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Knowledge Base .: Meet The Author .: General Non-Fiction .: A Conversation with "Mr.Broadway" and Author of Let's Put On a Show-Stewart F. Lane

A Conversation with "Mr.Broadway" and Author of Let's Put On a Show-Stewart F. Lane


                             

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor& Publisher of Bookpleasures.com is honored to have as our guest, Stewart F. Lane.

      

                   


It is little wonder that Stewart has been called "Mr. Broadway!"

As a three time Tony Award Winner Producer he has been involved in one capacity or another as writer, director or producer in such well-known productions as: Legally Blond, Princesses the Musical, The Two and Only, Fiddler on the Roof, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Gypsy the Musical, Ragtime, Lobby Hero, Minnelli on Minnelli, Wait Until Dark, 1776, JFK: A Musical Drama, Fortune's Fool, The Goodbye Girl, Sarah and Abraham, The Will Rogers Follies, A Change in the Heir, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, West Side Story, Teaneck Tanzi, Woman of the Year, Frankenstein, The Grand Tour, Whose Life Is It Anyways, and Lone Star Private Wars.
 
Stewart is also the author of Let's Put On A Show­ -an entertaining, educational "how-to" guide for anyone (kids - adults) who would like learn how to produce a show at any level. The book also includes several of Stewart's own personal accounts in the theater business.
 

Good day Stewart and thanks for participating in our interview.

Norm:

Stewart, when did you become interested in the theater? What was your training? What keeps you going?
 
Stewart:

I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE THEATER WHEN I WAS ELEVEN YEARS OLD AND SAW MY FIRST BROADWAY SHOW. IT WAS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE, LIFE ALTERING REALLY. IT WAS MADE ALL THE MORE EXCITING BECAUSE MY BEST FRIEND'S FATHER WAS STARRING IN IT. HE WAS SID CEASAR AND HE WAS STARRING IN THE MUSICAL "LITTLE ME" COMPOSED BY CY COLEMAN AND WRITTEN BYNEIL SIMON.

I TRAINED AT BOSTON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS FROM WHERE I HAVE SINCE RECIEVED A DESTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD FROM BOTH THE COLLEGE AND THE UNIVERSITY.

WHAT KEEPS ME GOING IS THAT I REMEBER WHEN THE PHONE DIDN'T RING.

 
 Norm:
 
I noticed you have worn many hats in the theater business. How are they different and which ones do you prefer?
 
Stewart:

WRITING IS THE HARDEST FOR ME BECAUSE IT IS SO ISOLATING. IT TAKES A LOT OF DISCIPLINE TO SIT ALONE IN A ROOM, STARING AT THE BLANK SCREEN TRYING TO COME UP WITH IDEAS. PRODUCING IS LARGELY BUSINESS (THOUGH NOT ENTIRELY) BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT THEIR PAYCHECKS AT THE END OF THE WEEK, AND THEY WANT THEM TO CLEAR. ACTING IS VERY ENJOYABLE FOR ME BECAUSE I LIKE TO EXPLORE WHAT MAKES THE CHARACTER TICK. DIRECTING IS MY FAVORITE BECAUSE YOU GET TO LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE AND CREATE A STORY THAT SWELLS, PEAKS AND FLOWS.

Norm:
 
What was the most challenging of your productions to date and why?
 
Stewart:

THE MOST CHALLENGING OF MY PRODUCIONS TO DATE WAS THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE. NOT SINCE THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES HAVE I WORKED SO HARD TO GET THE PRODUCION RIGHT. WITH "...MILLIE" I WAS UP WORKING WITH THE CREATIVE TEAM EVERY NIGHT DURING PREVIEWS IN NEW YORK. WE WERE CUTTING, RE-CHOREOGRAPHING, AND RE-WRITING UP UNTIL CRITICS NIGHT.

Norm:
 
Do you find criticism helpful? What would you say are the most useful critics of your work?
 
Stewart:

WITHOUT QUESTION, THE OUT OF TOWN CRITICS CAN BE VERY HELPFUL. ON THE WHOLE THEY SEEM MORE CONCERNED ABOUT HELPING THE PRODUCTIONS ON THEIR WAY TO NEW YORK THAN TRYING TO DESTROY THEM. 

Norm:
 
Describe your research process when you decide to take on the role as director or producer of a production?
 
Stewart:


AS A DIRECTOR, IN THE CASE OF A REVIVAL I TRY NOT TO BE INFLUENCED BY ANY PREVIOUS PRODUCTIONS AS A PRODUCER I WOULD TRY AND LEARN FROM ANY MISTAKES MADE THE LAST TIME THE SHOW WAS PRESENTED.  AS BOTH A DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER WITH A NEW PRODUCTION I TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHO THE AUDIENCE IS AND HOW TO TOUCH THEM.

Norm:
 
How would you define acting?
 
Stewart:

ACTING IS DOING. AS IN LIFE ACTIONS DEFINE A CHARACTER, NOT THINKING ABOUT IT.

Norm:
 
What motivated you to write Let's Put On A Show­ and what do you hope the book will accomplish?
 
Stewart:

THERE IS NOTHING LIKE THIS BOOK AVAILABLE ON THE MARKET TODAY. I FELT A GUIDELINE WAS NEEDED TO HELP ANYONE WHO WANTS TO START A THEATER COMPANY OR SIMPLY  MOUNT A PRODUCTION.

Norm:
 
Do you find directing and/or producing for film different from live theater?
 
Stewart:

PRODUCING FOR THE THEATER IS MUCH MORE SATISFYING.

Norm:
 
What advice would you give a young singer song-writer who wishes to advance his career beyond the first stage of singing only in cafés and local community theater?
 
Stewart:

NETWORK BY GETTING INVOLVED IN MUSICAL WORKSHOPS (BMI, ASCAP) AND PARTICIPATING IN ACTIVE THEATER COMPANIES.

Norm:
 
What clues tell you how your audience is going to behave within the first five minutes of a show?
 
Stewart:

I'VE BEEN TOLD THE AUDIENCE WILL FORGIVE ANYTHING IN THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES OF A SHOW. AFTER THAT, WATCH OUT FOR THE COUGHERS.

Norm:

Have you views of theater productions changed over the years and what are your views of the future of live theater? Do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the theater industry as it exists today?
 

Stewart:

THE THEATER HAS NOT BEEN THIS HEALTHY FOR SIXTY YEARS. THE VARIETY OF SHOWS BEING OFFERED, FROM EUGENE O'NEAL TO LEGALLY BLONDE, HAS NEVER BEEN SO BOUNTIFUL. THE AUDIENCE IS MORE DIVERSIFIED THAN EVER AND THERE ARE MORE SHOWS CLAMMERING TO GET ON BROADWAY.

Norm:
 
Can you imagine doing anything else in life?
 
Stewart:

NO.

Norm:
 
How do you want to be remembered?
 
Stewart:

I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED AS SOMEONE WHO BELIEVED IN THE IMPORTANCE OF THEATER AND WAS HONORED TO BE A PART OF IT.

Norm:

What is next for Stewart Lane and is there anything else you wish to ad that we have not covered?
 
Stewart:

I'VE GOT A MUSICAL, "PRINCESSES" IN THE WORKS. I ALSO HAVE A NEW MOVIE WRITTEN BY MARSHAL BRICKMAN I WILL BE PRODUCING CALLED "THE BERKLEY CONNECTION".

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.

To find out more about Stewart
CLICK HERE

 

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