Episode 43 – John Caird

 

John Caird told me to break the most important rule of auditioning.

When I was in college, I was always told never look the auditioners in the eye.  “Pick a spot over their head,” was the conventional wisdom.

But when I first met John Caird when he was guest lecturing during my junior year at NYU, he told us to eff that ol’ rule and look him straight in the eye.

Of course he said it in a soft British accent so it sounded so sweet.

John Caird is a guy who defies convention and at the same time has achieved incredible conventional success.  His credits include the epic The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Jane Eyre, a ton of shows at the RSC, operas all over the world and oh yeah, that little show called Les Misérables.  

He’s also a writer as well, and his most recent credit happens to be Daddy Long Legs playing at my very own theater.

While we were in tech for DLL, I pulled John aside to hear what other advice he had for me and for all of you out there, including:

  • What he thought right after the heard the demo of Les Miz (his answer should be printed on a t-shirt and worn by artists everywhere).
  • Why he doesn’t read reviews.
  • Why he wouldn’t let Andrew Lloyd Webber change the title of Song & Dance.
  • Would the 8.5-hour Nicholas Nickleby get produced today?
  • With all these big shows and big operas, why he was so drawn to an intimate two-character musical like Daddy Long Legs (and why you should be too).

One of the reasons I wanted John on this podcast, is that I found myself gobsmacked every time we were in a notes session on Daddy Long Legs and he went on about character and plot and purpose and motivation and so on.  He knows his way around a play like you know your way around your hometown.  He just lives in the theater.

For a moment I thought he was brainwashing me with that soft British accent.

But then I realized, no, he just knows what the eff he’s talking about.

Enjoy John!

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.

Podcast Episode 42 – Casey Nicholaw

 

In my Broadway Investing seminar, one of the tips I give to investors looking for a hit is to look at the recoupment rate of the Director. It may sound strange, but since a Director has such an impact on the final product, I think it’s a crucial part of an investor’s due diligence.

Well, if you looked at the recoupment rate of Casey Nicholaw, you’d see that this guy not only knows how to find hits, he also knows how to make them.

He’s an 8-time Tony Nominee and a big winner for his direction of Book of Mormon.  You know that show, right?  One of the biggest hits of the century?  Yeah, that was Casey’s.  Along with Drowsy Chaperone, Spamalot, Elf, Something Rotten!, Aladdin and more.

He’s got a nose for what works, and is also one of the nicest guys in the biz (when talking about Casey and his incredible career, I often say, “I love it when great things happen to great people”).

And he’s today’s podcast guest!  Listen in to hear him talk about:

  • His secret to choosing material or what kind of shows lots and lots and lots of people want to see.
  • How he turned Aladdin from a show in trouble out-of-town into a big fat hit.
  • Why Choreographers make great Directors.
  • What losing his hair had to do with the start of his career.
  • How he maintains a show (or his many shows) after they are open.

When you listen to this podcast, you’ll not only hear insightful comments from one of the best and most successful Broadway Directors and Choreographers working today, but you’ll also hear why.  Casey doesn’t eff around with his answers.  He is quick, to the point, and supremely passionate.  You can just tell what it’s like to be in a rehearsal room with him.  And oh are the people that get that chance lucky.

Enjoy and I hope you learn as much as I did!

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.

Podcast Episode 41 – Robert Greenblatt

 

Robert “Bob” Greenblatt is one of the most powerful people in our business.

And he doesn’t even work in our biz.

Bob runs NBC.  Yep, that NBC.  You know, one of the big three television networks.  Home of America’s Got Talent, Sunday Night Football . . . Saturday Night Live.

And under his watch, also home of SmashThe Sound of Music Live, Peter Pan Live, the upcoming The Wiz . . . and who knows what other Broadway-themed entertainment Bob is cookin’ up?  But whatever he’s got in mind, expect it to be good, and expect it to help continue to expand Broadway’s growin’ brand.  And we owe him a big thank you for that.

I was able to thank him in person when he came to our office for this enlightening podcast about Broadway, television and their juxtaposition.   Listen in to hear Bob talk about . . .

  • How does one get to be the Chairman of a network anyway?
  • What he’d do differently if he were producing 9 to 5 again (Bob was the lead Producer of the Dolly musical).
  • The reaction he got when he told his team he wanted to air a musical on NBC . . . live . . . and how he got the courage to do it anyway.
  • Could a reality casting show work on network TV?
  • How developing a television show is similar to developing a Broadway show.

And lastly, you’ll hear a prediction at the end of the podcast from me, about how I expect Broadway to go through yet another growth period in a few years, and what will be the cause (hint, hint, it has something to do with today’s podcast guest).

Enjoy!

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.

Next week’s guest is none other than the Tony Award-winning hit maker, Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw, so subscribe today so you don’t miss out!

Podcast Episode 40 – David J. Kurs

 

That was a fast five weeks, wasn’t it?

Spring Awakening month here on the ol’ Producer’s Perspective Podcast ends today, but not without going out with what is absolutely the coolest of all of my podcasts to date.

What makes this podcast different from all others?  Because it’s not just a podcast, it’s an everything-cast.

In the spirit of Spring and our desire to make what we do accessible to the highest amount of people possible, today’s podcast is not only available in the usual audio formats, and not only in this transcript, but it’s also available to watch on video (which is also captioned).

Why video?

Because my guest today, the Artistic Director of Deaf West, Mr. DJ Kurs, is deaf, and I wanted to give you the chance to watch the beauty of his language as he signed to me.  And if you just listened to the podcast (where he is voiced by his interpreter, the multi-lingual Mr. Dylan Geil), or read the transcript, you won’t get the true essence of his charm and passion, which bursts out of his body through his hands.

But on video, you can see it all, hear it all, and read it all . . . DJ, me, and the interpreter.

So pick your format, whatever your format, and listen to/watch/read Mr. Kurs talk about all things involved in being an Artistic Director and his company’s second foray to Broadway, like:

  • Why deaf actors make the best actors around.
  • Why, unlike other Artistic Directors of nonprofits, DJ doesn’t want Deaf West to have its own venue.
  • How Broadway can be more accessible.
  • The challenges of marketing Deaf West productions to a mainstream audience . . . in Los Angeles.
  • How Spring Awakening got started, and why it’s a symbolic production for the deaf community.

Click above to listen or watch the video.

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

Download it here.

Read the transcript here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Spring Awakening month.  A super big thanks to all of my Spring team members who took time out of tech to spend a few minutes with me.  I learned a ton about my own show these past five weeks and I hope you have too.  If you missed any episodes, click the links below to get caught up:

And by all means, go see Spring Awakening.  We’re only here until January 24th.  And that’ll be here before you know it.

Tune in to the podcast next week for . . . WHO IS IT?  (Click here to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss it!)

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!

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