Podcast Episode 26 – Ben Brantley


I bet you think you know exactly who Ben Brantley is, don’t you?

You’ve read him for years, and in your mind, you’ve come up with some character to go along with his all-important reviews.  You’ve got a voice, a smirk, some sass, a laugh . . . the whole bit.

And I’d also bet that if you met him in person, and chatted with him about the theater, you’d realize you were oh so wrong.

In fact, I bet you’d see that you have a lot in common with the Chief Critic of the New York Times, including a burning passion to talk about the theater, especially when you’ve seen something you love (or something you hate).

That’s why I wanted him on my podcast.  See, I have met him before.  And corresponded with him before.  And my first instinct was, “This is not the guy I thought he was.”

And now, thanks to his willingness to jump on my podcast, you’re going to get a chance to know the guy behind the “Ben.”  In this enlightening podcast with the Chief Critic of the New York Times, you’ll hear . . .

  • His favorite theatergoing experiences during his reign as a critic
  • How often he tears up at the theater
  • Why he has no friends in the theater
  • Why he prefers Off Broadway to Broadway
  • The show he just saw that he loved, and what he’s looking forward to next season

There’s a lot to learn on this podcast, including how to get the attention of a NY Times critic and how best to write a review . . . but the most important thing to learn is that is everyone in this business, including the people you disagree with, got into it in the first place because they love it.

And honestly, I’m not sure anyone loves it more than Ben Brantley.

(And come on, admit it, you agree with him more often than not – I know I do – sometimes even when he cracks on my own shows!)

Enjoy the podcast!

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 25 – Jack Tantleff


“What I really need is an agent.”

I’ve heard so many people say this over the years, including myself when I was acting back in the Clinton Era (the Bill Clinton era that is).

For so many actors, directors, and writers, the thought of having someone raise their hand and say, “I like you.  I’ll help you,” is the ultimate affirmation that they are on the right life path.

Of course, as the Gershwins said, “It ain’t necessarily so.”

I decided to sit down with one of Broadway’s big 10 percenters to find out more about agenting in the modern era, and you’re about to hear all the juicy details.

The agent?  None other than super-deal maker Jack Tantleff from the bi-coastal Paradigm Talent Agency.

Jack represents writers, directors, and orchestrators (no actors – that’ll be the subject of another podcast) but also puts shows together from the ground up in the same way that I do (click here for the incredible NY Times article about how he helped package the critically acclaimed if short-lived production of Side Show).

And in this podcast we’ll hear:

  • How his career all comes down to air conditioning.
  • Why didn’t Side Show work?
  • Need an agent?  Here’s what to say in a pitch letter . . . and here’s what NOT to say.
  • Why making deals is more challenging today than twenty years ago.
  • How the upcoming Waitress by Sara Bareilles (who he reps) came together.
  • And more!

Agents get bad reps.  I worked for one back in the day, and quickly decided that life wasn’t for me.  Part of that reason was because I was tired of producers who I admired always thinking I was the enemy.

But as you’ll hear on this podcast, the good agents aren’t the enemy.  The good agents help make shows happen.

And Jack is one of the great ones.

Listen in!

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 24 – John Breglio


If you have ever produced a workshop, been in a workshop, or just considered using the Actors’ Equity Association workshop contract, you should send you a thank you note to John Breglio.

Because he was one of the three people that wrote it.

John Breglio is “Broadway’s Attorney,” having repped some of the most important and influential people in the biz, including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, Michael Bennett, and Marvin Hamlisch, as well as Producers, Non-Profits, and so many others.  He helped write contracts and deals (like the workshop agreement) that have had long lasting ripple effects throughout our industry (and without a doubt for the better – thanks to his unique ability to approach negotiations from both perspectives).

Oh, and he also produces, and was the only name above the title of the recent A Chorus Line revival.

With his kind of experience and expertise, you can only imagine what his hourly rate is.  And he kindly sat down with me to discuss the following pro bono:

  • Why contracting is faster, but negotiating is slower, than 20 years ago.
  • Could a Hollywood Author model ever work on Broadway?
  • Will Dreamgirls come back to Broadway?   Hear the inside scoop about what’s next for this historic piece.
  • What Michael Bennett would think of Broadway today.
  • And more.

John also gave me a heads up that he’s got a book coming up about Broadway producing that should be released in the next twelve months.

I’ll be one of the first people to read it.

And after you listen to this podcast, you will be 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 23 – Steve Schnepp


Ok, now that all that Tony nonsense is out of the way, we can get back to our regularly scheduled podcast program.

Where was I?  Ok . . .

How do shows get out on the road?  Is it because of their box office receipts?  Awards?  Politics?

Sure, all that factors in, but the simple answer is . . . Broadway shows get out on the road because a Booking Agent, like Steve Schnepp of Broadway Booking Office (the guy behind Beautiful, Curious Incident, Gentlemen’s Guide, etc.), gets behind them and sells them.

We don’t talk about the mechanism of the Broadway national tour much, because there’s so much more excitement and sexiness about Broadway.  But like syndication in television, or foreign sales in movies, National Tours can be a heck of a lot more profitable (and less risky) than the primary run.

That’s why I wanted to get one of the best booking agents in the biz to tell us his secrets of The Road, and thankfully, Steve was willing to sit down with us and share his unique perspective on the touring biz.

On this episode you’ll hear Steve talk about . . .

  • The key ingredient a show needs to make a tour possible (besides him, of course).
  • Whether or not stars matter on the road in 2015.
  • What Les Miz sold for twenty years ago, and why that’s not so different from what it sells for today.
  • How to get your show touring.
  • Is there a place for the non-union tour?

The business of Broadway isn’t just in Times Square. It stretches all over the world, and thanks to people like Steve, it’s healthier than ever.

Tune in to hear why, and how you and your show can be a part of it.

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 22 – Kevin McCollum



Avenue Q.

In The Heights.

Any Producer would dream about producing ONE of those shows.

My guest on this week’s podcast produced all three.

I mean, come on, right?

But wait, there’s more . . . how about The Drowsy Chaperone.  The West Side Story revival.  Motown The Musical.  And more.

Listen in to this week’s podcast to hear Producer Kevin McCollum (who has two terrific shows in the hunt for a Tony this season with Hand to God and Something Rotten!) talk about everything from . . .

  • Why his formula for success is no formula at all.
  • What Cameron Mackintosh said to him when Kevin auditioned for Les Miserables.
  • Why raising money is still a lot of work, no matter how many shows you recoup.
  • His simple advice for anyone looking to start producing today.
  • His message for every politician in every small town in America.

And as you can probably guess for someone with this many shows under his belt, there’s a whole lot more packed into this podcast.  Honestly, I was learning so much as Kevin spoke, I forgot I was recording the dang thing.

But don’t worry, I got every word, every golden nugget of advice . . . and it’s all for you.


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.