Podcast Episode 151 – Tony Nominated Lyricist, Michael Korie

Last week I wrote about how so many fantastic musical theatre writers come from the advertising world, and one of the primary reasons why I postulated that they do was because they learned how to write for an audience, instead of just writing for themselves.

Well, advertising ain’t the only training ground for writing for an audience.  You know what another one is?


And guess what this week’s podcast guest did before he started writing lyrics for operas and getting nominated for Tony Awards for his Broadway show?

Michael Korie, the lyricist of Grey Gardens, War Paint, and more, talked about the similarities between writing for the theatre and for the papers, as well as . . .

  • Why he does so much research for his shows and why you should too.
  • The biggest mistake beginning songwriters make . . . and it’s an easy one to fix.
  • Why he never speaks his lyrics out loud when working with a composer on a song.
  • Rhyme . . . and the purpose of it, and how to use it for the greatest impact.
  • A secret method to making sure a song that you love stays in your show.

Michael is an artisan of words, and the only thing this podcast left me wanting . . . was more musicals with his name on them.

Click here for the link to my podcast with Michael!

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 – Six-Time Tony Award Nominated Actor, Danny Burstein

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


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.


Click here for the link 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 149 – Broadway Hair and Wig Designer, Charles LaPointe.

If you asked me what the one area in the theater I know the least about is it would be Hair and Wig Design.

That’s why I decided to do something about it and ask one of the best in the biz to help explain it to me, one weave at a time.

And who better than Charles LaPointe, the designer of everything from Hamilton to Holiday Inn.

Charles gave me a master class in Hair Design in this podcast, and since I have a feeling this is an area you may not know the most about either, I encourage you to listen in as we chat about:

  • How he learned by doing, not by studying, and why this is important no matter WHAT you want to do in life, from making wigs to making musicals.
  • Where do they get all the hair for these wigs anyway?  (I call this the “Cosette Question” – or “Do people really sell their hair on the streets?”)
  • The process of designing a wig and how long it takes (not to mention why it is so expensive).
  • Why do we need wigs on Broadway anyway when so many actors have fantastic hair?
  • How a wig helps an actor find a character and how the hair plays into the storytelling of a show.

Broadway is about details.  Every light, every prop and yes, every strand of hair must come together perfectly to successfully get an author’s message across to an audience.

Luckily we’ve got people like Charles LaPointe keeping that hair in place.

Listen in and learn, like I did.  Because after my convo with Charles, I can no longer say Hair and Wig Design is what I know the least about!  (Now, if I can only figure out mechanical royalties of cast albums.)

Click here for the link to my podcast with Charles!

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 148 – Tony Nominated Choreographer, Sergio Trujillo

Most great dancers start training when they are in the womb.

Ok, maybe not that early, but it ain’t too long after they are walking until they are pliéing and pirouetting all around the living room, to paraphrase a little Chorus Line.

If you start dancing later in life and want to be the best, you gotta want it more and work harder.

It’s super clear in the first fifteen minutes of this podcast that Sergio Trujillo works harder at achieving his goals and won’t stop until he gets them.

That’s how he became one of Broadway’s best dancers after starting his career at age 18.

And that’s how he became one of Broadway’s best choreographers in record time, after hanging up his jazz shoes at the height of his performing career.

This is the kind of story I love. So we spent some time talking about his path from a poor kid from Colombia to the Tony Nominated choreographer of Jersey Boys and others, as well as . . .

  • How he got the courage to audition for a dance show, having never taken a dance class in his life.
  • Why instead of staying in NYC, he moved back to Toronto to start his choreography career.
  • The part of the process he loves the most (and why he’s a nervous wreck before he gets to this part in a show’s development).
  • His message to the politicians in NYC.
  • What he looks for in a show before he sets a step.

He also talked about directing more.

Here’s a prediction that is as easy to make as the sun will come up tomorrow . . . Sergio will no longer be one of Broadway’s most sought-after choreographers.  He will soon be one of the most sought-after director/choreographers.

Click here for the link to my podcast with Sergio!

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 147 – Tony Award-Winning Director, Walter Bobbie

One of the questions that I get asked a lot in my travels is . . .

“How did Chicago become one of the longest-running shows ever?”

This week’s guest is one of the primary reasons.

Walter Bobbie was the Artistic Director of the newly formed Encores! when he added Chicago to the line-up and changed the Broadway landscape forever (Chicago is not only on the list of the Top 10 longest running shows, but it is the only revival on that list).

Because of its success, that could have been the only show that Walter directed, but he has done more, including last season’s Bright Star, Venus in Fur, and a bunch more (not to mention his Broadway acting credits!).

Walter and I talked about Chicago and why it became such a monster success, along with . . .

  • How he knew he wasn’t long for life as an actor (warning: this story involves beer).
  • The “Brunch Show” on the Upper West Side that started his career . . . and the person who hired him for the gig. (Spoiler Alert:  that person was himself.)
  • The training he got by NOT going through traditional training.
  • How he exercised his Producing muscles to build Encores! at City Center.
  • The importance of a “safe room” for his actors on any play.

Walter is an ADP.  Actor/Director/Producer.  In this podcast, you’ll learn how there is much more crossover in those disciplines than you ever would have guessed.

So listen up . . .

Click here for the link to my podcast with Walter!

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

Download it here.