Why I’m producing It’s Only A Play on Broadway.

A bunch of years ago I looked into commissioning a playwright to write a backstage comedy about the business of Broadway.

More specifically,  I wanted this play set at a Broadway ad meeting . . . over the course of the production of a Broadway show.   So you’d meet all the crazy characters that it took to put on a show . . . from the Producers to the Investors to the Director to the Mad Men-like Ad Men and so on . . . starting from the first ad meeting and following them through to the first preview ad meeting and finally to the, gulp, day-after-0pening meeting when the reviews are in!

Fun, right?

Well, I never did find someone to write it, thank goodness, because I stumbled upon a much “funner” idea.

When I was talking about this idea of mine last fall, a former staffer of mine said, “Hey, Ken, have you ever read Terrence McNally’s It’s Only A Play?

She had me at Terrence McNally.

I ran to the Drama Book Shop to get a copy of the play (ok, that’s an exaggeration – I had an intern run to the Drama Book Shop but I paid her a bonus in the form of a Starbucks frappuccino for the extra hustle).

I was two pages in, and about twenty laughs in, when I realized that Terrence had already written the backstage comedy about the business of Broadway that I was looking for . . . but, well, he had a much better idea than mine (shocking!).  He set his at the opening night party (it’s an ad meeting . . . with booze!).

And this play was fuuuuuuuuuunny.

I reached out to Terrence and his Producer, Tom Kirdahy, and wouldn’t you know it, Terrence had already done a revised version with tons of brand new topical theatrical references (I won’t ruin the “skewering” surprises here but you’re gonna love ’em) . . . and they were just starting to talk about bringing it to Broadway.

I begged like a puppy dog in front of a basket of brisket to get on the show, and they obliged.

And the next thing you know, we’ve got Jack O’Brien directing, and it’s like a monster constellation there are so many stars:  F. Murray Abraham, Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally and a couple more that we can’t even talk about yet.

(Oh – it also stars this terrific newcomer named Micah Stock who I saw in McNally’s And Away We Go at The Pearl.  Interesting fact – Micah is the only actor in the show with an active Twitter account.  He currently has 165 followers.  Anyone want to take bets on how many he has by closing night?  🙂  Follow him here.)

News about the show started to leak out a few weeks ago, and on Monday night, Megan Mullally mentioned her involvement on Seth Meyers (see the interview here).

But we’re officially announcing today, and officially putting tickets on sale (American Express cardholders and group sales only for a couple of weeks).  You can get ’em here.

And, well, I know this sounds like marketing-speak, but you should get ’em fast.  They’re going to go.  We’ve only got 18 weeks, and how many times in your lifetime do you think you’re going to get an opportunity to see a cast like this, doing a comedy like this?

And that brings me to the ultimate reason why I’m producing it.

I produce stuff I want to see.  Badly.  Stuff that I’d pay premium tickets for.

And boy oh boy would I be at the first preview for this one.

And then I’d come back halfway through the run to see what shenanigans these comedians have come up with.

See you there!


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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.