Saturday, January 20, 2018

MY PLAYBILL -- Aren't you impressed?

When the musical I co-wrote was produced I was asked to submit my bio for the program. The trouble is, if I list that I am primarily a TV writer it’s like putting a big target on my chest for New York theatre critics. So I thought I’d fudge, tailor it a tad for the Broadway theatre crowd. And now I have a few full-length plays I hope will hit the Great White Way.  What do you think of this?


Ken is the adopted son of Stephen Sondheim. His godfather was Bob Fosse whom he met while walking Gwen Verdon’s dog. He spent his formative years building the sets for LES MISERABLES. A Peace Corps stint followed where for two years he introduced the Broadway musical to poverty stricken villages throughout Cambodia.

Ken returned to New York where he walked Carol Channing’s husband. He became somewhat of a play doctor, coming in uncredited to save A CHORUS LINE, HAMILTON (it was originally about actor Hamilton Camp), OSLO, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE (originally titled: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH SHLOMO). WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, AVENUE Q., AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ (additional dialogue), GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (talking Mamet out of the dance numbers), and THE ODD COUPLE (originally titled: TWO AND A HALF MEN).

An experimental work of his own played four nights in Los Angeles and three nights in Houston. It was called the 2017 WORLD SERIES.

He has never seen a television show, watched a movie, or read any book not written by John Simon or Frank Rich.

28 comments :

Jonathan said...

OMG. I would pay just as much for tickets to see the Hamilton Camp musical.

Peter said...

LOL! My favourite bit is:

originally titled: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH SHLOMO.

Paul said...


Great 😂

Ken, I came across something interesting today....

It seems James L. Brooks got pissed at Family Guy making fun of Simpsons and had a gag deleted by Fox. This was told by Seth and David Goodman - who was a guest of your podcast. There is also another female writer (don't know her name) of Simpsons who criticizes Simpsons.

You can hear them here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IkL0BgmKxA


My Friday question: Have you come across anything like this, where a comedy writer can't take a joke and uses his clout to get the joke, that makes fun of his TV show/movie, deleted?

michelle said...

Ken, I am sad to observe that you have finally completely gone batshit.

Michael said...

I would only add what Russell Baker put at the end of a book jacket bio:

He has been dead for a number of years and has two cats.

Glenn said...

Did you convince them that Avenue Q should have puppets? I bet that was you.

jfancherla said...

Seems like you lifted part of the plot from "Volunteers" as your bio. Steal from the best.

michael del said...

All great except the John Simon thing which would probably get you banned from the theater district.

Anonymous said...

Sounds about right. Of course, it's a shame to leave off "After Mash." :-)

Steve said...

"Ken returned to New York where he walked Carol Channing’s husband" - ha!

Friday question: MASH obviously was set in the Korean War but many believe it (particularly the film) was more about Vietnam. Looking back on it now, do you think the TV series would have been appreciably different, either in its reception or in the show itself, if it had been set in Vietnam? Could issues such as the protests back home, Johnson & Nixon, My Lai, etc. been touched on while keeping the overall show a comedy, and do you think you might have enjoyed that challenge? Or was it better off being set in Korea?

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Perfickk

Tudor Queen said...

That was hysterical - and hit the target squarely.

Thanks for helping me start my Saturday with a nice laugh!

ELS said...

Didn't you do an uncredited rewrite of "Fiddler on the Roof" before opening night? And coach Zero on his accent? I'm sure that was you...

Buttermilk Sky said...

Don't forget to mention your work for the charity BROADWAY CARES ABOUT PSORIASIS.

VP81955 said...

Obviously the ending of your World Series was rewritten in production, probably after the hurricane garnered more audience sympathy for Houston. I'm still upset Kristin Chenoweth didn't capture a Tony Award for her work as Jose Altuve.

John Hammes said...

... well ... at least you only fudged a little ...

Todd Everett said...

You have to mention whom you studied under, and dedicate your performance to someone -- preferably your boyfriend

Ron Rettig said...

You forgot your credit for set dressing "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad"

Mike Bloodworth said...

To truly capture the spirit of the thing you should have worked in the words, "pretentious" and "hammy." And of course, you should have said that CONSERVATIVES accused you of having "New York values." That alone would have been appropriate credentials.

Doug Nick said...

You should have embellished it a little

iain said...

& didn't you come up with those Singing Cats? No one can take those little bastards away from you!

daniel in cherry hill said...

i believe you need at least 1 law and order credit...

Frank G. said...

A question for Friday: I thought that on a TV show, story editors are basically the writing staff's gofers. They do all the grunt work (e.g. proofreading, type up notes, get coffee, xerox and distribute pages, etc.) until they've earned enough stripes to join the writing staff as a writer. On the new STAR TREK series, they're saying that the two story editors wrote the mid-series finale. Is my understanding of what story editors do all wrong or were those editors on STAR TREK promoted unusually fast?

Chris said...

I don't get it. Where's the bit where you talk about being born at an early age in a log cabin you helped your father to build?

Loosehead said...

Looks fine, use it as-is. It brings to mind the bio blurb that Terry Pratchett used to put in all his books. The tone rather than "the facts" convey the nature of your, and his, character.

DyHrdMET said...

This is very much you. But are you going to share with us the real bio?

Steve Lanzi (formerly known as qdpsteve) said...

Not bad Ken, but you forgot to mention that you spent your formative years in... Oklahoma!

And re Hamilton Camp: great trivia fact, he began his career in the early 1960s as a folk singer. I know so because I actually have one of his recordings in a great classic folk music CD set Rhino released a long time ago, titled "Troubadours of the Folk Era." Here he is circa 1965, covering "Get Together" before the Youngbloods made it a hit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvZxB-8M1Bc

Dana Gabbard said...

Traditionally back when freelancers provided scripts (especially dramas) story editors coordinated, assigned and often rewrote plus occasionally did a script from scratch. Think D.C. Fontana and John D.F. Black. To this day animated TV shows work this way. Now shows are mostly room written and of course titles have inflated. Now my understanding is story editor is the entry level and writers when promoted become assistant producers and upward from there.