Podcast Episode 65 Transcript – Bobby Lopez

Ken: Hey, everybody. So social media is all the rage and everybody wants to know how to use it to sell tickets. Well I’m teaching a webinar next Wednesday, April 6th, at 7pm eastern, all about how to use social media to sell tickets for your show. Get all the details on TheProducersPerspective.com and if you’re a Pro member you get this webinar for free. Now, on with the podcast!

Ken: Hey, everybody, it’s Ken Davenport here. This is the Producer’s Perspective Podcast and I’ve taken the show on the road today – we’re podcasting from Brooklyn, which, I will be honest, I’ve lived in New York for 20 years and I’ve only been here like three times. We’re recording this session from the studio of today’s guest – welcome to the podcast EGOT winner Bobby Lopez. Welcome, Bobby!

Bobby: Hey, thanks, Ken. Thanks for having me.

Ken: Bobby really needs no intro, but in case you’ve been living under a musical theatre rock for the past decade he’s responsible for some of the most unique and successful shows on Broadway. He’s one of the co-creators of Avenue Q, Tony award for best musical and score; Book of Mormon, Tony award for best musical and score and best book as well and a Grammy award. In television he’s contribution songs to Wonder Pets, an Emmy award, as well as Scrubs, The Simpsons and a lot more, and with his wife Kristen he wrote the songs for Frozen, including the song heard around the world, as sung by every child under the age of 10, “Let It Go,” which is when he won that Oscar, and Emmy plus Grammy plus Oscar plus Tony equals EGOT – the quickest person in history to rack up all four. Okay, Bobby, so that’s where we are today – how did you get started in writing for the theatre?

Bobby: I kind of got the bug really early. I grew up in Manhattan and I was in this drama group, but before that I started taking piano lessons. I was seven years old and my piano teacher had me write little pieces and I started writing songs at seven and all my teachers knew that I was musical. I was in this drama group in Greenwich village and the teacher said, “Would you like to write an opening number for our show?” It was a little student-written show, kind of like A Chorus Line but kids auditioning for a performing arts type high school, so like A Chorus Line meets Fame, and I said, “Sure, I would love to do that,” and I wrote a number and that was the end. I loved doing that and everyone said what a great number it was and I had the bug, I never went back.

Ken: Do you remember what it was about writing that piece or seeing it up that made you go, “Oh, the theatre, that’s what I want to write for?” You could have written for pop music, for singers, for anything – why the theatre?

Bobby: I don’t know what it was. I was a shy kid and I think a lot artistic kids, a lot of kids who compose and play the piano, they tend to be a little bit shy and music was my way of sort of coming alive in a group and I think that’s what it was, that I got to be on stage and be extroverted and sing and tell jokes and then, through composing and songwriter, I could show that off at the same time. It was really like a kid who kept to himself finally getting to show off once in a while and having a convention that made it okay and bridged the boundaries that shyness put up.

Ken: This is where I sometimes ask my composer guests about their first song but you talked a lot about your first composition, or early composition, on your TEDx Broadway talk, which is amazing, so we’re just going to put a link to that in the blog. You went to Yale, right?

Bobby: Uh-huh.

Ken: And what did you major in at Yale?

Bobby: I majored in English. I got a B.A. in English and it was a double major, I majored in music too, but I think when you double major only one of them counts.

Ken: And did you know you wanted to compose for the theatre when you went to Yale?

Bobby: I did and I went to Yale because, it’s funny, the day that I met Stephen Sondheim when I was 15 years old, I knew someone who knew him and through that person I got him a tape and he wrote me back a letter, as he does to so many young composers so generously, and gives them his time, and it was an encouraging letter and I just felt like, “Wow, I could really do this!” And then the friend said, “Would you like to meet him?” And I said, “Yes!” He was recording an interview with James Lapine in Manhattan somewhere, it was part of the Into the Woods question and answer portion of the MTI video tape and so I was there that day that they taped it and so was David Pogue who was this Yale LEAD who now is famous for his Apple reviews for the Times and Yahoo! and he was the one who said, “If you’re going to go to college you’ve got to go to Yale. Adam Guettel was at Yale, that’s the place, you’re going to have your work done as much as you want, there’s so many theatres just doing student-written stuff,” so that’s why I went there.

Ken: So after school you just picked up and got on the Metro-North and moved to New York?

Bobby: Yeah, well I was from New York so I moved right back in with my parents. It was as simple as that.

Ken: So tell me about your first show – you burst on the scene with Avenue Q, tell me a little bit about how it was born.

Bobby: One of the first things I did when I graduated Yale – and this is something I tell everyone that asks me for advice – is I auditioned for the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. It’s a class, it’s still being done, it’s stronger than ever now and it’s for free, it’s for anyone that auditions and gets in. It’s a place where you can A) learn the professional jargon and the craft of musical theatre writing but, even more than that, it’s a place where you can meet collaborators, you can have an audience for your early work, you can find out what’s going on in the scene of your generation, basically, and that’s what it was for me and that’s where I met Jeff Marx and we started writing together. I was actually writing by myself to begin with, I was writing music and lyrics and I noticed that I wasn’t having as much fun as most of the other people in the class because they were all meeting each other and finding time to write together and I kind of realized I was just sitting in my parents’ house with headphones on writing songs. So I called up Jeff, who had written this great song called “People Suck” and it made me laugh, it made the whole class laugh, and I said, “Do you want to write together?” So we ended up writing a little show and our first project, we ended up doing a teeny show and then a bigger show called Kermit: Prince of Denmark. We had to do an adaptation so we decided to do Hamlet as done by the Muppets and it was all about Kermit the Frog on a plane to Denver and he got on the wrong plane to Denmark and chaos ensued. Anyway, so that’s how we got the idea for doing puppets and we met Rick Lyon. I remember I was sitting, once again, in my parents’ place with my third Scotch at one in the morning thinking, “How in the hell am I going to get out of here?” And it hit me, I was looking at the TV and I was like, “What about a TV show? Like Sesame Street meets Friends?” And I called Jeff, it was one or two in the morning, and he was like, “Yeah, let’s do that,” so that’s how that was born.

Ken: We’ll flash forward a bit – actually Robyn Goodman was on last week’s episode so she talked a little bit about the change from television to theatre. So it opens off-Broadway and people around town think, “Oh, what a great off-Broadway show, it will probably sit there,” and then Kevin and Jeffrey and Robyn move it to Broadway and, all of a sudden, it’s this big hit. Were you still living in your parents’ house?

Bobby: No, I moved out the month that we signed the deal with Kevin and Jeffrey and Robyn. It was right after 9/11, it was 10/11/01.

Ken: So this little show opens big, what was going through your mind the night of the Tony awards? Could you ever have imagined this little show born in your parents’ house could have ever achieved what it did?

Bobby: No, that was the crazy thing. I never imagined Broadway success. I always imagined off-Broadway failure. I thought, “If I could just get a failure off-Broadway that would be something!” so that was my goal and somehow…

Ken: You failed your goal, I’m so sorry to tell you!

Bobby: I wanted to write something that was very admired that didn’t run very long off-Broadway.

Ken: Okay, so Avenue Q is a big hit and then we go on to your next show, you start writing The Book of Mormon. Was there a lot of pressure on you when you started writing that show? Did you feel more pressure, less pressure?

Bobby: It was for fun. In a lot of ways it was for fun because I was writing with these giants in my life, Matt and Trey were a huge inspiration, they had just come out with South Park the year I graduated so they were sort of heroes. For a lot of it I was thinking, “They’re just screwing around, I don’t think they really care, I don’t think they really want to do this, but we’re having fun and I get to go to LA and meet them.” Every time we would meet we would write some songs and then the songs would still be good and they would still want to work on it so, over the course of a few years, we assembled enough to do a reading and that’s when it started to gain some momentum. We did a reading at the Vineyard Theatre, which is where we had done Avenue Q, in 2008 I think and that’s when it started to feel like, “Oh, this could be a show. This could be our next show.”

Ken: Interestingly enough, just like Q, as you were writing and creating it you weren’t thinking, “Oh, Broadway is where we’ll be.”

Bobby: No, and not only that, we weren’t even sure it was a theatre piece. We were kind of writing it as an album, we were writing the songs, we would write notes on what the story was and then Trey would always lose the note cards, every time, and we’d get together the next six months later and we’d be like, “Oh, so what’s the story again? Shit, Trey lost the note cards so what is it?” And then we’d talk and we’d say, “We already figured this out! Wait a minute…” and so finally we committed some stuff to paper and they still weren’t sure if they wanted to stay with what they knew and do a movie or if they wanted to be adventurous and do it on stage. I’m glad we did it on stage but we still have that urge to maybe see it as a movie one day.

Ken: I just love that you committed it to paper, nobody picked up a laptop and put it in there so you wouldn’t lose it.

Bobby: I don’t know, I think we probably committed it to laptop.

Ken: What’s your approach in general to the collaborate process? You worked with Jeff Marx – you worked by yourself first, in your room with your headphones, then you’re working with Jeff, a student, a peer, then you’re working with these giants of comedy. What is your approach to the collaborative process for writing a music? Are you music, lyrics? I notice on a lot of your shows you’re just listed, on Book of Mormon specifically, it’s just the three of you, it’s not, “Music, lyrics, book.”

Bobby: Yeah, the less definition between the roles, I really get off on that. I started as a lyricist and a composer mixed together and I always feel stifled if I can’t write lyrics so I’ve never worked with anyone as purely a composer. A little bit, but just not that much. I just like an open atmosphere, I like not feeling too precious about things, I like when my collaborators are allowed to say, “I don’t like that melody, what if it went like this? Can you change the bass line there?” I like that, it takes it away from preciousness and ego and brings it into the realm of “What’s going to connect with people? What is going to speak to people?” Because I think, in the end, that’s what I want to do, I don’t want to write stuff that’s ethereal and admired, I really do like to connect with an audience.

Ken: And that went both ways when writing The Book of Mormon, so you’re saying to Trey and Matt, “You know what would be funny here…”

Bobby: Oh yeah, we all wrote all of it. I think because they’re so famous and because they’re so charismatic, and because we advertised the show as South Park, South Park, South Park!, they are perceived as having come up with the idea and being responsible for a lot of the content but it was an equal collaboration between us all and I came up with, “Hasa Diga Eebowai” which is the song that you would think they wrote and, vice versa, there’s lots of stuff that I had less to do with and they had more to do with that you would think that I did. It was a lot of making each other laugh. It’s funny, we just celebrated the show’s fifth anniversary on Broadway and we spent some time together in a room talking about what the next things might be and this sort of rhythm came back that felt very familiar of talking, laughing and then, all of a sudden, we’re all on our phones and someone says, “The next thing!” talking, laughing. It was this cool, familiar dynamic that reappeared.

Ken: So when you say talking about the next thing, the next thing for Mormon or the next show for the three of you?

Bobby: It was mostly just they were in town, we were having a party, we were doing some press for Australia and we wanted to have a creative session and see what would happen.

Ken: So you like to collaborate early with your fellow writers – what about directors? Do you like when they come in early? Do you like them to wait for a while? You worked with Jason on Q and Casey Nicholaw, of course.

Bobby: Directors are really important. I can’t say enough about Jason – we never really talk about him, about what he did with Avenue Q. Jason was the last of the four of us to come on board but he was the one to kind of marshal these forces that were like a train pulling in several different ways, like three locomotives, and he got us all going in the same direction towards a goal and, even though I would say the end product definitely reflected what we wanted, it was Jason who got it there because he was the one who knew where we should head and if he hadn’t come on pretty early we probably would have spun out. And the same thing with Casey, he really took Mormon in a way different direction than it had been going in. His influence was kind of huge. The perception of Mormon as this big, dancing traditional musical is a lot due to Casey’s work, I mean the dance arrangements and the dance breaks that he put in there and that Glenn put in, that Glenn wrote really, they all work with the comedy that we set up and a lot of the show became what it was in Casey’s workshop.

Ken: What do you think about the role of the producer on Broadway, in the development of new musicals? You’ve worked with some very different producers, from Kevin, Jeffrey and Robyn to Scott Rudin and now Disney, of course. What’s what like for you? What kind of support do you like? What’s a good producer to you?

Bobby: I’ve been really lucky. I think they’re all, in their way, the best that I’ve gotten to work with. My favorite dynamic is that they’re there when you need them, in the development anyway. That if you need a workshop or a reading they’re able to make it happen, that they’re able to challenge you to go beyond what you think is possible, they’re able to give notes but not force you to follow them to the letter, that they’ll understand if you try to hear the problem behind the note and address that they’re not prescriptive of how the plot will go or whatever and that they be brave, that they be risk takers. I think a lot of writers are risk takers, I know I’m a risk taker but I’m also profoundly conservative with my money – I could never write a check the way producers do on something challenging and something that could just be a waste of money, so I think it’s the risk taking, gambling, high risk, high reward attitude that they need to provide the bravery for. In terms of the different strengths and weaknesses, Rudin is so smart at story math and he’s so good at getting you to put in 150% and I think Jeffrey and Kevin know a lot about the soul of musical theatre, just having been there for Rent and Avenue Q and Hamilton and all of these amazing shows that they’ve done, they have a lot of wisdom about what makes a show, what makes a good original musical. Robyn too, she’s been there through so much of it. And you for Avenue Q and keeping Avenue Q going for an ungodly amount of time. It’s like Lord Voldemort Horcrux time, I don’t know how we’re doing it.

Ken: They’re grinding it out over there.

Bobby: Seriously.

Ken: I find it interesting, you say you don’t understand how producers can write a check or raise money because it’s so risky, but you don’t see any risk in creating something and putting it up in front of people and letting thousands of people judge it. Is that scary for you, the first time the curtain goes up on something that you’ve created?

Bobby: Yeah, it’s the scariest, it’s super scary, and I don’t mean to say that we’re not risk takers, I just mean risk takers as financial entities. I like my stuff to be where it is, I like to know how much I have, all of that stuff, I’m not a big better, but producers have to think, “Okay, if I risk this, so what? But if it comes back I can really get a lot out of it,” and that’s how they have to be. But yeah, it’s an emotional risk, it’s a risk of putting in a lot of time to something and maybe not seeing anything happen but it’s only yourself that you’re putting into it, it’s not your stuff. To me, the thing that I love about it, about Avenue Q and Mormon and Frozen is that we’ve put something together that really hasn’t been seen before and we don’t know how anyone is going to act because it’s never really been done before, and it’s almost like a weird social science experiment that you’re conducting and opening that first preview is really the test case. With The Book of Mormon it was so electric, it was so cool that no one knew what was in the show and the reaction we got I’ll just never forget how electric it was. The same thing with Avenue Q – people were not expecting it, and I love when something new kind of hits an audience. I’m also pacing in the back; with Avenue Q I was at the bar all the time, I’m not a big drinker but I was just always there during those months because I did not enjoy previews. We had a show this summer that was up here at La Jolla, that was just a tryout but it just put us through so much stress, the amount of just adrenaline and worry and fear that goes through you when you see your work up for the first time.

Ken: Are you a fast writer? Do you love to write? I’m sitting in your office that you have just to write – do you wake up, like, “I’m going to rush to the office!” Or are you a procrastinator?

Bobby: We can’t be procrastinators anymore because I write a lot now with Kristen, my wife, and we are basically together all the time but if we want to be working we have to use the hours that we have well, and we have a lot to do so we’ve turned into really 9 to 5, or 10 to 6, writers. We always think about it – we think about it in the shower, we think about it when we’re reading books, like, “Oh my God, I solved it!” or whatever. We even have a little notepad in the shower that is waterproof and there’s like a pencil that’s waterproof.

Ken: I have the same one. One of my staff members gave it to me.

Bobby: It’s useful.

Ken: It is very useful. It beats spraining and falling out of the shower. How is writing with your wife? My wife actually lives in Los Angeles so we don’t see each other, we see each other every couple of weeks. You guys live together, work together, raise kids together – how is that? Obviously it’s been successful.

Bobby: It’s been successful and I think it’s essential to who we are. I met her at BMI as well and we started dating first, before we started writing together but it quickly became part of who we were as a couple even though it wasn’t a major focus until, I would say, four years ago. What we share together, I think, as a result of both being waiters and writing together there’s just so much where we communicate so intimately about so many things during the day. We have the opposite problem of most married couples who are like ships passing in the night sometimes, they don’t see each other because one takes over when the other one gets a rest. We’re full in partners and it’s a lot of good and when things don’t get well – when we’re both up, it’s great, when one of us is up and one of us is down, that’s fine because the other one brings the other one up, but when we’re both down it can be challenging because then who’s going to bring us up? It just feels like everything has collapsed, but that’s been rare, we’ve been pretty lucky.

Ken: So let’s talk a little bit about Frozen and, of course, the big song, “Let It Go.” What I’m most curious about is when you finished that song, when you two were done, did you know what it would become? Were you like, “This is a good one. We’ve got a good one here; this is going to go far.”

Bobby: I think we did. Obviously you never know. You always have a good feeling about anything that you want to share with people, otherwise you wouldn’t want to share it with them, but we had this feeling of, “This is sort of a big song, a big emotional song that we weren’t expecting to get to write in this princess movie.” It was a change of pace for me, for sure, being able to write this kind of emo ballad that was about empowerment and doesn’t have much irony to it. It has little ironic moments and all of that but there’s nothing tongue in cheek about it and it was a first for me, actually. Thinking back, I really hadn’t gotten to write that kind of song ever. Even when I was a kid I would write these little ironic, sometimes poignant, wry, every adjective but empowered and baring one’s soul, so it was a fun change of pace for me and I knew that it was catchy and, basically, after that, it all came down to “Will the movie be good? Will the movie earn this moment?” And the answer for most of the time that we were working on the movie was “No.” Everyone recognized that it was a good song but no one bought it until really towards the end of the process of making Frozen.

Ken: How do you think Broadway is doing today? If it was a patient in a hospital, as I often say, would it be in critical condition, would it be doing well, ready for release?

Bobby: It seems like it’s not in the hospital to me. It seems like it’s put on its shoes and it is in its apartment. It’s fine. I think it’s great. Looking at Hamilton, I don’t remember a show in my entire life that has caused as much of a stir as Hamilton has and I think that Fun Home is equally as exciting, although to me I feel like Hamilton seems to have covered up the excitement that is Fun Home too. I found that show so moving and so different. I think of them both as real pillars of this new age of Broadway.

Ken: Looking at all the songs that you’ve written – I’m going to ask a very dark question now – if you had to put on in a time capsule, as if the world was going to be destroyed tomorrow but this would exist for future generations to see, which of your songs would you put in? This is a derivative of the Smithsonian question I used to have – I’ve shaken it up. Which songs of yours would you put in there?

Bobby: Gee, I don’t know. There’s a song that hasn’t come out yet and I can’t even tell you what it’s in.

Ken: We won’t tell anybody.

Bobby: Just the thousands of subscribers! It’s a song that no one’s heard yet and that makes me happy, that I still have something. Kris and I wrote it right around the same time that we wrote “Let It Go” but it won’t come out until next year so I have that to look forward to.

Ken: Do you get writer’s block? Do you get stuck like that and think “Oh God, I don’t know if I can do another ‘Let It Go’. I don’t have another big one in me?”

Bobby: Yeah, all the time. That’s a constant dialogue that you’re having with yourself, “I don’t know if I can do it again. What if I never write another good one?” etc. But you evolve routines and habits and therapy and just talking and I think the more you write in a routine the less that seems to be a problem. I think a lot of people have said that too.

Ken: Your favorite song that you haven’t written? This is a question that Sondheim was famously asked.

Bobby: I wrote a song called “I Wish That I Had Written Something Sondheim Wished He’d Written.” Kristen and I wrote it for the Roundabout 80th birthday concert; that’s a good song. I don’t know, let’s see. Gee, that’s too much pressure. Even Sondheim realized there was a lot of destruction spread by that list. Oh, you know what? “God Only Knows” by Brian Wilson. That’s the best.

Ken: Do you think it’s easier today for new writers to break into this business or harder?

Bobby: I think it’s good. I mean I think it’s hard, it’s never been easy, but I think there is more attention being paid to musicals than I can remember in my lifetime. When I was graduating not a lot of people were banging down anyone’s door to write anything, certainly not mine, and there was also this feeling of “Oh, Broadway’s a little dusty,” and now there’s this feeling of freshness, this youthful thing, and young people are doing it so I feel like it can’t have gotten any harder because there are more opportunities and there’s more belief that the form can show fresh things, so I’m going to say it’s easier. I don’t know, it’s easier for me than it used to me!

Ken: When I came in the door here I said, “Oh, it’s been a long day for you,” and you were like “Yeah, I was working and then I went back to have dinner with my kid.” You have two children, right?

Bobby: Yeah, two daughters.

Ken: How do you juggle family with all of this?

Bobby: A lot of help, a lot of support, and also the best wife and mom ever. It would all collapse without her. I do stuff but I’m playing a supporting role compared to what she does. She’s got the Matrix in her mind, she’s plugged into it, and we have great caregivers, we have this great school – this wonderful school that the girls are in – and great family, and it’s so hard, it’s still really hard.

Ken: How old are the kids now?

Bobby: They’re 10 and 6.

Ken: Was Frozen the first show of yours that they were actually allowed to see because of the material in Q and Mormon?

Bobby: I think Winnie the Pooh would be closer to that because that came out earlier, but when I thought Avenue Q was closing on Broadway forever I brought Katie, who was then 4, to see it, and the funny thing was I kept taking her out, bringing her back, taking her out, bringing her back, and then for Act 2 I just sat there with her and watched the whole thing and realized “That’s what’s wrong with Act 2!”

Ken: I love it. So what’s next? Obviously Frozen is now coming to Broadway, you told me earlier that there’s something you’re working on right now – is that the only thing you’re doing right now? What’s next for you?

Bobby: There’s stuff we can’t talk about. We’re also doing Gigantic, which is a movie that was announced for Disney, it’s a Jack and the Beanstalk retelling, it’s a musical like Frozen, and we’re doing Frozen 2 and then there’s another thing we’re doing but really what we have to focus on right now, with the scheduled that’s been handed to us by Disney, is Frozen Broadway, and I didn’t quite realize what a huge undertaking that would be because, first of all, we’ve been talking about it for a couple of years but we only really started writing songs in September and we basically have to have them all done by tomorrow. Tomorrow is kind of our last day – everything needs to be drafted – and in the back of my mind, when they started talking about Frozen Broadway I thought “Three songs, five songs maybe. What would it need?” And then, when we got into it, and if you look at The Lion King for example, you can count on your hands how many songs they have in them – it’s usually between five and ten. It’s never ten, it’s really less than ten. On Broadway, I always thought “It’s more like fifteen songs on Broadway.” It’s really more like twenty, so 20-22, counting the little ones and the big ones and the reprises and all of that. It’s a far more musical medium, the stage, than cartoon musical fantasy adventure because you don’t have the benefit of close-ups or action on stage so much. On stage you’re really talking about emotion, stories told through song and emotion, and while the plot is happening information is not as important, events are not as important on stage – they jump over a big ravine and something important falls into the ravine, that’s not really something that registers on stage. People travelling on stage doesn’t really register as much as it does in a movie, where you believe they’re traveling. So so much of what we’re doing is taking cinematic moments and turning them into songs, basically, and communicating the same story through songs, and it’s a lot of songs, 15 songs or 12 songs, something like that, depending on how you count. Frozen only has seven.

Ken: See, that’s so interesting, because I think for me and most people out there, we’re like “Oh, they’re doing Frozen on Broadway. They’re just going to put it up. It will be done in a month, why are they waiting a year?”

Bobby: They’re doing Frozen at Disneyland, at the Hyperion Theatre in Disneyland. We’re not writing anything for that, but the show only needs to be 45-50 minutes or something like that, and we watched it and they didn’t omit anything we wrote, all the songs were in it, and it was a beautiful, cozy 45 minute perfect 45 minutes and we realized “Holy shit, we have a lot of stuff to write!”

Ken: I love it. Okay, my last question, which is my big James Lipton question of the podcast. You ready?

Bobby: Okay.

Ken: I want you to imagine that the genie from Aladdin comes to your office here, knocks on the door and says, “Look, we’re all part of the Disney family. I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for us and for musical theatre and I want to grant you a wish.”

Bobby: I wish for more wishes.

Ken: You can’t wish for more wishes. Nice try.

Bobby: Aw, dammit.

Ken: What’s the one thing about Broadway – or for you I’ll even widen it to the entertainment industry, because you work so often on both coasts now – what’s the one thing that drives you so crazy, that makes you angry – you are one of the nicest and sweetest guys I’ve met and know, when I hear about your collaborative process I am not surprised because you’re such a nice and genial guy – what makes you mad and keeps you up at night that you wish this genie would change with the snap of a finger?

Bobby: You know, I don’t think about that stuff. I think it’s something new that I never really quite felt before but I’ve realized, I think a lot of people have been realizing lately, and it’s just representation. I never realized – I grew up, I’m part Filipino, I was not raised as ethnically different, I was assimilated, basically, and to me, normal America, a story would be about a white person. I would change that. Having daughters and having written Frozen I learned, just from the response to that, how much my experience as a man has been affected by the white male privilege of our society and how insidious it is on a very basic level, it’s like the lens we see the world through. Of course men run it, of course, that’s just the way it is. I would change that, I would want the stories that we see to reflect all the stories that are out there.

Ken: It’s a great answer. I want to thank you for that answer and congratulate you on all the success and for taking time out of your busy, busy day to spend it with us. I’m going to announce our next guest but we’re doing to announce it in a different way – we’re going to play a little game. Are you ready? Do you want to play this game?

Bobby: Yeah.

Ken: It’s the riddle. First of all, I will tell you, with all of the guests we are doing a little six degrees of separation, so you are connected to the next guest. Now finish this riddle – ready? Here you go – all of you out there, are you ready for it? He’s press repped 400 Broadway shows, from Book of Mormon to Sunset Boulevard to Anything Goes. Originally from London town my next guest is?

Bobby: Chris Boneau?

Ken: Adrian Bryan-Brown. His partner. You’re good, don’t worry about it.

Bobby: I had no idea.

Ken: Thank you so much for this, Bobby, and best of luck with Frozen and Frozen 2. Thanks so much for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time.

Ken: Don’t forget – next Wednesday, April 6th, How to Sell Tickets with Social Media: The Webinar. 7pm eastern time. Get all of the information at TheProducersPerspective.com and join The Producer’s Perspective Pro and you can take this webinar for free.

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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.