of the audience voted they loved the show, Weinstein doused Riedel. (Read the whole press release after the jump for a few more great digs at Riedel—including one from himself.)

"FINDING NEVERLAND" PRODUCER HARVEY WEINSTEIN WINS "RIEDEL CHALLENGE"

NEW YORK POST COLUMNIST MICHAEL RIEDEL ADMITS DEFEAT AFTER "FINDING NEVERLAND " EARNS THE LOVE OF 96% OF ITS AUDIENCE

Cambridge, MA - In reaction to a piece written by New York Post journalist Michael Riedel criticizing the new musical Finding Neverland, the producers of the show found out that Riedel had not seen the show and had been writing speculatively.

Riedel was invited by producer Harvey Weinstein to come to the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge and see the show for himself.  Weinstein set Riedel a challenge: if less than 80% of the audience did not love the show, Weinstein would do the ALS ice bucket challenge. However if 80% or more of the audience loved it, Riedel would have ice dumped on him. The show was surveyed and the results were verified by accounting firm Ernst and Young.

A resounding 96% of the audience voted they loved the show and so Riedel, watched by a large crowd that gathered, was elegantly doused by Weinstein.

In an impromptu conversation with Riedel after the show, Weinstein joked that Riedel should stay in Boston to have a heart operation - to have a heart put IN. Weinstein challenged Riedel to champion the theater in his column and the hard work done by actors, directors and producers. He encouraged Riedel to see shows, to understand the process, rather than annihilate with bitchy gossip. 

Riedel was a good sport and was charming and gracious. He admitted to giving the producers of Wicked the wrong advice when they opened out of town that they should probably not proceed with the production.

In a move to support the charity, Weinstein said he would write a $50,000 check for ALS.