Podcast Episode 154 – Tony Award Winning Writer, Lisa Kron

When Tony Award Winner Lisa Kron was a theater major in college, she was told she wouldn’t succeed . . . because she wasn’t “thin, pretty, or straight enough.”

Thankfully, Lisa didn’t let that stop her, and she went on to write and star in (!) Well, and write the Tony Award-winning lyrics and book to Fun Home on Broadway, one of the most unexpected hits Broadway has seen . . . ever.

Her passion and determination helped prove to this business and the world, that being unique conquers the status quo, every effin’ time.

Lisa and I talked about her entrepreneurial and unexpected journey in the theater including . . .

  • Her #1 rule to success:  if a door opened, and she was scared, she forced herself to step through it. (Words to live by.)
  • Why her early writing horrified her.  And how she got better.
  • How performing stand-up helped hone her stage writing.
  • Being mistaken for a seat-filler at the Tony Awards . . . the year she was nominated!
  • Who young writers should be trying to connect to in order to have a successful career (hint: it’s NOT who you think).
  • Why trying to increase diversity in terms of gender and race is like looking for your keys. (This is such a brilliant analogy – only a Tony Award-winning writer could come up with it, so make sure you listen.)
Lisa’s success story is the stuff that musicals are made of . . . an underdog is kept down by society, so she finds her own path, and proves them all wrong.

Aren’t we all so lucky that she persevered, so she can make more musicals!

Click here for the link to my podcast with Lisa!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Podcast Episode 153 – Tony Winner & Pulitzer Prize Finalist and Showrunner Warren Leight

My wife and I spend a lot of time with Warren Leight.

You probably do too . . .

Because we, like you (admit it), watch a lot of Law & Order SVU and Warren was a writer and showrunner for years.

Before that, though he was a finalist for the big P for his fantastic play, Side Man.  

Warren is one of the few playwrights that can go so easily from stage to screen . . . and that’s all about how he started writing in the first place.  See he started because he wanted to be a sports writer, and then . . . wait . . . I’m giving it away.  Just listen to the podcast and hear Warren talk about:

  • How a lie about loving horror movies led to him writing one . . . and why you might want to fib a little too.
  • Why he binge writes.
  • The importance of joining a Writer’s Group and how it helped him.
  • Why the deadlines of TV help make him a better writer . . . and how you can use deadlines to accomplish your goals, whether you have a TV network demanding a script or not.
  • How he wrote Side Man without realizing he was writing it . . . and what it was like after he won The Tony (and it’s not what you think).

Warren’s path to success is such a lesson in the grind, creativity and flexibility it takes to be successful in this business and in any business, and this podcast could give you a map for your own.

Click here for the link to my podcast with Warren!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

 

Podcast Episode 151 – Tony Nominated Lyricist, Michael Korie

Last week I wrote about how so many fantastic musical theatre writers come from the advertising world, and one of the primary reasons why I postulated that they do was because they learned how to write for an audience, instead of just writing for themselves.

Well, advertising ain’t the only training ground for writing for an audience.  You know what another one is?

Journalism.

And guess what this week’s podcast guest did before he started writing lyrics for operas and getting nominated for Tony Awards for his Broadway show?

Michael Korie, the lyricist of Grey Gardens, War Paint, and more, talked about the similarities between writing for the theatre and for the papers, as well as . . .

  • Why he does so much research for his shows and why you should too.
  • The biggest mistake beginning songwriters make . . . and it’s an easy one to fix.
  • Why he never speaks his lyrics out loud when working with a composer on a song.
  • Rhyme . . . and the purpose of it, and how to use it for the greatest impact.
  • A secret method to making sure a song that you love stays in your show.

Michael is an artisan of words, and the only thing this podcast left me wanting . . . was more musicals with his name on them.

Click here for the link to 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.

 

Podcast Episode 150 – Six-Time Tony Award Nominated Actor, Danny Burstein

I call myself an a$$hole in this podcast episode.

Why?

Because in my desire to put a spotlight on the business of Broadway, and give you a peek into the professions who aren’t always front and center, from Writers to Producers to Lighting Designers and more, I have been prejudiced against one of our most important professions.

The Actor.

It’s easy to think of the Actor as just an interpreter of drama, especially since in many cases (like I just talked about in my Facebook Live video at Gettin’ The Band Back Together auditions this week), they are the last ingredients added to the show.

I wanted an Actor to shed some light on the influence a performer can have on a play or a musical, and I couldn’t have asked for anyone more perfect to play this role on my podcast than six-time Tony Award nominee Danny Burstein.

During our chat, Danny gave me some insight into his process and where Actors fit into the development of shows as well as . . .

  • The difficult decision of turning down big-time Broadway chorus roles, because he never wanted to be in the chorus, even though he needed the $.
  • Why he reads scripts 50-100 times before rehearsals begin.
  • When Writers and Directors should listen to Actors and why.
  • How to get Danny to do your show.
  • Why he thinks of himself like a Plumber.

When you watch Danny perform, like I’ve been lucky enough to do in show after show over the last few decades, you notice two things right away . . .

1 – This guy can act.

2 – This guy loves what he does almost as much as audiences love watching him.

Listen in.  His passion will come through your headphones, and straight into your heart.

Enjoy.

Click here for the link to my podcast with Danny!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

 

Podcast Episode 149 – Broadway Hair and Wig Designer, Charles LaPointe.

If you asked me what the one area in the theater I know the least about is it would be Hair and Wig Design.

That’s why I decided to do something about it and ask one of the best in the biz to help explain it to me, one weave at a time.

And who better than Charles LaPointe, the designer of everything from Hamilton to Holiday Inn.

Charles gave me a master class in Hair Design in this podcast, and since I have a feeling this is an area you may not know the most about either, I encourage you to listen in as we chat about:

  • How he learned by doing, not by studying, and why this is important no matter WHAT you want to do in life, from making wigs to making musicals.
  • Where do they get all the hair for these wigs anyway?  (I call this the “Cosette Question” – or “Do people really sell their hair on the streets?”)
  • The process of designing a wig and how long it takes (not to mention why it is so expensive).
  • Why do we need wigs on Broadway anyway when so many actors have fantastic hair?
  • How a wig helps an actor find a character and how the hair plays into the storytelling of a show.

Broadway is about details.  Every light, every prop and yes, every strand of hair must come together perfectly to successfully get an author’s message across to an audience.

Luckily we’ve got people like Charles LaPointe keeping that hair in place.

Listen in and learn, like I did.  Because after my convo with Charles, I can no longer say Hair and Wig Design is what I know the least about!  (Now, if I can only figure out mechanical royalties of cast albums.)

Click here for the link to my podcast with Charles!

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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