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.