Favorite Quotes Vol. XXXIX: Everybody makes ’em. Not everyone learns from them.

Rufus Norris BroadwaySo imagine if you were the President of the United States . . . right after Abe Lincoln.  Or JFK.

Or imagine if you had to take over Hugh Jackman’s role in Steady Rain, or Boy From Oz , or anything.

Well, that’s exactly how Rufus Norris must feel.

Who’s Rufus?  Glad you asked.

Well, contrary to what you might think based on the photo in this blog, he is not Robert Sean Leonard’s long lost British brother.

He’s the new Artistic Director at London’s National Theatre, taking over for the should-be-canonized-by-the-theater-pope Nicholas Hytner, who made the National one of the most important theaters in the . . . world.

Big shoes.  Big shoes.

But even though he has yet to pick a season, or direct a new show, and get something transferred to this side of the pond, Rufus is off to a great start in my opinion, and it’s because of quotes like the one below.

See, Mr. Norris, like so many, has had a flop or two on Broadway, including his 2006 production of Festen.  In this article in the NY Times announcing his appointment, he talks about that, and what he thinks went wrong.  And when pushed about this “failure,” the article says . . .

He said he made “several basic mistakes” but did not regret the production “because I learned more from that one experience than anything else I’ve done.

Admitting mistakes.  And learning from them.   That’s how he do.

It’d be easy to stew on a failure for years, and let it stew, and bitterize you.  It takes a very powerful spirit to spin that sucker around into some positivity.  And that’s why he is now leading one of the most important theaters in the  . . . yep, gonna say it again . . . world.

Best of luck to you, Mr. Norris.  I think you’re going to crush it.


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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.