Podcast Episode #53: Tony Award Winning Director Des McAnuff

As you probably could imagine, it’s hard to establish yourself as an A-list Broadway Director.

It’s also hard to establish yourself as an A-list Artistic Director at a Top Regional Theater.

Des McAnuff has done both.

Des has directed some of my favorite shows on Broadway, from the electric Tommy to the good ol’ revival of How to Succeed . . . to Jersey Boys to Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays.  

(Do me a favor, go back and read those titles again . . . and just let the diversity of that material soak in . . . so you understand just how good this guy is.)

On top of his directorial credits, Des has been the Director-In-Charge at both the La Jolla Playhouse and the Stratford Festival, taking both organizations to new heights during his reign.

As you can imagine, he and I had a lot to talk about, including . . .

  • How starting a theater company with other like-minded up-and-comers helped launch his career (that theater company is the now powerhouse producing org, The Dodgers, by the way).
  • How he develops a show . . . which is never the same way twice.
  • How the Broadway/Regional Theater enhancement model was born  . . and why he thinks what’s happening in that market today is “dangerous.”
  • The challenges of creating a musical with pre-existing music (Tommy, Jersey Boys) and his tips on how to do it.
  • What show (or should I say “shows”?) he’s dying to direct . . . and why.

I mean, this guy could have his own blog, TheDirectorsPerspective.com . . . and I’d be a daily reader.

Until then, enjoy his 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.