Podcast Episode 20 – James Claffey

 

One of the reasons I started this podcast is because I was getting tired of the sound of my own voice typing.  I wanted to hear other people’s perspectives.  And I wanted you to hear other people’s perspectives, as well.

But I didn’t want just other Producers.  That would be too easy.  And you never learn anything from one point of view.

It’s important when studying any subject, from Broadway to Biology, to get all sorts of opinions on the state of the state, and all sorts of ideas on how to improve its future.

That’s why I so very much wanted to interview James Claffey, Jr., the President of Local One, the powerful Stagehands’ union.  And I was super excited when he said, “Absolutely.”

At first thought, you might think that the head of one of the most powerful unions in the country would be “the opposition,” but the fact is, as you’ll hear from “Jimmy” in this enlightening podcast, we’re all on the same team.  Listen in to hear . . .

  • How one becomes a Stagehand and how you can, too.
  • Why he responds to emails he gets right away, even at midnight.
  • The one myth about Stagehands that he can’t stand.
  • What the 2007 Broadway Stagehands Strike taught him.
  • The one crisis that is crippling all unions and all companies, including Producers.

It’s easy to assume certain things about people, companies, etc. you don’t know (I see this on message boards all the time).   I urge you all to get to know people that you think are on “the other side” of whatever issue you’re working on.

And you should start with James Claffey, Jr.  (Oh, and maybe soon, an agent!)

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 19 – Tim Rice

 

Joseph, Evita, Chess . . . Beauty and the Mother-Humpin’ Beast.

These are just a few of the shows that Sir Timothy Rice wrote the lyrics to (obviously I got a little excited about that last one), so you can imagine he’s got just a few interesting stories to tell, and truth bombs to toss.

So if you’re a writer, a producer, or just a fan of Jesus Christ Effin’ Superstar, then listen in to hear Sir Timothy talk about . . .

  • The secret ingredient needed for a great musical
  • Which comes first, the music or the lyrics, and more importantly, why
  • Tim’s least favorite of his own lyrics
  • How he deals with getting notes (and if he can take ’em, so can you!)
  • And how the sippy cup may mean the end of Broadway as we know it

Oh, and if you don’t hear me talk for awhile, it’s because I was uncontrollably laughing during one of his stories, so I had to put my microphone on mute.

Enjoy the podcast, and special thanks to Hand To God on Broadway for sponsoring this session!

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.

(Oh, and PS, if you want to learn more about Tim, read his autobiography.  Click here to grab it.)

Podcast Episode 18 – Charles Busch

 

I met the award winning actor and author Charles Busch (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, etc.) just a couple of weeks ago, and immediately asked him to do my podcast.

“So when you get back from dinner just send me a text,” I said.

He looked at me with those eyes that could only mean one thing . . . he didn’t know how to text.

“Ok, no problem.  I’ll send you a text.  Just give me your phone number,” I quickly shot back.

“Uh,” he stammered.  “And where would I find that?”

Yep, he didn’t know his phone number.

Lucky for you, we figured it out (I called myself from his phone and bingo, we were connected), because this podcast is one of the most inspirational yet.  In it you’ll hear how a guy that doesn’t know his own phone number went out and built his incredible award winning career, by sheer willpower and passion.   Listen in to hear . . .

  • Why not getting cast in his college productions was the best thing that ever happened to him.
  • What made him start performing in drag.
  • Why he hates the word “mainstream.”
  • How Vampire Lesbians . . . one of the longest running shows in Off Broadway history, started out as a sketch.
  • And more . . .

I’m a big believer that every successful person, including artists, has an innate business sense, whether they know it or not.  Charles may not know his phone number, or how to send a text message, but he knows the recipe for a successful artist, and after listening to this podcast, you will too.

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 17 – Liz Furze

 

It wasn’t too long ago that there were only two advertising agencies that serviced the bulk of Broadway shows.

Then Elizabeth Furze came to town.

“Liz” is the co-head of AKA Advertising‘s New York City office, having come up through the ranks at the company’s UK office (you’ll love her accent) and who sailed here a few years ago to try what so many others had tried, unsuccessfully . . . to set up a new shop in an industry that doesn’t like anything new.

Flash forward a few years, and AKA now reps a ton of shows including Matilda, Les Miserables, It’s Only A Play, Hand To God, and plenty more.

So yeah, she and partner-in-advertising-crime Scott Moore (who was the first Company Manager I ever assisted back in the day), know what the heck they are doing.

And on this podcast, Liz is gonna share some of that knowledge with you, like . . .

  • Can a Tony Advertising Campaign really win a Tony?  (Timely convo, considering the nominations are announced tomorrow!)
  • The difference between advertising in the West End versus advertising on Broadway.
  • Why print advertising can still be effective.
  • What form of media may be dead in just five years (this will SHOCK you!).
  • What she learned from being the new kid on the Broadway block.
  • And more!

Advertising and marketing is what I spend most of my time on these days.  And if you’re interested in the business side of Broadway,  it’s what you’ll spend most of your time on as well.

So do yourself a favor and take a few moments to listen to Liz.

Click above to listen.

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

Download it here.

(And next week, celebrated author/performer Charles Busch!  Subscribe today to be the first to hear his inspiring chat!)

 

Podcast Episode 16 – Bernie Telsey

 

You might think a podcast featuring one of the most powerful casting directors in the biz is just for the actors out there.

And why sure, if you’re an actor, you’re going to hear about 147 takeaways on how to get a leg up on your competition by listening to this 30 minute sess with Bernie Telsey, Broadway’s casting wizard.

But since casting is one of the most important elements of creating and producing a show, this one is a must for all theater pros out there.

You see, plays and musicals were not meant to be read.  They were meant to be spoken.  Sung.  ACTED.  How those words, lyrics, and notes are interpreted can mean the difference between success or failure.  So it’s imperative that you understand the entire process, from the release of the casting breakdown to final callback.

And who better to explain that mystical process to us than Bernie Telsey, caster of almost everything?

Listen to this podcast and hear:

  • Why a Casting Director is just like a Designer.
  • What it was like seeing Idina Menzel audition for Rent before she was Idina Menzel.
  • How talent has changed in the last twenty years.
  • What Bernie looks for when actors walk in the room.
  • The difference between casting theater and tv/film.
  • And oodles more . . .

Oh, and if you didn’t know, Bernie is also the Artistic Director of MCC (responsible for this season’s Hand to God) so this podcast is like a 2 for 1!  (You’ll also hear what Bernie has in common with Todd Haimes.)

Listen, download, and 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 for the transcript.

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