Favorite Quotes Vol. XXI: the first of many from Mister Abbott

I just finished reading George Abbott’s autobiography, so expect a few Favorite Quotes from him in the coming weeks.  Frankly, I could put half of the book up here, the writer/producer/director had so many great things to say.  He is the original Mr. Broadway, working on more than 100 Broadway shows.  And it’s no coincidence that this prolific director tutored another prolific director, Mr. Hal Prince.

The book is hard to come by now, and while George can be a little self-indulgent sometimes, it contains some great lessons in how to create Broadway entertainment.  So get it, if you can (you know what’s really amazing about the book?  It was published in 1963, when George was 76.  And he lived another 31 years!!!).
Here’s a great quote for the writers out there, as George remembered one of the greatest lessons he ever got.

Professor Baker was an inspiring man.  He gave you no nonsense about inner meanings and symbolisms; he turned your whole thoughts and energies into a practical matter of how to make a show. If it was good, a farce of a melodrama was just as important as a tragedy.  One of the things he kept hammering on was, “Get the greatest given emotional result from the given scene.”  Don’t have the character just come in and pick up the letter and go, but have him pick up the letter, then look under the bed, and go.

I mean, it doesn’t get much simpler than that.

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