Sometime before the pandemic, I auditioned for a small off-Broadway production of the Lerner and Loewe musical The Day Before Spring. It was at the York Theater, which is known for reviving or refreshing older musicals that may not be done very much. I wasn’t cast in that particular production, and like most failed auditions I put it out of my mind as soon as it was done. But I do remember the director behind the table, and so I finally reached out to bring him onto the podcast.
Marc Acito is a playwright, novelist, and director. He talks about the work that he does in adapting older shows or contemporary works, bringing fresh set of eyes and perspective to creative process. Marc is also a writer of his own work from plays like Bastard Jones and novels including How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship and Musical Theater to short films like Mad/Woman. And through each of these mediums, he’s had his stumbles and failures, but he’d be the first to tell you how grateful he is for those lessons learned.
Storm Large mostly writes about two subjects: female empowerment and mental illness. Applying her songs to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's feminist classic "The Yellow Wallpaper" felt as if they were written for the material. Storm and I bonded in 2007 over the shared experiences of being just commercial enough for everyone to wonder why we weren't more successful and just alternative enough to sabotage ourselves. Perhaps not coincidentally, we both survived mentally ill mothers. At least twice mine woke up in a pool of her own blood after being beaten senseless by a raging boyfriend.
Because I wanted to create a subjective experience as liberated from the male gaze as possible, hiring an all-female crew proved essential. Their and Storm's input influenced innumerable decisions I never would have had the insight nor courage to make. I'll be forever grateful to them as well as the diverse group of post-production artists who essentially served as my film school for my filmmaking debut.
After this main conversation, Marc stuck around to answer the five final questions. He shares his definition of "making it" as well as what keeps most Broadway shows from doing the same. He also discusses minimum wage, happy marriages, and one of the best theater people around, Andre DeShields. Read it all on the WINMI Blog.