Episode 165 – Kirsten Childs

 

 

If you get a chance, spend some time with Kirsten Childs.

She’s got the kind of energy and passion for the theater (and for life) that is just contagious, as you’ll hear in this podcast.

Kirsten burst onto the scene with the terrific musical, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, and when you listen to this episode you’ll hear how she went from zero to sixty in about 3.8 seconds with her playwriting career, all because of her determination, lack of fear, and that positive attitude of hers.

We also talked about:

  • How she transitioned from a career as an actress to that of a writer.
  • Getting nervous while watching her own work in front of an audience.
  • How are doing with diversity in the theater . . . and what can we do to improve it, on the stage and off?
  • The most common misstep she sees young writers make.
  • Where she gets her ideas, and why (a lesson for all of us).

Enjoy my conversation with Kirsten, and if you’ve been toying with the idea of writing a play . . . I’d bet she gets you starting to type right when you’ve finished listening.

Click above for my podcast with Kirsten!

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 164 – Michael Greif

 

 

Directing Rent would have been enough to make anyone’s career.

But Michael Greif added Next To Normal (another Pulitzer Prize winner) and Dear Evan Hansen to his resume, along with a host of others, putting him in a league all his own.

And what’s incredibly fascinating to me, and one of the reasons I wanted him on my podcast, is that each of these musicals aren’t exactly your typical Broadway musical . . . they had “alternative” subject matter, and not one of ’em had helicopters or were based on Marvel comics.

But Michael found a way to buck the Broadway trend and deliver smash after smash.  Listen to how he does it, as well as . . .

  • How he started his career by self-producing his own show.
  • What made him decide he wasn’t ready for New York, and why he went to graduate school instead.
  • What changed about Dear Evan Hansen since the first reading, and why (spoiler alert: there was an ensemble)
  • Why a “small” musical can be more powerful than a “big” one.
  • They can’t all be Rent.  What he does when a show doesn’t live up to what he initially hoped.

I first asked Michael to be on the podcast over a year ago.  You’ll soon hear that it was well worth the wait.

Click here for 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.

Episode 163 – Daniel Goldfarb

 

I met Daniel Goldfarb back in 1997 when I company managed a workshop of Parade. Daniel was Alfred Uhry’s (who wrote the book) assistant, and I remember people saying . . . “That kid that is booking Alfred’s travel and getting his lunch? He’s going to be a major playwright someday.”

That someday is now, as Daniel’s plays have been produced at every major regional theater in the country, from Williamstown to MTC (more than once) to Playwrights and beyond. I mean, most young playwrights would kill for a show at just ONE of those theaters! He attended both NYU and Julliard and now is on the faculty at NYU.

We had a great time together on this podcast, reminiscing about our days on Parade and also talking about . . .

  • NYU or Julliard . . . which program did he like better?  🙂
  • Why he writes at coffee shops.
  • How he was discovered and how he dealt with the first show not getting all the way to Broadway.
  • Critics . . . why they are important, and what he wishes for theatrical criticism in the future.
  • How he markets himself, and why it’s challenging.

Daniel has already made quite an impact on the NY theater scene and beyond. But just like someone whispered his potential to me years ago, let me be the one to tell you, his success so far is only the beginning.

Enjoy the podcast!

Click here for my podcast with Daniel!

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 162 – Michael John LaChiusa

 

Here’s something I bet you’d never guess. Of those five Tony Award nominations that Michael John has on his resume, three of them (that’s more than half if you’re doing the math) are for writing the book of a musical, not for writing the score!

That’s right, the guy you know who has given us some of the most uniquely challenging and boundary-pushing scores like Giant, Marie Christine, and Hello Again does a whole lot more than just write show tunes.

In fact, I’d give him (and I’m sure my peers would agree) the musical theater version of the title of “Auteur,” as he’s given us shows like Hello Again, Marie Christine, The Wild Party and more.

Not only did I learn a bunch during this podcast, but I had a blast talking to Michael John about how he became one of the most talked about musical theater artists of his generation, as well as . . .

  • When people say something can’t be made into a musical, that’s when he gets really interested.
  • A type of musical you’d be surprised that he’d want to write.
  • What he tells his students at NYU most often about writing musicals.
  • How he started his career by cold-calling industry heavyweights and dropping by theaters (everything people tell you not to do).
  • How he feels about being a Tony Nominator

For someone who has given us some of our most significant pieces of theatrical artistry over the last couple of decades, after listening to this podcast, you’ll find Michael John more down to earth than most.

This one is one of my faves.

Click above for 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.

Episode 161 – Richard Maltby, Jr.

 

When Richard Maltby, Jr. was asked to put together a revue for Manhattan Theatre Club, he said “yes,” even though he didn’t know what that actually meant.

But he did it, and not too much later he was collecting a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for Ain’t Misbehavin’, a revue that he conceived.

He went on to do more of those, including one of his own, a work with longtime collaborator David Shire, called Closer Than Ever, which was what all the kids listened to and auditioned with back in the 90’s (including this former Actor turned Producer/Blogger).

Revues weren’t the only thing up his writing sleeves, however. Richard wrote lyrics for Miss Saigon (ever heard of it) and Baby, as well as the book and lyrics for The Pirate Queen and many more.

We talk about all the huge hats he has worn over the years, as well as . . .

  • Now what? (What to do when your first show out is a big fat success)
  • Why the collaboration process on Miss Saigon was one of the favorites of his career.
  • How the revue has morphed into the jukebox musical, and what he thinks of the current lot.
  • An old idea for new writers to get attention that still works today.
  • What he thinks of the new “style” of musical theater.

Tune in to this week’s episode below!

Click here to listen to my podcast with Richard!

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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