Wednesday, July 03, 2019

EP130: Writing Musicals for Broadway… and the U.S Army


Ken discusses what he learned writing the book for a musical  and also shares an insane story of writing a musical for the United States Army. Hint:It was less successful than “Hamilton.”


Listen to the Hollywood & Levine podcast!

9 comments :

Jeff Boice said...

Thanks for another great podcast. And thanks for mentioning Ellie Greenwich- next month will be the tenth anniversary of her death. When the podcast ended, I listened again to her recording of "You Don't Know".

Mike Bloodworth said...

I've always wondered why, to date, none of Ken's plays have been musicals. Now I know...I guess.
M.B.

VP81955 said...

The military version of one of those real-life "industrial musicals" satirized on late-night talk shows.

Unknown said...

Not related to this topic, but I am curious what you thought of the movie Always Be My Maybe on Netflix? I’m not suggesting it’s a classic but I was very impressed with how many jokes the writers got into the script, with only minimal gross out humor. It just stood out as a rarity these days. I went in with zero expectations so maybe that led me to be surprised. Anyway check it out if you haven’t. Thanks for the blog I have been following it for many years.
Aaron

Ligg said...

This reminds me of how a military experience inspired Flip Wilson's comedy career, and his nickname. Young Airman Clerow Wilson saw how few in his Air Force Guam troop went to the base's dull Troop Information Meetings. He convinced his superiors into letting him host one, about of all things Guam's coconut crab, who has to crawl 30 miles to the sea in order to find a mate. His fellow troops cracked up when Wilson said the female crabs rejected the males with, "Oh, no you don't! I am not that kind of a crab!" He got more laughs by injecting his colorful slang into scenes from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar". One of the airmen in the audience said out loud, "He doth flippeth his lid!" A stage name was thus born.

(Source: Kevin Cook, "Flip: The Inside Story of TV's First Black Superstar", 2013 Viking Press, p. 31-2.)

julian said...

love the podcast! the vintage music package is so good. thanks Ken!

Buttermilk Sky said...

Great podcast, Ken. I finally understand the old joke about the only appropriate way to punish Hitler: Send him out of town with a musical.

Have you watched BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY on Netflix? It's about industrial shows, a genre which seems to have disappeared but figured in the early careers of people like John Kander and Fred Ebb.

Cheryl Marks said...

I'm guessing the number of reservists who re-upped was nil.

James said...

I'm late to the game but I only heard the podcast this morning (Monday).

It's not quite the same but it's close. Jerry Belson should have been proud of Richard Levinson and William Link. They wrote a script for The Chevy Mystery Show called "Enough Rope," adapted it into a stage play called "Prescription Murder," adapted that into a TV movie of the same name, and then launched a TV series from it called Columbo. And Bill Link collected some short stories with the character, so he's got that medium covered too.