Podcast Episode 45 – Ted Chapin


Ted Chapin’s official title is the President of R&H.

Frankly, I think we should just call him the President of Theater.  That’s how smart and insightful this guy is about our art and about our biz.  It’s no wonder he was handpicked by the industry’s most powerful creative family to oversee its priceless treasures of material.  Seriously, the equivalent of being the President of R&H is like someone saying, “Hey, you . . . stand outside Fort Knox.  You decide who goes in and what goes out.”

I was thrilled when Ted accepted my invite to appear on my podcast, because I knew he’d drop some wisdom bombs for all of us to learn from, and boy did he.  Tune in and listen to Ted talk about all things theater, R&H and more, including . . .

  • His secret trick to pronouncing Hammerstein the correct way (and hear me get it right, then wrong, then right again . . . oh boy).
  • What happens when the copyrights on the R&H classics expire?
  • Would Oklahoma! be a hit if it were produced today?
  • What the @#&$ is the Tony Administration Committee and what does it do anyway?
  • How he decides what can be done and can’t be done in new R&H productions (and hear how he almost had to shut one down – and why it was a tougher decision than you’d think).

Ted has lectured on the theater at the world’s greatest universities, and I’m so thankful he gave us a little sample of his vast knowledge.

Oh, and by the way, Ted started in the biz as a Production Assistant (just like I did) . . . on the original Broadway company of Follies.  He chronicled that experience in the book Everything Was Possible, which I strongly recommend.  Get it here.

Enjoy the podcast!

Click above to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Click here to read the transcript.

  • Adryan Russ says:

    I started listening to this podcast and just plain couldn’t stop. What a superb interview — as Chapin says, great questions. Lots of lessons here — about collaboration, copyright, distractions — and the cultural value of theater. I read his book and loved it.

    Also, thought you’d enjoy this recent quote I saw from Kirk Douglas:
    “Here’s why I felt like a failure: On the stage, I am flesh and blood, not a shadow on the screen. The eye of the movie camera is an evil eye. When you act in front of it, that cyclops keeps taking from you until you feel empty. On the stage, you give something to the audience, more comes back. When the curtain comes down in a theatre, you have a feeling of exhilaration — something’s been completed, fulfilled. It’s so different from an exhausting day of shooting at the studio. You come home tired, drained. Making a movie is like making a mosaic — laboriously putting little pieces together, jumping from one part of the picture to another, never seeing the whole, whereas in a play, the momentum of the continuity works with you, takes you along. Doing a play is like dancing to music. Making a movie is like dancing in wet cement.”

    — Kirk Douglas, HuffPost Celebrity, 11/5/15

    Thank you!
    Adryan Russ

  • Ben Robinson says:

    Nice job. An old friend. Important to preserve this.

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