Episode 160 – Be More Chill Composer and Lyricist, Joe Iconis

Joe Iconis had a helluva summer.

Be More Chill, his musical that premiered at Two River Theater in New Jersey in 2015 (!), opened off-Broadway, sold out in an instant, extended, and then the Producers announced the show would move to Broadway.

And not because someone gave it a “must move” review or because a super-rich philanthropist wants to give Joe a shot. Oh no, this show is happening because fans found it on social media, fell in love with it, and demanded that it happen.

And that’s historic . . . and awesome.

Everyone in the biz has known the Kleban and Jonathan Larson Award-winning composer/lyricist of tunes like “Blue Hair” was going to pop at some point . . . but, as only can happen in our industry, no one ever could have predicted it would happen like this.

So how did it happen?

That’s just one of the things Joe and I talked about on my podcast this week.  Listen in to hear him us chat about . . .

  • Just how that Be More Chill album went viral (and what you can do to make yours do the same . . . you may not like the answer).
  • Why he works with the same “crew” of performers on so many of his shows.
  • What doing “concerts” had to do with his success.
  • How he dealt with the disappointment of his first show not going all the way when he thought it might.
  • The fear of disappointing fans when your show is a social media success.

Click here to listen to my podcast with Joe!

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 159 – Pulitzer Prize Winner, David Auburn

I’ll never forget the gasp that came from the audience at the end of Act One when I saw David Auburn’s Proof on Broadway.  It was one of those great twists/reveals/secrets and surprises that make a great play not only great but also flat-out-entertaining.

I remember thinking . . . now that’s a genius craftsman.

And I wasn’t the only one who thought.

Not only is Proof one of the longest-running plays of the last few decades (at close to 1,000 performances), but it also won a Tony, a Pulitzer and is produced all over creation.

David and I chatted about the origins of Proof and how he solved it as well as . . .

  • How he “warmed up” to writing plays by writing sketches and one-acts first (and a business reason why this is a great place for emerging playwrights to start).
  • The most important reason why he thinks Proof was so successful and why it’s done everywhere.
  • Why he enjoys directing other people’s work, but doesn’t want to do his own.
  • The difference between writing screenplays and stage plays.
  • Where he gets his ideas . . . and what he does first when he gets one.

Listen to the podcast with David with the links below, and if you haven’t read Proof, do yourself a favor and get it here.  Not only is it a page-turner, but it’s a master class in and of itself.

Click here to listen to my podcast with David!

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 #158 – 3 Time Tony-Nominated Book Writer, John Weidman

It’s back!

After a brief summer vacation, the Podcast has returned! We’ve done a little “renovating,” lined up a ton of great guests, and have some big surprises in store, so I hope you’re ready for The Producers Perspective Podcast 2.0!

So, let’s get to it.

Imagine this . . . you’ve never written a play before . . . but you do.

And then Hal Prince tells you he wants to direct it. And he’s going to get Stephen Sondheim to write the music.

Sounds like a dream, right?

That’s what happened to John Weidman. The play became Pacific Overtures, and it lead to a lifetime collaboration with “Steve,” including creating the classic and groundbreaking musical, Assasins.

You’ve got to have a lot of natural talent to catch the eye of someone like Mr. Prince, but you also have to have a lot of gumption to even send him a play when you’ve never written one.

John and I talked about where he got that courage as well as . . .

  • How law school helped him become a better playwright.
  • Can all ideas be made into musicals?
  • Collaborating with Sondheim . . . and how to stand up for yourself when you’re working with a legend (before he became one himself!)
  • The most common problem he sees in modern musicals.
  • How to do deal with the ones that don’t work out the way you want them to.

I couldn’t think of a better guest for the return of the podcast, and when you listen in, I know you’ll agree!

Tune in . . .

Click here to listen to my podcast with John!

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

Download it here.

Episode 157 – Tony Award Winning Director, Rebecca Taichman

Rebecca Taichman won a Tony Award for directing on Broadway . . . for a show she conjured up in grad school.

Through years of determination, steadfastness, ego-checking, and intense collaboration, she took her wisp of an idea . . . and forged it into a Broadway play called Indecent.

She’s the equivalent of a theatrical entrepreneur.  Instead of just toiling away in the regionals forever and ever, she made her own @#$% happen.

And then the universe thanked her with a Tony.

Tune in to hear what kept her going through those years, as well as:

  • How being objective about her performing and writing is one of the reasons she’s a success.
  • What question she asks herself about a play before she signs on to direct it.
  • Straddling the line between wanting to direct great plays while trying to make a living.
  • What it’s like on her first day of rehearsal.
  • The difference between being a woman director yesterday . . . and today.  Has it changed?

And lot’s more.

So listen in to Rebecca’s inspiring story that says yes, an idea you have in a university library can make it to Broadway.

Click here for the link to my podcast with Rebecca!

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

Download it here.

Episode 156 – Pulitzer Prize-Winner, David Lindsay-Abaire

David Lindsay-Abaire wrote about a half-dozen plays before he ever considered himself a playwright.

Now, he’s got a big ol’ Pulitzer Prize to remind him of what he is and always will be, in case he ever forgets.

David told me the story of how he went from a guy in high school whose friends made him write a play, to a playwrighting student at Julliard, to the author of that Pulitzer Prize-winning play Rabbit Hole, Shrek, and more on this week’s podcast, and it’s a page-turner.

We also chatted about:

  • How his first play was a rip-off . . . and why.
  • What he looks for when he reads plays from prospective Julliard students, and how he usually knows in 3 minutes whether a writer has got “it” or not.
  • Why early readers of his work didn’t respond to Rabbit Hole and why.
  • How he uses “office hours” to meet his many deadlines.
  • His writing group that has existed for over a decade, and how it has helped him succeed.

It won’t take you very long into this podcast to realize why The Julliard School, which graduated him a few years ago, asked him to run the program.  David isn’t only a skilled writer . . . he is one of the few artists out there who can teach the craft, as well as the business of the craft . . . and he does a lot of that on this very podcast.

So tune in!

Click here for the link to my podcast with David!

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

Download it here.

 

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