Today, I am so honored to announce my episode with Tony Nominee Jill O’Hara, whose many stage credits include starring in the original productions of Promises, Promises, George M!, and Hair. She shares so many of the stories of her wonderful career, including standing her ground with David Merrick, a funny encounter with Kristin Chenoweth, giving a note to Tom Bosley, the differences between the off-Broadway and Broadway productions of Hair, growing up in a theatrical family, why every copy of The New York Times once had to be taken out of Stockbridge, the song that was cut from Promises, Promises, the new cabaret show she is developing, and so much more.
Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with Encores! Producing Creative Director and Tony-winning set designer Clint Ramos. Clint’s current project is Encores!’ newest production, Into the Woods, which runs now through May 15. You can find the remaining tickets here:
You can tune in today to hear some of the stories of Clint’s amazing career, including the art of designing for a star, creating a program with the American Theater Wing for young costume designers, his extensive research process for Respect, why Slave Play had extra resonance after quarantine, how he helped create the new mission for Encores!, working with Henry Krieger and other original creatives on Encores! shows, putting together a virtual season, the concept for the new Into the Woods, and so much more.
Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with Chris Mouron and Anne Tournié, creators of The Little Prince. Chris is the narrator, adaptor, and co-director, and Anne is the co-director and choreographer. Tune in to hear them speak about the international success of the show, including the process of modernizing the book, the location where audiences had never read the book, what was added for the New York run and why, the place they’d like to perform the show next, how Broadway audiences are different, connecting with Antoine De Saint Exupery’s estate, the parts of the book that were hardest to adapt, and more.
You won't want to miss this fascinating conversation with two ground-breaking artists.
Today, I am so honored to announce my interview with Jennifer Ashley Tepper, who has been Creative and Programming Director of 54 Below since 2013. Today, she’s here to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the legendary cabaret room. On May 2nd, you can see a fabulous celebration called Ten Years of Musical Theater History at 54 Below:
Tune in to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including presenting the premiere of A Strange Loop, choosing concerts to present virtually, which Broadway stars she’d love to have perform there, creating the schedule, setting prices for shows, having the Real Housewives film there, the difference between 7 and 9:30 PM programming, how the club has changed over the years, what it’s like marketing a 54 Below show, finding the line between fan and producer, and so much more.
Today, I am so excited to announce my interview with Linda Cho, recorded in October of 2020. You can see her highly praised costume design in POTUS, currently running on Broadway, which you can find tickets for here:
In the meantime, tune in to hear some of the stories of her career, including the influence of Ming Cho Lee, working with Broadway’s first all-female creative team on The Lifespan of a Fact, why Christy Altomare is an ideal star, the method in which she sketches, doing research as a costume designer, how her aesthetic sense affects her personal life, and more! Tune in today for this fascinating conversation with one of Broadway’s most in-demand artists.
Today, I am so happy to announce my new episode with Sam Pinkleton, movement director of the current Macbeth and choreographer of Amelie, Soft Power, and more. Tune in today to hear some of the stories of his career, including why he chose not to be a performer, the unusual Macbeth rehearsal process, adding a dance break to Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, fighting his “musical theater demons” with Soft Power, the influence of Elizabeth Swados, creating a tango for Heisenberg, the changes he wants to see in the musical theater art form, and so much more.
Make sure to tune in today for an inspiring conversation with one of the people leading the charge to change the face of American theater.
Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with legendary Broadway dancer and choreographer Baayork Lee, whose credits include A Chorus Line, My One and Only, The King and I, Flower Drum Song, and more. Tune in to hear some of the stories of her life and career, including the song for her and Ronald Dennis that was cut from A Chorus Line, the Broadway directing job she turned down, the process of saving Seesaw, being a dancing amoeba in Henry, Sweet Henry, befriending stage hands at 5 years old, founding the National Asian Artists Project, meeting Tommy Tune on A Joyful Noise, how Michael Bennett met John Raitt, and so much more.
Make sure to tune in for an entertaining and informative conversation with one of Broadway’s greats.
Today, I am so happy to announce Part 2 of my episode with Broadway actress Beth Fowler, star of Sweeney Todd, Beauty and the Beast, The Boy From Oz, and more. Tune in today to hear more of the amazing stories of her career, including what it was like working with Whoopi Goldberg, her New York Times review for Inherit the Wind, the mistake with the revival of Bells are Ringing, her collaboration with Bob Gunton, why Take Me Along shouldn't have come to Broadway, plus anecdotes about Hugh Jackman, Jerry Zaks, Faith Prince, and more.
Today, I am so happy to announce my interview with two-time Tony Award nominee and television star Beth Fowler. Tune in today to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including: choosing between two Broadway shows, meeting a real Roosevelt during Teddy and Alice, bonding over Leonard Bernstein with Patricia Routledge, performing the Andrews Sisters’ repertoire with Maxine Andrews, her fantasy Broadway debut, directing for Burt Reynolds, working with Nick Jonas, how she almost didn’t end up on Orange is the New Black, why the New York Times had too much influence, the reason A Little Night Music closed, a compliment from Hal Prince, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this conversation!
Today, I am so honored to announce the release of my newest episode, featuring Broadway and cabaret star Karen Mason. If you want to see Karen’s talents at work, you can buy tickets to her Birdland show, Kander and Ebb and All That Jazz on March 28 at this link:
And you can find her new album, Let the Music Play, on Spotify and Amazon Music.
In the meantime, tune in here to hear Karen tell some of the stoires of her legendary career, including: her disastrous audition for Sunset Boulevard, why Mamma Mia came along at just the right time, bonding with the cast of Rebecca, her first-day-of-rehearsal tradition, finding her own interpretations of Mama Rose and Norma Desmond, the unusual opening night party for Play Me a Country Song, and why she couldn’t be part of the original Torch Song Trilogy. You won’t want to miss this fun and entertaining conversation with a true legend of the theater.
I am so honored today to announce my episode with one of Broadway’s foremost musical directors adnd author of the new memoir Facing the Music David Loud. The memoir is available here:
And you can see the Lyrics and Lyricists tribute to him through the ticket link here:
But meanwhile, tune in today to hear him tell some of the stories of his long career, including what Ann Reinking gained from the choreographers she worked with, an askew turntable at Les Miserables, his complicated history with The Secret Garden, why Sondheim is the perfect idol, working with Mike Nichols, his admiration for Burton Lane, delving back into his life to write his memoir, why he decided to retire, and so much more.
Today, I am so excited to announce Backstage Babble’s 100th Episode! I want to send a sincere thank you to everyone who has listened to this podcast: without you, I could never have reached this point. And beyond that, it is thrilling to be able to present my interview with a Broadway icon, Harvey Fierstein. Tune in today to hear some of the stories of his legendary career, including the musical that Warren Beatty pitched to him, the problems he has with the way La Cage Aux Folles is usually staged, hanging out with Marsha P. Johnson, his early days with Andy Warhol at La MaMa, the creation of the global phenomenon that is Torch Song Trilogy, performing Tevye for Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, and more.
And if you want more Harvey, remember to buy his newly published memoir I Was Better Last Night! And Happy 100th!
I am so happy to announce the release of Backstage Babble's 99th episode with Tony-winning musical director and orchestrator Ted Sperling. In addition to his Broadway career, Ted is also the artistic director of Mastervoices, under whose auspices he will be presenting an all-star concert of Anyone Can Whistle at Carnegie Hall this Thursday, March 10, starring Vanessa Williams and Elizabeth Stanley. It’s a must-see event for all theater fans, and tickets are available here:
In the meantime, tune in today to hear Ted tell some of the stories of his illustrious career, including getting his start from Paul Gemignani, his long partnership with Victoria Clark, why he decided to leave Ragtime, the tense environment of Titanic, what it was like casting My Fair Lady, the uniqueness of William Finn, building his own circle of collaborators, the very strange experience of Roza, his collaboration with Stephen Sondheim, why Anyone Can Whistle is relevant today, and so much more.
Today, I am so happy to announce the release of my interview with Broadway choreographer Liza Gennaro, author of the new book Making Broadway Dance, available here: Purchase Making Broadway Dance
Tune in now for an in-depth study of Broadway choreography, including many of the stories of Ms. Gennaro’s long career, including: what she remembers about seeing the original Oliver!, why Smile deserves a second look, assisting her father on the trouble-ridden Threepenny Opera, interviewing Donald Saddler and Gemze De Lappe, collaborating with Lee Theodore on American Dance Machine, being a dance captain at a young age, how she makes musical numbers evolve out of the script, why the revival of Once Upon a Mattress might have been a mistaken endeavor, recreating Jerome Robbins’ choreography, and so much more.
Today, I am so happy to announce the release of my episode with one of Broadway’s best living directors, the great James Lapine. Tune in today to hear him share some of the stories and wisdom of his legendary career, including what he wanted to fix about the original Into the Woods, why he chose to dramatize Act One, his influences in avant-garde theater, his collaboration with William Finn, what it’s been like to return with Flying Over Sunset, the unique take he had on Annie, collaborating with the late, great Stephen Sondheim, his advice to young directors, and more. You won’t want to miss this interview with a true master of the theatrical art form.
Today, I am so happy to announce the release of my episode with legendary stage and screen comedienne Jo Anne Worley, who has starred in such illustrious projects as Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Hello, Dolly!, Grease, The Drowsy Chaperone, and more. Tune in to hear some of the wonderful stories of her long career, including the moment she knew Laugh-In was a success, vocalizing outside Carol Channing’s dressing room, Sandy Dennis’ special talent, the Broadway show that had a blackout on opening night, working with child actors, her signature audition song (a parody of The Music Man), auditioning for David Merrick, and more.
“Politics is like theater: if you can’t appreciate the little victories, you’ll never get the big ones.” Crystal Field has overseen victories large and small during her over 50 year tenure as Artistic Director of the Theater for the New City (https://theaterforthenewcity.net), and she details many of them on today’s episode of Backstage Babble. Among her fascinating stories: what it was like to work with Elia Kazan, the playwright who threw a stink bomb in the audience of his own play, the song in Promenade that was written about her, a deep dive into the many theories of acting she’s learned over the years, a mistake made by Joseph Papp, what she learned from Ellen Stewart, the mission of her theater and how it has changed, why boards are a vital aspect of any theater, and so much more. Crystal is truly an inspiration, and you won’t want to miss the chance to hear her words of wisdom.
Today, I am so happy to announce my episode with Broadway ensemblist and activist T. Oliver Reid. Tune in to hear some of the stories of T.’s long and legendary career, including his many auditions for Hadestown, how he founded the Black Theater Coalition and the work he hopes to do, working with Robert Goulet, working with children and animals in Once On This Island, the meaning behind Polly Bergen’s diamond, adapting to the styles of different choreographers, the many tricks he had to learn for Kiss Me, Kate, reimagining Cabaret, and so much more. T. Is an inspiration in so many ways, and hearing him speak is an extremely educational experience.
It is a true honor to announce Backstage Babble’s first episode of 2022-and what better way to start the New Year than with the legendary Bob Mackie, a man who has created iconic outfits for all of the greatest names in entertainment: everyone from RuPaul to Judy Garland. Tune in today as he talks about his storied career: hear about what it was like to be an openly gay man in ‘70s Hollywood, what he liked and disliked about the ‘50s movie musicals, why fashion doesn’t really exist today, the secret to a great awards show dress, what he learned from Edith Head, why The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public didn’t work, Cher at the Oscars, the brilliance of Carol Burnett, how Ann-Margret is different from her on-screen persona, getting Lucille Ball into a harness, and so much more. Bob Mackie’s outfits have become synonymous with theatricality and grace, and you’ll find the man himself shares those very same characteristics. You won’t want to miss this conversation.
You can find more of Bob Mackie’s designs and anecdotes in the recently published The Art of Bob Mackie, available here:
There’s no better way to send off 2021 than by listening to Part 2 of my episode with amazing choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter. Tune in today for a revealing and fascinating conversation about her choreography career, which includes such shows as School of Rock, Disaster, On a Clear Day, and more. Stories and insights abound: what she looks for in auditions, why it’s hard to cast child actors, preparing the Tonys number for Spring Awakening, how she cast Prince Charming in Cinderella, why she never writes anything down, why Disaster didn’t find as much success as it could have, having a meeting with Jerry Lewis, what it’s like collaborating with Barry Manilow, and so much more.