Podcast Episode 155 – The Profilic Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer Nelle Nugent

Nelle Nugent is one of Broadway’s most prolific play Producers, and she started out as a Production Assistant.

She worked her way to the top at a time when women weren’t supposed to be anywhere near the top, and she’s got the stories to prove it.

But more than 50 shows later, she’s also got the successes to prove why she is one of our industry’s best.

I was lucky enough to get to sit down with Nelle to talk to her about some of her biggest hits (Dracula, The Gin Game, ‘Night Mother, The Dresser) and how Broadway has changed since her days as a PA, as well as . . .

  • What can make a great play fail.
  • How raising money for Broadway has changed over the last fifty years.
  • What she did to overcome the resistance she got for being a female Producer.
  • The chance encounter that led her to produce Dracula and WHY it became a hit (Hint: it didn’t have anything to do with what was on the page.).
  • When reviews matter and when they do NOT.

What we often forget is that Broadway is not that old of an industry, and people like Nelle helped lay the foundation for the work we’re all doing now.  We not only owe Producers like her a debt of gratitude, but if we listen closely to how they got where they are today, we might just learn how to get to where we want to be tomorrow.

Enjoy Nelle!

Click here for the link to my podcast with Nelle!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

 

Podcast Episode 155 – Nelle Nugent

 

Nelle Nugent is one of Broadway’s most prolific play Producers, and she started out as a Production Assistant.

She worked her way to the top at a time when women weren’t supposed to be anywhere near the top, and she’s got the stories to prove it.

But more than 50 shows later, she’s also got the successes to prove why she is one of our industry’s best.

I was lucky enough to get to sit down with Nelle to talk to her about some of her biggest hits (Dracula, The Gin Game, ‘Night Mother, The Dresser) and how Broadway has changed since her days as a PA, as well as . . .

  • What can make a great play fail.
  • How raising money for Broadway has changed over the last fifty years.
  • What she did to overcome the resistance she got for being a female Producer.
  • The chance encounter that led her to produce Dracula and WHY it became a hit (Hint: it didn’t have anything to do with what was on the page.).
  • When reviews matter and when they do NOT.

What we often forget is that Broadway is not that old of an industry, and people like Nelle helped lay the foundation for the work we’re all doing now.  We not only owe Producers like her a debt of gratitude, but if we listen closely to how they got where they are today, we might just learn how to get to where we want to be tomorrow.

Enjoy Nelle!

Click above to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

 

Podcast Episode 153 – Tony Winner & Pulitzer Prize Finalist and Showrunner Warren Leight

My wife and I spend a lot of time with Warren Leight.

You probably do too . . .

Because we, like you (admit it), watch a lot of Law & Order SVU and Warren was a writer and showrunner for years.

Before that, though he was a finalist for the big P for his fantastic play, Side Man.  

Warren is one of the few playwrights that can go so easily from stage to screen . . . and that’s all about how he started writing in the first place.  See he started because he wanted to be a sports writer, and then . . . wait . . . I’m giving it away.  Just listen to the podcast and hear Warren talk about:

  • How a lie about loving horror movies led to him writing one . . . and why you might want to fib a little too.
  • Why he binge writes.
  • The importance of joining a Writer’s Group and how it helped him.
  • Why the deadlines of TV help make him a better writer . . . and how you can use deadlines to accomplish your goals, whether you have a TV network demanding a script or not.
  • How he wrote Side Man without realizing he was writing it . . . and what it was like after he won The Tony (and it’s not what you think).

Warren’s path to success is such a lesson in the grind, creativity and flexibility it takes to be successful in this business and in any business, and this podcast could give you a map for your own.

Click here for the link to my podcast with Warren!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

 

Podcast Episode 150 – Danny Burstein

 

I call myself an a$$hole in this podcast episode.

Why?

Because in my desire to put a spotlight on the business of Broadway, and give you a peek into the professions who aren’t always front and center, from Writers to Producers to Lighting Designers and more, I have been prejudiced against one of our most important professions.

The Actor.

It’s easy to think of the Actor as just an interpreter of drama, especially since in many cases (like I just talked about in my Facebook Live video at Gettin’ The Band Back Together auditions this week), they are the last ingredients added to the show.

I wanted an Actor to shed some light on the influence a performer can have on a play or a musical, and I couldn’t have asked for anyone more perfect to play this role on my podcast than six-time Tony Award nominee Danny Burstein.

During our chat, Danny gave me some insight into his process and where Actors fit into the development of shows as well as . . .

  • The difficult decision of turning down big-time Broadway chorus roles, because he never wanted to be in the chorus, even though he needed the $.
  • Why he reads scripts 50-100 times before rehearsals begin.
  • When Writers and Directors should listen to Actors and why.
  • How to get Danny to do your show.
  • Why he thinks of himself like a Plumber.

When you watch Danny perform, like I’ve been lucky enough to do in show after show over the last few decades, you notice two things right away . . .

1 – This guy can act.

2 – This guy loves what he does almost as much as audiences love watching him.

Listen in.  His passion will come through your headphones, and straight into your heart.

Enjoy.

Click above to listen to my podcast with Danny!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Podcast Episode 143 – Catherine Zuber

 

If there was a ranking of what I know about each element of the theater, costume design would come in last.

I lasted about 4 hours in my costume shop rotation during my internship at Maine State Music Theatre (I spent those 4 hours trying to thread one needle and then they let me go work on a computer), and my wife will tell you how I spend minutes staring at the stuff in my closet trying to figure out what goes with what.

That’s why I was so excited to talk to one of the best Costume Designers on Broadway on the planet.  Catherine has six Tony Awards on her mantle for shows like Coast of Utopia, South Pacific, Light in the Piazza and more.  (By the way, when your list of shows you won Tonys for is longer than most people’s entire resume, you are doing pretty well.)

During our Saturday morning chat, Catherine and I did NOT talk about threading needles, but we did talk about:

  • How she was terrible at sewing when she started . . . and that did NOT impact her ability to design.
  • Why her favorite costumes aren’t the most beautiful.
  • Technology’s impact on costume design . . . for better, but also for worse!
  • Why costumes for the theater are so much different than costumes for film.
  • How 21st-century playwrights are changing how designers must create clothes.

Listen in to Ms. Zuber school me on costume design, and I promise, no matter where costume design ranks on your list of “Theater Things You Know,” it’ll go up after this thirty-five minute Tony winner’s master class.

Click here for the link to my podcast with Catherine!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

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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