Playwright

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Interviews with Michael Donald Edwards and Jason Wells

    April 28, 2009

    In this show I air my interview with the producing artistic director of the Asolo Rep, Michael Donald Edwards, in which he talks about his vision for theater. I replay Sharon’s review of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, which Michael directed and about which he takes at length. I also air my interview with actor/playwright Jason Wells, whose plan Perfect Mendacity is about to open.

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  • Interview with Sharon Lesley, Part 2

    May 13, 2008

    After recapping the creation of a Cover Story I explain how and why we hide some of our most important qualities Undercover, and that these qualities which we have, but deny, can be the very ones we need to do some things we’d previously been unable to do. Using brief descriptions of two movies “Juno” and “Miss Pettigrew” I talk about the importance of strong female role models in fiction and then play the second ½ of my interview with Sharon Lesley, who is not only a powerful role model but has written three theater pieces which highlight the lives of powerful woman.

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  • Interview with Sharon Lesley, Part 1

    May 06, 2008

    Beginning with a recap of the concepts of Modeling and Anti-Modeling and talking about the dilemma of being an artist in this culture, this show goes on to demonstrate how the creation of a Cover Story stops us from doing what we would otherwise be able to do. It continues the series Anatomy of an Artist with the first half of an interview with Sharon Lesley, actor/singer/playwright/director, and includes cuts from CD’s by Sharon and her husband pianist David Ohrenstein.

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