Podcast Episode 82 Transcript – Steven Pasquale

Ken: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the Producer’s Perspective Podcast. We’ve done over eighty of these podcasts since we began in January of 2015. We’ve had Tony Award-winning directors, Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, we’ve even had the chief drama critic for the New York Times, but there’s one group that’s been seriously under-represented here on the podcast and that is the actor. So it’s time to give some attention to the folks in front of the footlights and what an actor we have today. Welcome to the podcast Broadway’s own Steven Pasquale. Welcome, Steven!

Steven: Thanks, man. Thanks for having me.

Ken: So Steven is one of the most in-demand leading men on Broadway. He sang the crap out of the lead in The Bridges of Madison County. He just finished up an acclaimed run of The Robber Bridegroom off-Broadway, where he won a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actor in a Musical – congratulations!

Steven: Thank you very much.

Ken: Also seen in the concert version of Wild Party last year, which was one of my favorite theatrical events of the last twelve months. Also Reasons to Be Pretty, A Man of No Importance, and a host of others. He took a little break from Broadway – and broke a lot of Broadway casting directors’ hearts – when he went to Hollywood, where he starred in the seven seasons of Rescue Me. He’s done a host of TV and film. Steven, when did you get bit by the acting bug? Where did all of this begin for you?

Steven: I was a late bloomer. I sort of caught the bug, I would say, junior year in high school. I got hurt playing football and had to sit out for quite a while and I did the fall play, which was Fame, the musical. What a rendition that high school production of Fame was.

Ken: Who were you?

Steven: I played Tyrone, the black kid dancing his way to the top of the Big Apple. It was the worst thing you’ve ever seen. Zero percent of anyone who saw it would think “This person has a chance at being a professional actor.”

Ken: Is there video tape?

Steven: There is video tape.

Ken: Can you send it to us?

Steven: But it requires a ton of whisky and dares. It’s not something I’m willing to share, really, ever, but it’s pretty priceless if you get a look. Then, that summer, I went away to the Cherub program at Northwestern, which is a very competitive summer training program for kids who are going into their senior year at high school, and that’s when I was around a bunch of other kids who loved it and were good at it and I would say I caught the bug for sure that summer between junior and senior year in high school.

Ken: And then did you just decide “That’s it, I’m dedicating my life to this. Forget football, forget sports. I’m going to go to college for this?”

Steven: Yeah. I was never a good enough athlete to make my life out of it but I thought it would pay for college. But I really fell in love with acting and the theatre community so, yeah, once the bug bit me I found myself with a really one-track mind at that point, going forward.

Ken: Where did you go to school?

Steven: I went briefly to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, for a semester, and then I found Dallas to be challenging. I was in the process of transferring to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and I went to New York on a whim and I had an audition for a national touring company production of West Side Story and I booked it – I booked the Tony understudy and the little known, non-dancing Jet named Gee-Tar – and I went out on the road with West Side Story for about a year.

Ken: So where did you train? Were you just a natural gifted actor/singer?

Steven: I am a good mimic so I would sing along in the car to Billy Joel and Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder and eventually Mandy Patinkin and then Anthony Warlow who, for me, is, pound for pound, the greatest legit singer in the world, and that’s really how I learned to sing, was mimicking those guys, and, you know, if it ain’t broke…

Ken: So you went on the road for a while, then you got back here to New York.

Steven: I went on the road with West Side Story for about a year and then a couple of us came in on a Monday when we were in Wilmington, Delaware or some cultural hub and we came in for a bunch of auditions that day and I auditioned to play Chris in Miss Saigon and I booked the job so I went out on the road with Miss Saigon for almost three years – I played Miss Saigon almost 1,200 times.

Ken: Why, God, why?

Steven: It was super challenging, amazing, I saw fifty American cities, I learned how to maintain a performance, I learned how to not go crazy after doing the same show for six months, it was a completely formative experience.

Ken: So let’s talk about that for a second – how do you not go crazy doing the same role in the same show? Because a lot of people think “Oh, acting on Broadway, it’s so exciting!” but it’s an assembly line performance.

Steven: It is so hard. It is the hardest thing about being a Broadway actor. Now, I’ve worked, mostly, in my life as an artist, off-Broadway, where I feel like the best work is being done, but your contract is four months, three months, five months, so by the end of that you feel like you really haven’t hit that moment that you hit in a long run, whether you’re on tour or on Broadway, which for me is about six months in, where you’re like “Wow, how am I going to do this every day?” The repetition of movement and motion is so challenging it makes your brain kind of feel a little bit crazy. It’s the hardest thing, I would say without question, about a long run, maintaining the performance without feeling a little bit, within the performance, like you’re going crazy. It’s interesting – William Goldman talks about it a lot in The Season, how, especially in a comedy, it’s hard for a director to come back after four or five months when he’s directed a comedy because the only way to keep yourself from going crazy is to change things up a little bit and the director ends up coming back and having to pull everybody back or push them one way or the other because the idea of maintaining something and honoring what you’ve built in rehearsal but being free enough that you don’t go crazy is the balance. That’s really hard.

Ken: Now that I think about it, it’s even harder for a musical. With a play, you’re doing Reasons to Be Pretty and someone can go a little off rhythm or do something different and it spices it up, but a musical is to rhythm, to beat, to note.

Steven: Yeah, there’s a literal, actual metronome that you honor when you do a musical. It’s really hard. I don’t even think there’s a way to properly articulate it but people who can do long runs successfully are really high skilled actors and have an amazing fortitude in their brains.

Ken: Any specific things you do when you’re doing it, to keep it fresh?

Steven: I feel like there’s three schools of acting – there’s the robot school, which is you build this thing and then you honor it exactly every night, good or bad, and you literally just try to always recreate the exact thing you built, and then there’s going crazy and trying to change it up so much that it always feels fresh and new, which is also, I think, challenging, because if you subscribe to that school you can really throw the other people you’re working with. So I find, for me, somewhere in the middle is a happy medium, where you’re honoring what you built in rehearsal but feeling free enough to occasionally build in a new moment or change some timing up as long as it feels copacetic within the company.

Ken: So you’re collecting all of this per diem all over the country.

Steven: Oh my God, 19 years old and one of the last great tours. I think we made $850 week per diem.

Ken: And you were sitting down.

Steven: Sit down tours, they would ship our car from city to city, we had nice hotels, it was a good living. Of course my issue was I had moved to New York with all of this money in the bank thinking “Well, I’ve had two auditions, I’ve got two jobs, this will be easy,” and I got to New York and didn’t book a job for a year and a half, spent every tour dollar I saved, didn’t buy an apartment, didn’t do any investing, just foolish, young artist, lesson learned. I could have invested in a Broadway show, Ken!

Ken: You could have invested, in those days, in Aspects of Love or something.

Steven: Yeah, exactly.

Ken: You didn’t do it in New York?

Steven: I never did it in New York, Peter Lawrence, even though I was here and totally unemployed and running out of money.

Ken: I just interviewed Peter Lawrence on the podcast.

Steven: Did you? Oh, interesting…

Ken: So what was the first job you booked here in New York after that year and a half drought?

Steven: Well I had this amazing, sort of humbling thing. You know, when you come to New York people don’t know you so people have to get to know you a little bit, so I was getting close to a lot of things and people thought “Oh, he’s really great but who is he? He’s been on the road for four years,” and so I booked my first job, which was to standby for Brian d’Arcy James in the off-Broadway Wild Party, Andrew Lippa’s Wild Party, almost fifteen months after I’d moved to New York, sixteen months, so at that point I was like “Oh my gosh, okay, I’m finally a working actor.” I had come from making all of this tour money with per diem and a high salary and then I get to New York where this really amazing musical is happening off-Broadway and I’m realizing “Oh, I’ve got to live on $500 a week. This is different. New York is different, it’s a new game.”

Ken: So you said no one knew you – do you find that actors have to market themselves, other than just doing what you do?

Steven: No, I think if you’re good at it and you’re in New York you’re going to be okay, but I do oftentimes have conversations with young actors who say “I got this job on tour, should I take it or not?” and I always say “Look, a tour is where you go to make money and save money but nobody in New York is going to go and see you in it,” so it’s about do you want to be here and in the grind and letting people get to know you, but you’re broke, but maybe it will work out for you because you’ll book a great job, or do you want to go on tour and save some money, give yourself a little freedom, economically? It’s always about freedom versus security, artistically, in my mind, and so that’s the advice I give young actors often.

Ken: Okay, so when does Rescue Me come into the equation here?

Steven: What did I do? I understudied Brain d’Arcy James and then a great thing happened to me – Dan Sullivan cast me in Spinning Into Butter, which is this wonderful Rebecca Gilman play, at Lincoln Center. Really high quality, great people, and it took me out of the casting pool of people who are just thought of as singers and so people started to think of me as an actor and I don’t think he realized I sang and so I spent many years, really, before I worked my way back into doing musicals on a regular basis. So I did that play, I did a tiny part in a movie called Vanilla Sky that I got cut out of, I realized at the premiere. My first on-camera job ever was Six Feet Under, I played Michael C. Hall’s love interest in season one of Six Feet Under. I just kicked around. I went to Sundance and I worked on very early productions of The Light in the Piazza, which is how Adam Guettel came into my life and we’ve had a long standing creative love affair for many years. Then I got back to New York and I did a musical called Man of No Importance at Lincoln Center with the great Roger Rees, RIP, and all those amazing creators – Joe Mantello, Terrence McNally, Ahrens and Flaherty, and people started to take notice of me a little bit at that point. I had that classic thing of being dropped by an agent and a manager and being picked up by another agent and a manager.

Ken: A better one, I’m sure.

Steven: Oh, much better, at that point, and then I was sort of off to the races – they had me running around town auditioning for really quality things and I booked Rescue Me when I was 25, which shot here, actually, not in LA, so I spent six months out of the year in my late 20s shooting a hit cable, well-written, New York-shot television series. It was pretty dreamy at the time.

Ken: So before we get into that, first of all, everyone should go and download the Man of No Importance recording just to hear “Streets of Dublin.”

Steven: Thank you.

Ken: Was it hard, though? Here you are, a theatre kid, you got bit by the bug right before your senior year, then you’re out for television which is going to pretty much prevent you from being the theatre actor that you set out to be. What was that like for you?

Steven: It was challenging. I moved to New York with dreams of being a Broadway guy, starring in Broadway shows, and because of the cable schedule I could never commit – at minimum you’ve got to commit 9-12 months to be in a Broadway show and I could never commit more than five or six. So I did do a play – I’ve never gone a year without doing a play in New York – but they were always small plays – off-Broadway plays or off-off-Broadway plays – to get my theatre fix through those seven years, but I missed out on some pretty spectacular opportunities to say the least.

Ken: Piazza being one.

Steven: Piazza, yes. South Pacific, Awake and Sing, Assassins, really good things that would have been an enormous amount of fun but I can’t complain, I bought an apartment. I know a lot of actors who don’t find themselves in that lucky scenario.

Ken: The difference between acting on Broadway versus acting in front of a camera, for you?

Steven: For me, totally different. A similar skill but a totally different skill. The camera doesn’t lie so it is all about this believable behavior and so, so small, and in a theatre you’ve got to honor that but also fill the space physically and vocally, etc. A very different set of muscles, in my experience.

Ken: How do you prepare for an audition?

Steven: I have a freakishly good memory, which is a weird thing about me, so I’ve never understood a lot of the actors’ stress about “What do I do? Do I hold the page; do I not hold the page?” I generally just look at something and can memorize it very quickly but that’s one thing I do, is I memorize it, because I don’t want them to see me fumbling with the page and looking at the words and I know a lot of actors think you want to remind the people that you’re not a finished product but, at the end of the day, they’re comparing you to ten or twenty or fifty other people so I feel like as close as you can get to performance-ready is the best thing. Now, that being said, auditioning is the worst experience in the world. It’s the worst thing about being an actor, especially in the TV and film world where you have a page or two or three lines of dialogue to book a job or not. At least in the theatre you have an opportunity to play a scene and sing a song, etc. It is a horrible part of the process and I am so grateful to not do it anymore.

Ken: Do you think it’s harder for an actor to start today than it was ten years ago, twenty years ago?

Steven: That’s a really good question. Last year there were 437 scripted television shows so there’s really quality TV out there – TV is the medium, now, that’s making the best on camera work – movies stink, generally, and there’s only like twenty actors that are allowed to be in movies so there is this huge landscape of television work out there. I think that’s great, compared to twenty years ago when there was just CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox.  So there’s more work on the TV side. If you have Broadway fantasies, I think it’s probably a lot more frustrating because we’ve really become a celebrity-driven landscape here in New York. I think it’s rarer when you get to experience being in a Broadway show without having some television or film clout already behind you. I think that part is probably harder so maybe a balance.

Ken: Alright, one of my James Lipton questions.

Steven: Oh God!

Ken: If you could put one, only one, of your performances in a time capsule for future generations to know you as an actor, what would the one performance be?

Steven: Wow, that’s a great question. You know what, I did Carousel last spring at the Lyric Opera in Chicago with Laura Osnes and some amazing people, and people have told me my whole career that I should play Billy Bigelow and I finally did. I didn’t know Carousel other than the songs and it’s the most extraordinary book and story and so ahead of its time, completely complicated, and I actually felt like it was written exactly for my skill set. I was in the throes of playing the part, thinking to myself “Boy, it’s as if they tailor-made this role for my skill set.” So for me it would be that, I think.

Ken: When you’re deciding whether to take a role or not, what’s the most important part of it? Is it the piece itself, is it the director, is it the other actors? What do you look at when you make these decisions? Because you got thrown a lot of things these days, right?

Steven: I do, it’s a really challenging but the most fun part of my current work life, which is choosing the right thing as opposed to just being desperate to ask somebody to ask you to be in their thing, which is a very different set of challenges. For me, there’s always a pie chart about the economics of it, like can I afford to do it, economically? Is it a good job, economically? Can I take care of my family, my mortgage, my kids in college, that kind of stuff? And then of course there’s what is the project, who wrote it, who’s directing it, where is it taking place? For me, if it’s not in New York I generally don’t look at it. So those two things often aren’t shared so for me it’s always a balance between trying to turn on the income faucet a little if it’s a television situation so that I can afford to do a piece of theatre that I think is really quality in terms of writing, directing, where it’s being done, etc.

Ken: So you’ve done a lot of new shows in your career, like Sundance for example, The Light in the Piazza, where you’ve gotten involved very early on, right?

Steven: Super early, yeah.

Ken: Do you like, as an actor, getting in really early?

Steven: Yeah, I love it, especially if you’re around good people. That early company of The Light in the Piazza was Adam Guettel and Vicky Clark and Celia Keenan-Bolger and Kelli O’Hara and Mark Harelik and Bart Sher and Craig Lucas – these are like theatre all-stars – and we all became fast friends because we were drawn to Adam Guettel’s music. So being around the people who are the best theatre makers in the world is really exciting to me. That would be the most important deciding factor for me in choosing something.

Ken: This is obviously a big topic these days but what do you think the role of the actor is in the development of a new piece at that stage? Like how much do you as an actor say “You know, I just don’t feel this is the right thing for me to say as this character right now; I feel it’s this – can we talk about this?” Is that appropriate? Is that definitely what actors should do? What do you think?

Steven: I think it depends on the circumstances but in my experience, yeah, an actor is entirely essential in the development of a new work. We enter a room with a completely open spirit of collaboration because that’s how we’re built so, yeah, if you’re asking me, I think actors are essential in the developmental process and I think the value that they contribute to the piece lasts for the life of the piece, not just the time that they’re there, which is very different than an actor who just comes in and plays a role that’s already been built later on in the life of a show. I’m really passionate about that. The things that I work on, I see my work in the productions that happen with it elsewhere. I see it in my work; it’s tangible.

Ken: Like in additional productions?

Steven: Yeah, like the tours or when somebody comes in after. It’s a really interesting conversation that we’re all having in our community about this, but I think I would definitely count myself in the category of artist who feels like his contribution in the developmental phase is essential in the life of that piece.

Ken: Let’s talk specifically about this because obviously the Hamilton issue that’s come up over the last year, about the actors wanting to get a piece of the enormous amount of profit because they’ve been involved with the development for such a long period of time.

Steven: Sure, yeah.

Ken: What do you think is the appropriate way to do this? Obviously we’ve had a mechanism in place, a workshop contract, which is so rarely used so producers started using the lab contract with no profit but more weekly and health and all of that stuff. What do you think is the core of this issue and how do we fix it, Steven?

Steven: Well, let’s fix it, you and I, right now, right?

Ken: Done!

Steven: Producer and artist in this very room.

Ken: Great.

Steven: I think ultimately the solution will be a different language than what currently exists. I think the current template is a little unpalatable for our producer brothers and sisters. I think the current language states that if an actor is in development in a “workshop” they would receive 1% of the gross. I believe that we should protect the producer’s right to do anything they want with regard to future workshops – replace an actor, do a new thing, have a part go away, have a part grow – without the current penalties, which I think are actually more of an issue than cutting an actor in on the percentage. I’m a person who advocates – and this is just me; I know my union is very split about this – I would say the idea of windfall is when we need to be really aware of the issue. Once a show recoups and it’s making money, that’s when you pay the people who helped you build the show. I wouldn’t ask my producer brothers and sisters to pay a percentage of the gross weekly but if something is windfall success – you know, Book of Mormon, The Lion King, Hamilton, Wicked, these shows make tons of money, those actors were essential in building it, so I’m an advocate of it. But I actually think what’s more challenging for our producer friends is less that – if it was about percentage of net profit when there’s tons coming in, that’s less of an issue – than it is the penalty in replacing an actor or having a part be rewritten or go away or whatever. I think currently you have to pay four weeks of a production contract salary, maturance weeks. That, to me, is where I think we can get creative and make the penalty less severe, because with my producer hat on I would, of course, want the ability to workshop the hell out of something without being obligated to anyone, but the union member in me would say “Alright, but if I am helping you develop something for, let’s say, six or eight weeks or more…” at that point maybe that, for me, would be the threshold where I would get included in that 1% of net profits beyond recoupment – which, let’s be honest, doesn’t happen that often.

Ken: Yeah, it doesn’t, and, look, my producer peers would probably get upset at me for saying this but I am big believer in the fact that, if we have recouped and the investors are making money, then why not kick a little back to the people that have their fingerprints actually on the piece itself. I’m glad you brought it up – the issue for me has always been the first right of refusal for folks when we’re developing something and we just don’t know what it is yet. If we get rid of a director, which happens all the time, if we cut a role, to be obligated to these folks going forward, it can add a huge amount of money to the capitalization, which reduces the chances of recouping in the first place.

Steven: Yeah, I don’t know how my fellow union members feel about it but I agree with you. I think first right of refusal and the penalty is a tough pill to swallow, which is why we’ve gotten away from the workshop contract and into these lab and special agreement contracts. I think the solution is everyone would have a more buttoned-up, vested, ball-busting, ass-kicking approach to being in a workshop if you felt like you needed to do your best to be asked back and to be a part of it at the next phase, etc., as opposed to the first right of refusal and the four-week penalty, etc. The producer in me would feel like that’s just costly and hinders the developmental process.

Ken: What do you think about this idea – I blogged about this one – say you’re an actor and I go to you, because part of the lab was created to give actors a little bit higher of a weekly salary than the workshop, you gave up the percentage but you got a higher ‘livable’ weekly salary?

Steven: For those weeks, right.

Ken: What if somebody came to you and said “Look, I’ll give you an option for the higher salary but you don’t get profit or you can take a lower salary and you get profit?”

Steven: That would be great, right? You leave it up to the artist to choose – that would be great, I think. You’d get a lot of people, like the TV/film world, where if you really believe in the project and you think there’s going to be some profit then choose that and if you feel “Well it’s just about these four weeks because I don’t know if I’m right for this part or if I’m going to do a good job in it,” then I’ll take the extra few hundred bucks a week. I think that would be a really interesting experiment.

Ken: And this is an issue you’re involved with, right?

Steven: Yeah, I’m passionate about it within my union and we’re all talking about it a lot, actually, on 46th Street.

Ken: Well I think we just solved it.

Steven: I mean, come on, net profit. The current language is not palatable; the new language is post-recoupment. Upon the first profitable dollar, that’s when everyone starts to participate.

Ken: Done! We’ll sign it right now.

Steven: Great.

Ken: Are there any myths about actors that you wish you could dispel?

Steven: Yeah – most actors are crazy but not all actors are crazy. That is definitely a myth that is 91% true but nine out of a hundred are not crazy.

Ken: If you could get every single producer in town in a room and you could say one thing that you would want them all to know about actors to make us all work together a little better, what would it be?

Steven: Oh, God, feed us! You know what I mean? Bagel Sunday would go such a long way.

Ken: Really?

Steven: Oh my God, are you kidding me? Actors are like coyotes. If there’s food and somebody took care of it for us we’re the most grateful creatures on Earth.

Ken: It’s the little things.

Steven: It’s the little things, it really is.

Ken: How do you think Broadway is doing these days, overall?

Steven: I have complicated feelings about this. I think Hamilton, I think The Great Comet, I think Spring Awakening last season, I think some of the stuff that’s happening is extraordinarily great and absolutely qualifies as the best theatre in the world but I do think that a lot of them come from the not for profit world and that’s a little tricky when you’re an actor because what you have fantasies of is being a Broadway actor, you’ve got to commit an enormous amount of time and effort to working way below the poverty line off-Broadway in the hopes of making a nice Broadway salary and being a Broadway guy. I think we have to be careful, going forward, that we challenge our audiences and not reduce them or Broadway will not be the place where the greatest theatre in the world happens and I think we’re certainly there lately but it’s a balance that we will always have to make sure that we’re careful about, you and me.

Ken: We’ve got to fix something else!

Steven: Yeah.

Ken: You’re obviously a theatre guy that went out to Hollywood, you do both now.

Steven: I actually never went out to Hollywood. I’ve been a New York actor since day one.

Ken: The whole time?

Steven: Never been there, except I took one job this summer – I did the OJ Simpson miniseries and that’s the most time I’ve ever spent in LA.

Ken: It’s quite acclaimed, that miniseries.

Steven: Oh yeah, people love it. People are really passionate about it.

Ken: So you started here and then pursued TV/film – you do both now, which is fantastic – what do you think about all of those TV/film actors that now come here and dabble in the stage?

Steven: I love it if they’re good and I hate it when they stink.

Ken: Who was bad? Tell us!

Steven: Oh God, I’m not going to name names but you think of great television actors like Bradley Whitford and Alison Janney – basically anyone on The West Wing – they come and do plays and they’re amazing and I want to buy tickets and watch them like everybody else, but occasionally we’ll hire a super famous person who we know will sell tickets and we know will not help the play be fully realized and we don’t care because the bottom line is the thing and I think that’s what I would like to see less of but I get how the economy works.

Ken: Was Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky?

Steven: Tom Cruise was in Vanilla Sky.

Ken: If Tom Cruise comes to you and says “I’m thinking about doing a Broadway show…”

Steven: He might be good.

Ken: I actually think he might be good.

Steven: I think he would be pretty good. Yeah, he could.

Ken: But what would you say to him? What would your piece of advice be?

Steven: I’d say “Where can I invest?” That would be my first.

Ken: Touché.

Steven: Don’t forget I can easily slip on the producer hat. If Tom Cruise has a play and he’s talking to me about it, I want to invest a little bit of money.

Ken: Would you ever produce?

Steven: Yeah, totally.

Ken: What would you produce?

Steven: I would get in bed with an artist that I feel passionate about. I mean Adam Guettel, Jason Robert Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt. I’m passionate about artists.

Ken: Okay, my last question. I want you to imagine the genie from Aladdin comes to see you and thanks you for all the great work you’ve done on Broadway and being an advocate for the artist as well and says “Steven, I want to thank you by granting you one wish.”

Steven: Oh, Jesus.

Ken: I haven’t even gotten to the question yet.

Steven: Oh my God, I know. I wish for three more wishes!

Ken: No more. Tim Rice tried that. His statement is this – what is the one thing that drives you so crazy about Broadway, that makes you angry, that makes you pound your fists on the table, that keeps you up at night, that you would ask this genie to wish away with the snap of his fingers? One thing.

Steven: I would like the magic genie to always make sure that the commercial aspect and the artistic aspect are striving for the same thing. An impossible task but maybe.

Ken: What’s the best way we can do that? From your perspective – you’ve been in a lot of shows, some have worked, some have not, unfortunately The Bridges of Madison County, which is one of mine, unfortunately had a much more abbreviated run than it should have had. From your perspective, when you’re standing on that stage, can you ever see “This isn’t going right…”

Steven: No, I think things, like Bridges didn’t succeed economically but was wildly successful artistically so I guess the challenge is how do we make sure that the things that people think are good succeed and if we’re only relying on the tourist dollar – and I think 70% of ticket buyers are tourists right now – I think it provides a real challenge. I think we have to appeal to our city and people who love good theatre maybe more than we are currently. What do you think of that?

Ken: I like it.

Steven: I do too.

Ken: Thank you so much for spending time with us today.

Steven: Thank you, Ken Davenport!

Ken: Thank you for continuing to do Broadway – you’re going to keep doing stuff here, right?

Steven: Yeah, I’m looking for something in the spring. What have you got?

Ken: Alright, we’re going to go off the record now so I’ve got to say goodbye to all of you. Thanks so much for tuning in and we’ll see you next time!


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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.