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 158 – 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 above to listen!

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 – 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.

Listen above 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.

 

Podcast Episode 156 – 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!

Listen above 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 155 – Nelle Nugent

 

Nelle Nugent is one of Broadway’s most prolific play Producers, and she started out as a Production Assistant.

She worked her way to the top at a time when women weren’t supposed to be anywhere near the top, and she’s got the stories to prove it.

But more than 50 shows later, she’s also got the successes to prove why she is one of our industry’s best.

I was lucky enough to get to sit down with Nelle to talk to her about some of her biggest hits (Dracula, The Gin Game, ‘Night Mother, The Dresser) and how Broadway has changed since her days as a PA, as well as . . .

  • What can make a great play fail.
  • How raising money for Broadway has changed over the last fifty years.
  • What she did to overcome the resistance she got for being a female Producer.
  • The chance encounter that led her to produce Dracula and WHY it became a hit (Hint: it didn’t have anything to do with what was on the page.).
  • When reviews matter and when they do NOT.

What we often forget is that Broadway is not that old of an industry, and people like Nelle helped lay the foundation for the work we’re all doing now.  We not only owe Producers like her a debt of gratitude, but if we listen closely to how they got where they are today, we might just learn how to get to where we want to be tomorrow.

Enjoy Nelle!

Click above to listen.

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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