Happy Talk: 25 Cool Musical Theatre Interviews

From 2000 through March of this year, I co-hosted a local radio show on KDHX called Break a Leg: Theatre in St. Louis and Beyond, "the only show in town where working theatre artists interview working theatre artists," with my co-host, New Line board member and actor Deborah Sharn, who is also the company manager for the Rep.

It was a blast talking to the amazing array of guests we interviewed, local theatre artists, touring artists, Broadway and off Broadway artists, and a few cabaret artists sprinkled in as well.

We kept a list of our guests, including many of my musical theatre heroes (nothing makes me happier than talking about musicals), like Stephen Schwartz, Adam Guettel, Larry O'Keefe, Henry Krieger, Rupert Holmes, Jeanine Tesori, Amanda Green, Bill Russell – you'll notice my biggest heroes are all writers – also Barbara Cook, Eartha Kitt, Ted Neeley, Ken Page, Patrick Cassidy, B.D. Wong, Marin Mazzie, Norbert Leo Butz, Liz Callaway, Judy Kaye, Doug Storm, Deven May, Steve Ross, Rocco Landesman, Frank Rich... and one of my all-time directing heroes, Anne Bogart.

Sadly, most of these interviews weren't preserved by the station, so you can't access them. But starting in the fall of 2011, KDHX began posting all our radio shows online as podcasts. The station has since switched to a new website, but the old podcasts are still up, at least for now.

So here are the cool musical theatre artists we interviewed in the last few years, each linked to the podcasts...

Glen Berger

Ron Bohmer

Norbert Leo Butz

Dee Hoty

Rita Gardner

Jason Graae

Amanda Green on Hands on a Hardbody
Amanda Green on Bring It On and High Fidelity

Karen Mason

John McDaniel

Mary Gordon Murray

Ken Page

Faith Prince

John Rubinstein

Thom Sesma

Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman, on Smash, Season One
Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman, on Smash, Season Two

Christopher Sieber

Doug Wright

Karen Ziemba

And also, the wildly successful Broadway producer Jhett Tolentino.

I left Break a Leg last spring to launch my own podcast, Stage Grok, but Deborah is still hosting Break a Leg. So far, I've talked to four great musical theatre artists for Stage Grok:

Bill Finn

Amanda Green

Michael Mayer

And also, three of my favorite people connected to New York musical theatre, Jennifer Tepper, Peter Filichia, and Adam Feldman, president of the New York Drama Critics' Circle.

When I was a kid I devoured every book I could find about musical theatre, but there weren't all that many back in the 1970s and 80s. Just as New Line's founding accidentally lined up with the birth of the new Golden Age of the American Musical Theatre; in the same way, me writing my first book in 1994 accidentally lined up with the beginning of a whole new era in musical theatre scholarship. Now there are a ton of books about our art form.

And because of the radio show and my new podcast, I actually get to talk with people like Bill Finn and Amanda Green and Adam Guettel and Stephen Schwartz. And that's mind-blowing. And thrilling. I'm so grateful to all these artists for taking the time to talk to Deborah and me. It's always such an honor.

For the longest time, I've been wanting to collect all these links together, so more people can enjoy these interesting interviews. So now I've done that. I hope you enjoy them.

And meanwhile, check in with Stage Grok every once in a while. I have some very cool interviews coming up...

Long Live the Musical!