Podcast Episode 68 – Stephen Flaherty

 

If you want your kid to write for the musical theater, and write well, you might want to start by naming him Stephen.

Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz and this week’s guest, the other half of the Ahrens/Flaherty songwriting team, Tony Award-Winning Composer Stephen Flaherty, are proof that there’s something in this first name that helps you write killer show tunes.

Today’s Stephen has written some of my favorite songs and favorite musicals, from Ragtime (which I worked on), to the bursting-with-joy Once on This Island (which was one of the first shows I ever saw when I moved to New York) and so many shows in between.  And next season will see another Ahrens/Flaherty show on the Broadway boards with the much anticipated Anastasia.  

We had Lynn Ahrens on the podcast a few weeks ago, which makes today the first time we’ve ever had a musical theater songwriting team on the show at separate times.  So now hear Stephen’s perspective on how they do what they do and . . .

  • How Stephen Sondheim helped him find a Lyricist (and why if he hadn’t listened his career might be very different today).
  • Why he’s never experienced Writer’s block, and how you can get through it if you have it.
  • The animated movie he wrote that may never see the light of day, and how it inspired another one.
  • Why not having his first two shows produced was a good thing.
  • The speed writing 11 day audition process he and Lynn went through to be chosen to write Ragtime.

Stephen is an immense talent, there’s no question about that, but as you’ll hear in this podcast, what strikes me is his incredible balance of confidence and modesty, which makes him successful not just in writing great music . . . but in writing a great musical.

Enjoy!

(And check out this live recording of the 54 Below Ahrens/Flaherty celebration of their 30 years of collaboration!)

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.

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Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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