Podcast Episode 39 – Spencer Liff


Spencer Liff has skyrocketed to success in the last couple of years, having amassed Broadway credits like Hedwig, TV credits like So You Think You Can Dance (hello Emmy nomination), and a whole bunch more . . . and he just turned 30.

Yep, 30.  When other artists are wondering what they are going to do with their careers, Spencer has already had the career of at least two successful artists put together.

With all that work (including the brand new Neil Patrick Harris variety show Best Time Ever), you wonder why he’d want the insane challenge of choreographing a revival of Spring Awakening that fuses dance and American Sign Language.

But as you’ll hear, that insane challenge is exactly why Spencer did it . . . and boy are we lucky he did.

Listen to Spencer talk about Spring and a whole lot more, including:

  • What a whole bunch of rocks had to do with his career choice.
  • Why being an actor and dancer was the best education he could have had as a choreographer.
  • The difference between choreographing for television and choreographing for the stage.
  • How life for choreographers in 2015 is different than in 1995.
  • Just how the heck did he teach actors that can’t hear the music how to dance in Spring Awakening (and hear him reveal some of the secret cues in the show that help cue the actors)?

Click above to listen and learn!

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Read the transcript here.

And a head’s up . . . next week is the last week of Spring Awakening month on the podcast, and we’re ending with the Artistic Director of Deaf West, Mr. DJ Kurs, and a very unique podcast that features audio, video, and sign language, not to mention incredible insights from the head of the premiere Deaf Theater Company in the world.  Next week!

Podcast Episode 38 – Duncan Sheik


Last week, you heard all about where the words of Sprinsprung from in my chat with book writer, lyricist and all-around poet, Steven Sater.  This week, we hear where all the notes came from in my thirty minutes with the other half of that collaboration . . . the maestro himself, composer Duncan Sheik.

Apart from having one of the coolest names around, Duncan is one of the very few artists from the pop music world that has transitioned from there to here with similar success.  It ain’t easy, and this chat was a great chance for me to learn just how he did it . . . and what makes him different from all those others.

So tune in and listen to Duncan talk about all things related to his pre-Broadway and Broadway career, including:

  • How four guys in a van made him second guess the pop music world.
  • Why his dislike for musicals made him want to write one.
  • What he’d say to other popular artists who want to write for musical theater.
  • What a Broadway musical should sound like.
  • What to do when you hate your own show.

Duncan ushered in a new era of music for Broadway with his score for Spring Awakening.  And in this podcast, you’ll hear just how he did it.

Enjoy it!  And next week, prepare to be schooled by Spring‘s choreographer, Spencer Liff!

Click above to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Read the transcript here.

Podcast Episode 37 – Steven Sater


Welcome to Week #2 of Spring Awakening month on the ol’ Producer’s Perspective Podcast, featuring none other than the Tony Award-winning book writer and lyricist, Steven Sater.

And just wait until you hear some of the poetic truth bombs he drops about writing for the theater, about Spring and about living life in general.  His story could be a musical itself, with the number of dragons he slayed in order to get where he is today.  And we talk about everything, including:

  • Publishing his first novel . . . at age five.
  • How he turned an almost fatal accident into an opportunity to master ancient Greek.
  • Why he prefers writing lyrics and book, rather than just the book . . . and why.
  • Why he writes on yellow pads with a pencil rather than on a computer.
  • Where he got the idea for Spring Awakening in the first place and what he thought when the curtain went up on the very first production.

You’ll hear me say this on the podcast, but Steven is one of the most eloquent guests we’ve ever had, pouring out beautiful answers to my questions, as if he was writing a podcast-ian play.  And his tips on getting your career started are some that all of us can learn from, whether you’re writing, directing or getting into hotel management, to be honest.

So enjoy Week #2 of Spring Awakening month!

Click above to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Read the transcript here.

Miss Week #1?  Click here to listen to Director Michael Arden.

Upcoming Next Week:  Tony and Grammy Award-winning Composer Duncan Sheik!

Podcast Episode 36 – Michael Arden


As you know, Spring Awakening starts previews tomorrow (!) night and opens on September 27th . . . so I had an idea.  What about theming this month’s podcasts?  I had a meeting with the board of directors for my podcast (which would be me, me, and this other crazy dude called me) and got a consensus.  This month would be Spring Awakening month on The Producer’s Perspective Podcast!  (Insert trumpet sounds here.)

Over the next month, I’ll be podcastin’ the key players of my production of Spring, including Authors Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, Choreographer Spencer Liff, DJ Kurs (the Artistic Director of Deaf West Theatre) . . . and today, our captain our captain, the Director of Spring Awakening, and the man whose idea it was to weave sign language into this heartbreaking story, Michael Arden.

Yep, that Michael Arden . . . the same guy who starred in Bare, Big River, The Times They Are a-Changin’ and most recently, Hunchback at Paper Mill.

He’s had a very successful acting career . . . and I have a feeling that after Spring he’s going to have to tough time deciding whether to take acting jobs or directing jobs.  #TalentedEnoughToWearTwoHats

Listen in to hear Michael and I talk about some things Spring and some things not, like . . .

  • What it was like going to school at Juilliard . . . and how they reacted when he left early.
  • Why there is a great theater scene in Los Angeles.
  • How being a Director has made it both harder and easier for him to work for one as an Actor.
  • What the heck is the Milan Conference and why does it make Spring Awakening ideal for incorporating hearing and deaf actors into the production?
  • How you should wear multiple hats with pride.

Enjoy the first episode of Spring Awakening month!

Click above to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Read the transcript here.

Podcast Episode 35 – Ralph Sevush


If you’re a writer, then you should know you’ve got a guardian angel.

And that guardian angel sits in an office in 1501 Broadway, is a Mets fan, and has made it his mission to make sure that your work, your rights, and your future are protected.

I’m talking about Ralph Sevush, the Executive Director of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Wait – you don’t know about the Dramatists Guild?  Well, you’re about to, because in this podcast, Ralph is not only going to tell you how it started, but why it started, and why it ain’t never going away.  He also talks about . . .

  • What the heck is the APC (Approved Production Contract) anyway?
  • Why he’d like to sit down with Broadway Producers and recalibrate that APC for today’s unique producing market.
  • Does he agree with John Breglio about the potential for a Hollywood writer deal working on Broadway?
  • How the current Producer – Writer negotiation system is costing producers money, and how we can fix it.
  • Why the Boston Red Sox really are superior to the New York Mets. (Ok, ok, he didn’t talk about that – that was just me throwing that in there . . . hehe.)

What you’re going to love about this podcast is the passion with which this man works to protect every single writer out there, whether you’re a fivetime Tony winner, or a rookie who just joined the Guild . . . but also how Ralph acknowledges that the business has changed since the Guild was formed and how the Guild is eager to change with it.

Listen in, and if you’re a member of the Guild, you’re lucky to have someone like Ralph in your corner.

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.