Podcast Episode #52: Tony Award-winning Lyricist Lynn Ahrens.

What I love about Lynn’s lyrics is that they just look/sound so easy.  That, of course, is the sign of a true master of any art form, when the work they create looks as if anyone can do it.

But oh no, not anyone could have written the lyrics to Ragtime, Once On This Island, My Favorite Year, Anastasia, and so many more.  And I don’t care what people say, I think lyrics are the hardest element of the musical to write.  Lyrics have to tell story, build character, provide tension . . . and rhyme, all within an appropriate number of syllables.

And there aren’t many people in the world who have ever done it as well as Lynn.

That’s why I was thrilled she took a few moments to chat with me about her wordsmith-ing ways and a whole bunch of other stuff like . . .

  • Why NOT being known as a book writer, despite having written the book to a whole bunch of shows, is actually a compliment.
  • How Audra McDonald helped inspire “Daddy’s Son” from Ragtime.
  • What we (including ME!) need to do to encourage more women writers.
  • How she and Stephen Flaherty have kept their collaboration going longer than most marriages.
  • What she wants every young writer to do (which will make this guy really happy).

If you’ve ever listened to a lyric, never mind tried to write one, you’re going to love this podcast.

Enjoy!  (And don’t worry, her partner-in-musical-crime, Mr. Flaherty, is coming up on a future podcast.)

Click here to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.