Playwright

  • Interview with Richard Strand

    12/22/15 Audio Interview

    Richard Strand didn’t plan to be a playwright. He wanted to direct a one act for a college exercise but didn’t want to wade through plays to find one, so he wrote his own. Students were not allowed to direct a play they’d written but Richard waited until the professor who instituted this policy went on sabbatical, and then directed his own play. That one act, called Harry and Sylvia, was easy to write and won several awards encouraging him to write more. Richard says that if that professor hasn’t gone on sabbatical he would be a playwright today. In this interesting interview Richard talks about play writing, play structure, where he learned to write and how and why he wrote Butler, currently running at Florida Studio Theater, which he never expected to get produced and surprised him by becoming his most successful play. Also listen to Sharon Lesley’s review of Butler, which will certainly encourage you to go and see it.

    continue reading
  • Audio Interview with Katherine Michele Tanner

    6-30-15 Audio Interview with Katherine Michele Tanner

    Katherine Michele Tanner is an artist in the truest sense of the word. Raised by a family that encouraged all of the arts she was able to pursue every one of her passions. As a result she is an exceptional actress, dancer, musician (violin and piano), playwright/composer, singer and painter. Submerged in, and bouncing back and forth between her passions Katherine radiates a breathless exuberance and joy. Listen to this unique woman talk about her life which is brimming over with creativity and productivity and come see her extraordinary performance in The Amish Project at the Banyan Theater from 7/16-8/2.

    continue reading
  • Audio Interview with David Lutken

    6/16/15 Interview

    David Lutken is anything but the charming hayseed he may appear. With a BA in the classics – mostly Greek – from Duke University (his father told him not to study something that would get him a job but to get an education, and by the way to study the “hardest thing they’d got” – would that we’d all had David’s Dad) and a graduate degree in acting at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. David is a skilled actor, musician, musical director and playwright, but primarily David is an entertainer. Like the epic poets he studied -Ovid, Vigril, Homer – and Woody Guthrie put David in front of an audience and put a guitar in his hand and sit back and enjoy yourself. Currently you can enjoy David in Woody Sez, a musical biography of Woody Guthrie which David wrote based on Woody’s writings as well as his music, at the request of Harold Leventhal – Woody’s manager. It is playing at the Asolo Repertory Theatre until June 21st. Listen to this unusual man talk about how he “evolved” into the multi-tasking artist he is and hear him sing his favorite Woody Guthrie song – Pretty Boy Floyd.

    continue reading
  • Audio Interview with Diana Colson

    6-2-2015 Audio Interview

    Diana Colson is a teacher, an award winning film maker, a composer, a lyricist, the creator of musicals and children’s opera and an author. Although she was an accomplished pianist Diana believed that “if you’re married to an artist somebody better get that anchor job that has insurance…,” so she became the song and dance lady – aka the music teacher. She used her musical skills and her passion for musical theater to write musicals for her students. And she took advantage of her summers, while traveling the world with Frank and their children, to honor her every creative impulse. Listen to this exuberant, fiercely creative woman talk about her ability to juggle her teaching career, the raising of her children and her insistent creativity.

    continue reading
  • Interview with Jason Cannon

    1-20-15 – Audio Interview

    Early on in his career Jason Cannon decided that you “can’t control who the director casts or what the producer produces and the more hat’s you wear the more often you get hired.” So today he is a union actor, a union director, member of sag-aftra, he has stage manager and design credits, he is a published playwright and an educator. And it was this diversity of skills which encouraged Florida Studio Theater to hire him as an Associate Artist where he directs new play development is mentor for the acting apprentice program and when appropriate appears on stage, as he does currently in the compelling 2 character play Dancing Lesson by Marc Germain.

    continue reading
  • Interview with Scott Wooten

    Sept 2, 2014 Audio Interview

    Actor, stage manager, director, playwright T.Scott Wooten is a very uncommon phenomenon – a working theater professional. Todd Olsen, (previously the Producing Artistic Director at American Stage Theater Co in St. Petersburg Florida, currently Executive Director of the Columbia Festival of the Arts in Maryland) hired Scott right out of college as an intern at American Stage and told him that if he developed multiple skill sets he would always work. Apparently Todd was right. Scott stayed at American Stage “doing everything,” for nine years before going off to ply his trade at other theaters around the country. Currently Scott directs one play a year at American Stage and this year it is The Chosen, a companion piece to My Name is Asher Lev, which he directed last year. Scott believes that theater is about demonstrating our “human dignity,” and that The Chosen is a perfect example.

    continue reading
  • Interview with Mark Clayton Southers

    July 22, Audio Interview

    Director Mark Clayton Southers is an award winning playwright, poet, photographer, scenic designer, theatrical producer and stage director. He is the founder and producing artistic director of the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company. But he discovered his passion for theater late and mostly by accident. Working as a photographer he shot stills for theatrical productions but never stayed to see the play; it was “just not his thing.” While videotaping August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom he finally understood “the power of theater.” Years later his cousin asked him to stand in for an actor who was temporarily unavailable; that actor lost his job and Mark began a new career. Dedicated to giving his family all that they needed, Mark managed to balance his “good paying work” in the Steel Industry with his passion to pursue theater. Listen to this serious, multi- talented, self-deprecating man talk about his creation of a rich, diverse and satisfying life.

    continue reading
  • Interview with Roxanne Fay

    9-17-13 Audio Interview

    Roxanne Fay fell in love with words when she was very young and participated in “forensics competitions” – the reading of poetry – in elementary school. Her love of “words that she wanted to say,” never left her and she relentlessly pursued those “nourishing words” as an actor and playwright, but it wasn’t an easy journey. Not accepted in to the BFA program at university and not accepted to the Asolo Conservatory program Roxanne persevered despite a “broken heart.” She attended the Burt Reynolds acting program (which in retrospect was the better choice for her), and has never looked back. Travelling to work in Hawaii, Chicago, New York, and Orlando and finally finding herself back home in St Petersburg Florida where she has been working steadily as an actor, playwright, and stage manager. Listen to her talk about the work she and her Blue Scarf collective partners have done, her extraordinary two part piece called Home Fires Burning, (which if you get a chance to see you shouldn’t miss), the one woman narrative she is writing about Mary Magdalene for which she won a grant, and her upcoming work in The Birds which will open on Oct 2nd at American Stage Theater in St Petersburg FL.

    continue reading
  • Interview with Jo Morello

    8-13-13 — Audio Interview

    Jo Morello has always been a writer. She got her first job at 8 years old when, in the 3rd grade, she assigned to write the School Page for her parochial school newspaper. But Jo’s nature ran counter to the dictates of her culture, she wanted to do many things that the boys/men were allowed to do but the girls/women were not allowed to do; study medicine, get married when she wanted to. She confronted many obstacles as she tried to be who she really is. She had many “fights.” She won some and she lost some but she never stopped fighting. Listen to the many identities Jo carved out for herself, including the most recent, that of playwright for which she is receiving a lot of recognition. And come to a reading of her play Ma, Moonflowers and Me, a comedy for people old enough to know better at the Players Community Theater on August 13th.

    continue reading
  • Interviews with Beth Duda and Michael McKeever

    7-30-13 – 2 Audio Interviews First Beth Duda and second Michael McKeever

    Beth Duda still remembers being the tightrope walker in her kindergarten circus show, and cajoling her non artistic family to participate in and be the audience for the shows she relentlessly insisted on creating. But she followed her practical upbringing and became a teacher instead of a performer, until the twists and turns of her life made it possible for her to pursue/combine both of her passions, today she is the Director of Education and Resident playwright at Florida Studio Theater. Listen to this delightful, enthusiastic woman tell her charming story.

    Multi-talented, Michael McKeever decided that he had a better chance of making money as an artist – something he was very good at and enjoyed doing – rather than in the theater where he “soul really was.” He majored in advertising design and did in fact make “stupid money” as an art director. But when life gave him opportunity and he jumped on it. He wrote his first play at 30 years old, and his “soul” must have been right because in the 15 years since he wrote that first play, Michael’s written 21 plays and all of them, including the first one, have been produced. Listen to this exuberant, passionate man talk about the joy of finally being what he was always meant to be. And come to Florida Studio Theater where his play funny, thoughtful, compelling play South Beach Babylon is currently running.

    continue reading
  • Interview with Austin Pendleton – rerun

    Blyth Danner and Austin Pendleton4-9-13 – Interview with Austin Pendleton

    I start this interview by saying “I am here with the one and only Austin Pendleton.” This is not a casual or frivolous comment. Nominated for a Tony for his direction of Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes, winner of a Drama desk and an Obie award, actor, director, playwright, producer, teacher and inspiration, Austin Pendelton is one of a kind; a singleton. Unique, special, extraordinary and esteemed by his peers (listen to Meryl Streep and Olympia Dukakis talk about him), Austin has somehow managed to stay under the radar of fame. His love affair with the theater began when at seven years old when he snuck down stairs to watch his town’s fledgling community theater group rehearse in his living room. But young Austin denied his interest in acting to his friends, he says “who would believe that a nerdy kid, who wore glasses and stuttered so badly could be an actor.” Apparently Austin did. Apparently Austin was right. While not able to stop him, his stutter remained an intractable stumbling block on the path to his beloved goal – working in the theater. But Austin is not only incredibly talented, he is also incredibly tenacious; listen to the determination with which he worked to overcome his stutter and so become, while not famous, a professional who is always working, always in demand. Check out Austin Pendleton Theatre Credits and Austin Pendleton – Filmography to see what I mean.

    continue reading
  • Interview with Austin Pendleton – Part 2

    10/2/2012 Interview Part 2

    In the second half or our interview Austin Pendelton talks with humor and candor about his struggles with stuttering. How it helped him get – right out of college – his first role on Broadway; co-starring with the “breathtaking Harris” and “the amazing Jo Van Fleet” in Arthur Kopit’s enigmatic play “Oh Dad, Poor Dad.” Hear him describe the hilarious way he got the role, the ordeal of trying at the same time to, and not to stutter -which he believed was dragging the show down, and the kindness and generosity of director Jerome Robbins; who not only encouraged him to stay with it, but then cast him in “Fiddler on the Roof” – with Zero Mostel. Listen to the way he was coerced into his role in “My Cousin Vinnie,” and how that role in some way defined his career. Hear also about his time at the Hollins University and meeting Annie Glenn – the wife of astronaut and Senator John Glenn, who conquered a stuttering problem that was worse than Austin’s…

    If this is the first you have heard of him – take this opportunity to hear from this funny, sweet, accomplished, remarkable man. Watch the video, and donate to, the making of the Austin Pendleton Project, co-directed by Gene Gallerano and David H. Holmes. Donate here: http://www.indiegogo.com/austinpendleton

    [vimeo http://vimeo.com/47057982]

    continue reading
  • Interview with Austin Pendleton – Part 1

    Blyth Danner and Austin Pendleton9/25/2012 Interview Part 1

    I start this interview by saying “I am here with the one and only Austin Pendleton.” This is not a casual or frivolous comment. Nominated for a Tony for his direction of Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes, winner of a Drama desk and an Obie award,  actor, director, playwright, producer, teacher and inspiration, Austin Pendelton is one of a kind; a singleton.  Unique, special, extraordinary and esteemed by his peers (listen to Meryl Streep and Olympia Dukakis talk about him), Austin has somehow managed to stay under the radar of fame. His love affair with the theater began when at seven years old when he snuck down stairs to watch his town’s fledgling community theater group rehearse in his living room. But young Austin denied his interest in acting to his friends, he says “who would believe that a nerdy kid, who wore glasses and stuttered so badly could be an actor.” Apparently Austin did. Apparently Austin was right. While not able to stop him, his stutter remained an intractable stumbling block on the path to his beloved goal – working in the theater. But Austin is not only incredibly talented, he is also incredibly tenacious; listen to the determination with which he worked to overcome his stutter and so become, while not famous, a professional who is always working, always in demand. Check out Austin Pendleton Theatre Credits and Austin Pendleton – Filmography to see what I mean.

     

    If this is the first you have heard of him – take this opportunity to hear from this funny, sweet, accomplished, remarkable man. Watch the video, and donate to, the making of the Austin Pendleton Project, co-directed by Gene Gallerano and David H. Holmes.. Donate here: http://www.indiegogo.com/austinpendleton

    [vimeo http://vimeo.com/47057982]

    continue reading
  • Interview with Joanna McClelland Glass

    7-17-12 Interview

    Joanna McClelland Glass is a writer. Her play “Play Memory” directed by the legendary Hal Prince was nominated for a Tony Award. Both of her novels were published and optioned for film and she adapted both of the screenplays. Woman Wanted was directed by and starred Kiefer Sutherland, Holly Hunter and Michael Moriarty. But Joanna’s heart is in the theatre and her playwriting credits are much too extensive to include here. With all this talent and skill one might assume that Joanna had a privileged childhood and lots of training. No! Joanna’s childhood included an illiterate mother and an alcoholic father, who sold everything not nailed down to pay for his liquor. True to the culture of her time Joanna married young, worked to send her husband to graduate school, had three children very close in age and settled into the role of traditional wife and mother. It was not until, approaching 40; as the divorced mother of 3 young children, that she seriously turned her attention to her writing. Having announced that she was going to “try to support this whole thing with her writing,” Joanna says she simply had to “get kids on the bus and sit at the desk and do something.” And without any training – she had to learn the rules of her trade on the job – that is exactly what she did. And the quantity and quality of what her work is quite extraordinary. Listen to this woman’s inspiring story.

    continue reading
  • Interview with Leah Napolin

    5-15-12 – Interview

    Playwright Leah Napolin is a multi talented, thoughtful and courageous woman who was singing, dancing, drawing and reciting the poetry and stories she’d written was by the time she was 4 or 5. In college she was bitten by the “acting bug” and discovered her interest in writing plays. Still she was to teach music in Venezuela (until the revolution closed the school), get married, have children and lead a “bourgeois life,” before getting her chance to become the writer she always was. Her friend Robert Kalfin who’d started The Chelsea Theatre Center in Brooklyn suggested that she read Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Yentl the Yeshiva Boy.. And after being “thunderstruck,” Leah found away to dramatize the folk tale. The production was very successful but she didn’t reap much of the financial benefit because of the roadblocks put up by Barbara Streisand (listen to that interesting story). Finally she was able to hold on to the copy write for her work and the play has found many homes most recently having finished a successful run at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota Florida (in which Hilary Clemens -see above- played the role of Yentl). Listen to Leah talk about her journey towards finding her voice as a playwright and a person.

    continue reading
  • Interview with Sherman Yellen

    5-1-12 – Interview

    Emmy Award winning, Peabody Award winning, Tony Nominated playwright, screenwriter, lyricist Sherman Yellen thought he was going to be a painter. An asthmatic child he spent a lot of time in bed drawing and listening to his mothers stories about her life and the lives of her extended family; stories like the one about Cousin Ida the whore of Minsk. Sherman absorbed it all. He attended the High School of Music and Art certain he would be a fine artist but he had very high standards for his work and believed that although a “natural artist” and a “fine draftsman” he would never ” break the barrier” and become a fine artist. He began to write stories, not surprisingly about his family, and discovered what he really is – a writer. Hear the story of his introduction to writing for TV (a play he wrote with Peter Stone who would go on to write many movies including Charade and the Musical 1776 and which starred an outrageous scene stealing Jack Lord who went on to star in Hawaii five-0. Listen to Sherman talk about the way he experiences the act of writing, the “losing of oneself,” and hear a songs from Blackbird – the story of Josephine Baker, a musical for which he wrote both book and lyrics, and which is the West Coast Black Theater Troupe’s current production.

    continue reading
  • Interview with writer Steve Drukman

    5-10-2011 Interview

    At age 3 or 4 Steve Drukman discovered that fiction – something unreal – could change a person’s attitude and feelings. Of course, as he says, he didn’t have either the words or the sophistication to think of it in those terms, but the experience that showed him this irrefutable truth is still clear in his mind. Recognizing early the importance that words, ideas and writing had to him, Steve pursued several jobs/careers: acting, teaching, journalism. But while trying to decide if he was a “journalist or a scholar” a play “emerged out of his unconscious,” and he understood finally that he is a playwright. The Innocents, his clever and interesting play about the many possibilities of love, marriage and family is currently having its debut performance at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota FL Listen to this thoughtful, philosophical, interesting man tell the story of his journey to discover himself.

    continue reading
  • Interview with David Hirson

    February 1, 2011

    David Hirson doesn’t know when he decided that he was a writer because looking back it seems that he was always a writer; by the age of 10 he was “filling notebooks with ideas and thinking about what he wanted to write. “ He thought of it as “playing.” At 27, David decided to write his first play. Thinking that, as a first time playwright he had do something unusual if he was going to get anyone’s attention, David chose to do something that no one had done; to write a play all in rhyming couplet. The result was La Bette, which not only won the Tony but has continued to play all over the world; most recently in London and New York, and now at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota. Listen to this thoughtful and compelling interview which chronicles the remarkable story of La Bette’s creation, journey to Broadway and the way in which it impacted David’s life.

    continue reading
  • Interview with Jack Gilhooley

    January 12, 2010

    Discussion – In this show I am beginning to talk about the danger we face when we begin to consider exposing the Undercover qualities we had carefully hidden away.

    Interview – Playwright Jack Gilhooley is a crusty, outspoken, interesting man with a dark vision and a passionate interest in history, which is demonstrated in his many, many plays. Jack was encouraged by his father to pursue a career in business and while it was instantly apparent both to Jack and the Wharton School that it wasn’t for him, it took him a while to realize that his passionate interest in plays, which he’d begun reading voraciously as a boy, was really what his life must be about. But having once started writing plays, nothing could stop him. “Writing a play is easy” he says, “it’s getting them on that’s hard.” Still jack perseveres. He is very definitely an example of someone who knows who he is, makes no apology for it, and steadfastly follows his path.

    continue reading
  • Interview with Eva Slane

    November 17, 2009

    Discussion – You can discover so much about yourself by listening to the way you talk to and about yourself. We all have an ongoing internal dialogue – much of which is commentary on or about ourselves. In this show I give examples of the way that your inner commentary can highlight a Cover Story or uncover and Undercover…

    InterviewEva Slane, is the quintessential Patron of the Arts. She was honored this week by Sarasota Magazine as one this cities 28 most important people to the Arts. This is no small achievement in a city where almost everyone thinks of themselves as a supporter of the Arts. Eva has spent most of her 80 years dedicated to preserving the theater. Escaping at 10 years old from Vienna shortly after Kristallnacht, she and her parents finally arrived in New York City, the perfect place for a theater lover to land. Listen to how, in her late 70’s Eva has begun to explore her own artistic abilities, by participating in a writing project sponsored by the the Holocaust Museum in St Petersburg Fl, writing several short plays and even auditioning for a role as an actor. A role model for becoming who you really are, Eva is not only delightful but inspirational.

    continue reading