Podcast Episode 22 – Kevin McCollum

 

Rent.

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.

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 to read the transcript.

Podcast Episode 21 – Scott Schwartz

 

In my over-twenty years of Broadway and Off Broadway theatergoing, there have been a handful of productions that were so unique, and so special, that I’ll never forget them.

Scott Schwartz directed two of them.

One was the ridiculously funny, ripped from the tabloids, Bat Boy: The Musical (oh that spoof of the Lion King number – before everyone was doing spoofs of The Lion King).  And the other was Tick, Tick… Boom!, starring a not-yet-a-star Raul Esparza (oh that moment when Amy Spanger was belting out “Come To Your Senses,” as Raul, as Jonathan Larson, mouthed the words behind her).

Scott has directed on and Off Broadway (Jane Eyre, Golda’s Balcony, Murder for Two) and most recently was appointed the Artistic Director of the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, NY, or as Sag Harbor is more commonly referred to, “The Hamptons.”

I got to spend some time at Bay Street a few weeks ago and was super impressed with the space, the artists, and Scott’s vision of where they’re going to take the theater in the next decade (notice I didn’t say “where they want to take the theater. . . ” because I have no doubt with Scott’s leadership they will).

Oh, and in addition to his Directing and Artistic Directing credits, Scott is also a Tony Nominator (we get all the fancy folks on this podcast, don’t we?).

So listen in to this in-the-trenches podcast to hear . . .

  • The difference between directing in regional theater versus directing on Broadway
  • How being the son of Stephen Schwartz helped influence Scott’s choice in being a director
  • The mysteries of the Tony Nominating process and why he had to recuse himself this year
  • What makes a great tryout city
  • What it’s like working for Disney on a developing project like The Hunchback of Notre Dame

And oodles more.

And after you listen to the podcast, take a look at your summer plans.  If you’re heading to the Hamptons at all, swing by Bay Street and catch a show.

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 to read the transcript.

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.

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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