Podcast Episode 167 – Theatrical Jack-Of-All Trades, Jack Viertel

It was the worst of timing. And the best of timing.

Jack and I were supposed to sit down in person last Friday to record his podcast about his incredibly diverse career as a Producer, Theater Critic, Artistic Director of Encores, Creative Consultant, VP for a Theater Owner and more . . . and then a snowstorm hit.

But, the podcast must go one, so we did it over the phone instead (so if you notice a bit of a sound differential from our previous podcasts, now you’ll know why).

On the flip side, the snow day was the same day the reviews for The Prom came out, a show based on Jack’s original concept (no underlying source material here!) and bammo, they were terrific.

So, of course, we talked about that, and his thoughts on original musicals, as well as . . .

  • How working as a critic made him a better Producer.
  • What every single musical absolutely needs in order to work . . . and his example of a show that gets away without it.
  • The role of the theater owner – how it has changed over the years.
  • What former NEA Chair and Jujamcyn Theater President Rocco Landesman said to him after a flop that he still takes with him to this day.
  • What made him want to give it all up years ago . . . and how he got through that.

Jack is an encyclopedia of theatrical knowledge, but as his career has proven . . . he’s not just book smart. He puts his words into action and makes it happen.

After you listen in, make sure you pick up his book, The Secret Life of the American Musical (a great holiday gift) to read more.

Click here for my podcast with Jack!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review 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.