How did you get your start and what inspired you?
Tuesday, 10 July 2001
Dear Susie - Your question is actually much more complicated to answer than you would
imagine. For example, there was no one moment when I got "my start." It was just a long
process of climbing a ladder, going from writing for public television to writing for Radio City
Music Hall to writing industrials, having a few one-act plays performed off-off Broadway, etc.
All of these experiences and more led up to my being prepared to handle it when my first real
Broadway opportunity came along. This opportunity, as you may know, was the chance to be
lyricist for "The Scarlet Pimpernel" in 1989. I became bookwriter for "SP" in 1993 simply
because I got frustrated that no one else was writing a book for the show, so in this instance,
I got my start as a bookwriter through just bulldozing my way into it.
As for what inspired me, that is even more difficult to answer. I don't think inspiration is
an intellectual thing. I think we can read books, see plays, go to museums and admire the work
of others, even be influenced by their work. However, I don't think that is inspiration. I
think inspiration is a more instinctive, spiritual entity. I began writing when I was five - I
just felt naturally drawn to it, and to making up stories and characters. What inspires a five
year old? I just think I was born with a need to write and a love of writing, and as I went
from decade to decade, I was able to find out what type of writing was my favorite. I will tell
you that my passion for the theatre came at the age of fourteen when I acted in my first play.
I think for a lot of us that first moment when we do a play is like falling in love, and you
never get over it. You just always need to be in a theatre, involved in one way or another. I
hope this answers your question, but as I say, they are really more complex questions than
anyone can imagine.