Posted on April 18, 2006 at 10:57 pm
Something you’re not likely to say: There aren’t enough JRB interviews on this site. Something else I won’t expect to hear from you: I need one more chance to read the same stories over and over again. Well, if I did hear either of those things from you, I’d have an answer: relief is in sight. Actually, even better than the same old crap, there’s a very thorough interview with me available in book form, featuring a very detailed exegesis of the creation of “Parade” as well as a pretty good explication of what a musical director does. The book is out from Rutgers University Press, and it’s called “The Art of the American Musical: Conversations With The Creators”, edited by Jackson R. Bryer and Richard Allan Davison. They interviewed me in January 2004 when I was in the middle of trying to figure out if I was going to stay in the theater at all (I decided to, ultimately, in case you missed that bit), and they asked a lot of good probing questions about creating musicals and working with Hal and Alfred and Daisy.
There are many other wonderful people interviewed in the book, including Hal and Stephen Sondheim, Kander and Ebb, Ahrens and Flaherty, Charles Strouse, Susan Stroman, George Wolfe, lots of other cats, but my particular favorites are Sheldon Harnick, who’s just adorable and very honest and real, and Tommy Tune, who’s surprisingly candid and clearly has things to get off his chest. For those of you who are really passionate about musical theater, I think you can learn a lot, especially about the Golden Age (Burton Lane is particularly voluble on the subject of The Good Old Days). I actually made this book required reading for one of my USC writing classes because I think there’s a lot of very useful information about how a show gets put together that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Also, I’m in it. And it’s in paperback and pretty cheap. So pick up a copy, bring it with you on the plane, read it on the beach, enjoy.