Podcast Episode 204: Tony Award Winning Actor and Artrepreneur, Alan Cumming


That’s how this episode kicks off . . . with a conversation about soap.

Not just any soap, mind you.  Alan Cumming’s soap.  Like not his bar of Ivory . . . like his actual branded and sold on shelves, soap.

So you see, Alan Cumming truly has done everything.

And what’s amazing is, as you’ll hear in one of my favorite podcasts of my 200+ episodes, he’s only just getting started.

I knew when I saw him in Cabaret back in 1998 that I was watching something . . . well . . . beyond.  Then I had the pleasure of producing his one-man Macbeth on Broadway and realized that Alan was not just an actor . . . he was a Super Hero of an Artist.  

We talked about Cabaret, Macbeth, and a whole host of things on this podcast about acting, art, getting recognized in public, success, failure, running nightclubs, and yes even those bars of soap (and how you can get them), as well as:

  • How he still gets nervous and how he deals with those nerves.
  • Why he is working on a solo dance piece . . . when he is NOT a trained dancer.
  • How being vulnerable is what gives him confidence.
  • The importance of actors being able to “turn it on.”
  • Why artists feel the need to leave on the edge of fear (and why he wants to do a documentary about it).

This episode is a must for all TheaterMakers out there, because Alan is one of the most successful makers of art . . . his own way . . . that is.

Here’s how to listen!

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

This week’s #SongWriterOfTheWeek is Joey Contreras! Check out his song “Joyride” from his latest EP, “Joyride.” It’s available on iTunes/Spotify/Apple Music. If you like what you hear and want to learn more, check out www.joeycontreras.com or @joeycontreras on Instagram.

This episode is brought to you by Sunlight Studios. With 8 bright and spacious studios for rent, you can rehearse your next Broadway hit knowing you’re in good hands. To book a studio today, please visit www.sunlightstudios.com. Use Code DAVENPORT to receive a 5% discount on bookings until January 2, 2020.

And when you’re done listening to the podcast, go listen to Alan’s cabaret song and story show, Legal Immigrant on Audible!

Podcast Episode 203: The Score Whisperer, Glen Kelly

Ever wondered how to arrange a big Broadway score like Spamalot

Ever wonder what “arrange” a big Broadway score actually means?

This week’s guest has the ability to take a score and blow it up into a big Broadway musical that we all know and love. Maybe you’ve even heard of a few he’s done like, oh I don’t know, The Book of Mormon, The Producers, Beauty and the Beast

He’s extremely well-known, yet a bit of a mystery . . . which is why I like to call Glen Kelly . . . “The Score Whisperer.”  (insert spooky music chords – arranged by Glen, of course – here)

So, if you want to listen in and hear us discuss:

  • What is “Musical Dramaturgy” and how he does it.
  • How he taught himself the piano and musical theory without ever having any musical training 
  • The most common thing he adjusts when he first gets a score
  • The importance of adding space and giving the audience a chance to process during a song
  • What is was like to work with Mel Brooks on The Producers

If you’re looking for a master class in how a Broadway score is “made,” this is it!


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

This week’s #SongWriterOfTheWeek is Angela Sclafani! Today we’re playing a song called “I’ll Save You the Waltz” and it is from Angela’s musical The Other Side of Paradise. If you like what you hear and want to learn more, check out www.angelasclafani.com or @angelasclafani on Instagram.

This episode is brought to you by Terry Knickerbocker Studio. Terry Knickerbocker Studio offers a two-year acting conservatory, workshops, studio rentals, one-on-one coaching, beginner acting classes, and the best actor training in New York, period. For more information, visit terryknickerbockerstudio.com.

Podcast Episode 202: The Dramaturg for Disney, Hadestown and more, Ken Cerniglia

I’m gonna be honest . . . I never liked the idea of a dramaturg.  “That’s what a Director is for,” I thought. “And a Producer!”

Then, I realized that my “dislike” of something was based on the fact that I really didn’t understand what the heck a dramaturg was.  (Most things in life that we don’t like (including people, btw) are just because we don’t know what they are really about.)

That’s why I decided to have one of the leading dramaturgs in our business, Mr. Ken Cerniglia on the podcast to help explain to me and to all of us TheaterMakers exactly what a dramaturg does and why they are so important for every show, from a new play in a regional theater to a big ol’ Broadway show.

Listen in and hear Ken talk about:

  • What a dramaturg is and how you become one.
  • The most common note he gives to writers.
  • What his 15 years at Disney taught him about successful storytelling.
  • How Hadestown morphed over the years and how he assisted in the process, without over-assisting in the process.
  • The common elements that all stories for the stage need to be “successful.”

If you’re a Writer, Director, Producer or anyone with a script, this podcast has buckets of tips on how to make that script better.

So listen to the other Ken now!

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

P.S.  Ken has just agreed to lead one of our Writer’s Groups this year!  Click here to apply today!

This week’s #SongWriterOfTheWeek is Ben Diskant and Sami Horneff! Today we’re playing a song from their musical The Pirate Princess, “We Could Be Pirates”. If you like what you hear and want to learn more, check out www.bendiskant.com and www.samihorneff.com.

My pal Justin Guarini (you may have met him at The Super Conference this weekend) wants to help you nail your next audition! Justin will help you create a unique and memorable vocal performance that blows your competition out of the water. Visit www.JustinGuarini.com for more information!

Podcast Episode 201: Broadway Powerhouse General Manager and Tony Winner Charlotte Wilcox

Here’s a fun fact of Charlotte Wilcox’s career that will give you an idea of who she is and the scope of her career:

Charlotte has worked on every single Broadway production of Grease since the original, including all the revivals (and even a possible next revival which she told us on this podcast is in the works).

She has worked on close to a hundred different shows in her 50 years (!) in the biz, and is arguably the Broadway GM with the most experience working today.

She’s a Management Idol.

She also was the first GM I worked for, gave me a couple of jobs early on in my career (I was the kid who got the wine for the office on Fridays at 5), and then GMed Godspell for me in 2011.

We squeezed those 50 years of experience into this one podcast, where we talked about:

  • The “learning by doing” method versus getting a degree, and why NOT having an MBA or JD might actually HELP in this business.
  • What has changed the most over the past 50 years that has affected the bottom lines of the budgets that she creates.
  • Why some shows should close much earlier than they do . . . like they used to.
  • How she started as a “secretary” and how she felt as a woman coming up in this biz . . . and the challenges she faced along the way.
  • What Broadway Producers could do differently to ensure more success.

General Managers are like the “Generals” in a war . . . they plan everything.  And Charlotte has fought more battles than most of us could fight in five lifetimes.

Prepare for a master class in the biz of Broadway when you listen to this . . .

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

This week’s #SongWriterOfTheWeek is Max Vernon! Today we’re playing Max’s song “Some Kind of Paradise”. If you like what you hear and want to learn more, check out Max on Instagram @frauleinsallybowels or www.maxvernon.com.

This episode is sponsored by Curtain Call! Curtain Call is the platform for all theatre professionals; onstage or backstage, creative or cast, producer or theatre. You can network easily AND look for work. You can view and apply for jobs directly through the platform. Just go to curtaincallonline.com to sign up. They also have an awesome Instagram page – with incredible photography @curtaincall.

Podcast Episode 200: Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer, Mara Isaacs

First of all . . . 200 episodes y’all!!!

This episode of The Producer’s Perspective Podcast is our 200th!  Ahhh! Seems like just yesterday I said, “I wonder if anyone in the biz would sit down with me on the record about their perspective on making theater today.”

Well, so far, 200 of them have.  And I’m so thankful to all of them for sharing their wisdom with me and all of you.  Get this . . . and I didn’t believe it myself when I asked for the stats, but . . . these podcasts have been listened to close to 1 million times.

One of my missions in life is to “amplify the conversation about the theater” and I am so thankful to the 200 guests who have helped me do just that.

And we’re not done.  In fact, we’re about to announce a partnership to get our conversations to even more people, so stay tuned.

But for now, I couldn’t think of a better guest for our 200th episode than the Producer of the 2019 Tony AwardWinner for Best Musical (Hadestown), Ms. Mara Isaacs!

Mara is one of the few people in the theater industry who has sat in a Lead Producing Broadway Chair and in the Head of a Non Profit Institution Chair, and those two chairs are very different . . .

Or are they?

I asked Mara exactly that, which she answered in this advice-packed episode, and we also talked about:

  • What it means to her to be a Creative Producer in 2019
  • How a simple shift in how she asked investors for money got her to raise a lot more money and a lot faster.
  • How sitting in her car in her driveway led her to produce Hadestown.
  • How building a career outside of Broadway helped her to see Broadway differently.
  • Being one of the few female lead producers + how that is changing.

Listen in and you’ll understand why Mara is an inspiration in producing what you love and the results that can come from it.


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

And now…. This week’s #SongWriterOfTheWeek is Niko Tsakalakos! Today we have “Alone” from his new musical INTO THE WILD. Music & lyrics by Niko Tsakalakos and book & lyrics by Janet Allard. If you like what you hear and what to learn more, please visit www.nikosongs.com

Thank you to Terry Knickerbocker Studio for sponsoring another episode of The Producer’s Perspective Podcast. For more information, visit terryknickerbockerstudio.com