Podcast Episode 37 – Steven Sater

 

Welcome to Week #2 of Spring Awakening month on the ol’ Producer’s Perspective Podcast, featuring none other than the Tony Award-winning book writer and lyricist, Steven Sater.

And just wait until you hear some of the poetic truth bombs he drops about writing for the theater, about Spring and about living life in general.  His story could be a musical itself, with the number of dragons he slayed in order to get where he is today.  And we talk about everything, including:

  • Publishing his first novel . . . at age five.
  • How he turned an almost fatal accident into an opportunity to master ancient Greek.
  • Why he prefers writing lyrics and book, rather than just the book . . . and why.
  • Why he writes on yellow pads with a pencil rather than on a computer.
  • Where he got the idea for Spring Awakening in the first place and what he thought when the curtain went up on the very first production.

You’ll hear me say this on the podcast, but Steven is one of the most eloquent guests we’ve ever had, pouring out beautiful answers to my questions, as if he was writing a podcast-ian play.  And his tips on getting your career started are some that all of us can learn from, whether you’re writing, directing or getting into hotel management, to be honest.

So enjoy Week #2 of Spring Awakening month!

Click above to listen.

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

Download it here.

Read the transcript here.

Miss Week #1?  Click here to listen to Director Michael Arden.

Upcoming Next Week:  Tony and Grammy Award-winning Composer Duncan Sheik!

Podcast Episode 36 – Michael Arden

 

As you know, Spring Awakening starts previews tomorrow (!) night and opens on September 27th . . . so I had an idea.  What about theming this month’s podcasts?  I had a meeting with the board of directors for my podcast (which would be me, me, and this other crazy dude called me) and got a consensus.  This month would be Spring Awakening month on The Producer’s Perspective Podcast!  (Insert trumpet sounds here.)

Over the next month, I’ll be podcastin’ the key players of my production of Spring, including Authors Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, Choreographer Spencer Liff, DJ Kurs (the Artistic Director of Deaf West Theatre) . . . and today, our captain our captain, the Director of Spring Awakening, and the man whose idea it was to weave sign language into this heartbreaking story, Michael Arden.

Yep, that Michael Arden . . . the same guy who starred in Bare, Big River, The Times They Are a-Changin’ and most recently, Hunchback at Paper Mill.

He’s had a very successful acting career . . . and I have a feeling that after Spring he’s going to have to tough time deciding whether to take acting jobs or directing jobs.  #TalentedEnoughToWearTwoHats

Listen in to hear Michael and I talk about some things Spring and some things not, like . . .

  • What it was like going to school at Juilliard . . . and how they reacted when he left early.
  • Why there is a great theater scene in Los Angeles.
  • How being a Director has made it both harder and easier for him to work for one as an Actor.
  • What the heck is the Milan Conference and why does it make Spring Awakening ideal for incorporating hearing and deaf actors into the production?
  • How you should wear multiple hats with pride.

Enjoy the first episode of Spring Awakening month!

Click above to listen.

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

Download it here.

Read the transcript here.

Podcast Episode 35 – Ralph Sevush

 

If you’re a writer, then you should know you’ve got a guardian angel.

And that guardian angel sits in an office in 1501 Broadway, is a Mets fan, and has made it his mission to make sure that your work, your rights, and your future are protected.

I’m talking about Ralph Sevush, the Executive Director of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Wait – you don’t know about the Dramatists Guild?  Well, you’re about to, because in this podcast, Ralph is not only going to tell you how it started, but why it started, and why it ain’t never going away.  He also talks about . . .

  • What the heck is the APC (Approved Production Contract) anyway?
  • Why he’d like to sit down with Broadway Producers and recalibrate that APC for today’s unique producing market.
  • Does he agree with John Breglio about the potential for a Hollywood writer deal working on Broadway?
  • How the current Producer – Writer negotiation system is costing producers money, and how we can fix it.
  • Why the Boston Red Sox really are superior to the New York Mets. (Ok, ok, he didn’t talk about that – that was just me throwing that in there . . . hehe.)

What you’re going to love about this podcast is the passion with which this man works to protect every single writer out there, whether you’re a fivetime Tony winner, or a rookie who just joined the Guild . . . but also how Ralph acknowledges that the business has changed since the Guild was formed and how the Guild is eager to change with it.

Listen in, and if you’re a member of the Guild, you’re lucky to have someone like Ralph in your corner.

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 34 – John Rando

 

Sometimes I think we throw around the words “Tony Winner” like it’s the latest teen speak like “OMG” or “Hashtag.”

The fact is the Tony Awards only started in 1947. That means there have only been 69 of these suckers.  So if you win one, you’re in relatively small company in your category.

Take for example, Best Director of a Musical . . . which has only been given out since 1960.  That means people like our guest, John Rando, are one of only 56 (42 if you count multiple winners) people on the planet who have been good enough to win that award.  (If you already knew John won for Urinetown then you win . . . well, an electronic pat on the back.  Pat, pat.)

That also means we’re all really lucky that Mr. Rando took time out from his busy summer schedule of directing Penn & Teller and a workshop and a pre-Broadway show to spend time with us.

If you’re a Director, or just plan on working with a Director (which is all of us), then listen in to this enlightening podcast to hear John talk about . . .

  • How he created his own major in college to pursue the theater.
  • Why Directors have to balance art and commerce just like Producers.
  • The story of the unlikely success of Urinetown.  
  • Why he likes to work with people with opinions.
  • The most controversial question I’ve ever asked on any podcast to date.

You’re going to learn a lot by listening to the Director of UrinetownThe Wedding Singer, and this past season’s glorious On the Town talk Broadway . . . but one of the most interesting things you’re going to learn is that John is simply a great guy.

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 33 – Theresa Rebeck

 

In the time it took me to write this blog post, Theresa Rebeck probably finished another play.

And I’d bet you my blog subscribers, it’s a good one.

Theresa Rebeck is one of the most prolific writers we have in our business.  And I don’t just mean the business of Broadway.  I mean in the entire business we call show!  See, Ms. Rebeck is one of those few writers who writes for the stage, the screen, the small screen, the novel . . . and I wouldn’t be surprised if she told me she wrote some supreme court decisions and greeting cards in her spare time.

So tune in to hear the writer of Seminar and Smash talk about . . .

  • How the heck she writes so much and where she gets her ideas.
  • The differences between writing for the Stage and the Screen, and how she switches hats in an instant.
  • What happened with Smash, and could we ever see another Broadway-themed TV show?
  • How she and I became friends, and why that’s important to your career.
  • What all young writers should be doing.

. . . and a heck of a lot more . . . because we packed a lot of stuff into this 30 minute podcast, which is punctuated with Theresa’s infectious positivity and incredible passion for what she does.

Enjoy Theresa!

(Oh, and one production note – Theresa and I recorded this podcast over Skype, like the fancy-techno-geeks we are, so you’ll notice that she doesn’t sound like she is in the same room as me.  Because she wasn’t.  She was in Vermont.  Where she probably finished three plays, two movies, and a research paper on early Hungarian cabinetmaking.)

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.

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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