Favorite Quotes Volume XVIII: A lyric that’d make Sondheim jealous.

I’m a lucky member of the BMI Librettist workshop, and every year we get together
with the song writers to collaborate on scenes for a musical based on a movie.
This year, it was Woody Allen’s Match Point, a thriller that uses tennis as a
device to the tell the story of  . . . uh . . . planning the murder of your
mistress that’s having your baby so you can continue living your charmed life
with the wife you don’t love but whose parents have more cash than Daddy Warbucks.
In his song, Doug Maxwell, served up this ace:

“Victory isn’t as sweet when you win by default.”

This quote took a moment to really register with me, because we all want
winners, right?  And at the end of the day people only see the scoreboard, they
don’t see the game, so as long as we come out a head, who cares, right?

Not me.  For me, the game is only fun if it’s played.

In addition to BMI, another one of my weeknight activities is a basketball
league that I’ve been in for about ten years.  There are playoffs and
championships and trophies and everything, so every win counts.

But it just ain’t the same when the other team doesn’t show up and we get a
check in the win column because of a forfeit.

The next time you’re having a rough moment in the development of your show, or
your script, or you’re life . . . remember Doug.  Sure, it’d be great if the
first draft of your script was like Noel Cowards first draft of Blithe Spirit
(which was 98% unchanged before its first performance).  Sure, it’d be nice to
have a billion bucks show up on your door step.  But surely, your smile is not
going to be as big on opening night if it was just plain easy.

So, play the game.  Sweat it out.  There’s nothing sweeter than a victory from a
hard played game.

And let’s face it, we’re all underdogs in this business because of the
incredible odds stacked against us.  But underdogs are the ones carried off the
field when they win.

And ain’t no one getting carried off if it’s easy.

Speaking of folks who don’t have it easy . . .
click here to visit Doug
Maxwell’s not-for-profit that assists blind composers and performers through the

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Thursday, April 23rd.
6 PM
Planet Hollywood

For more info and to RSVP,
click 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.