How to Survive a Killer Musical: Agony and Ecstasy on the Road to Broadway (Hardcover)
When the young composer-lyricist Douglas Cohen first secured the musical rights to the novel No Way to Treat a Lady by William Goldman--the acclaimed author of The Princess Bride and Marathon Man--he hoped it would be his big break, the first step on a gilt path to artistic triumph and commercial success in the form of a hit Broadway musical.
What happened after that, while memorable, was anything but.
How to Survive a Killer Musical chronicles Cohen's decade-long quest to bring that musical to the stage--writing, re-writing, and shepherding it across the US and Europe amidst all manner of adversity and plain rotten luck. It's a fascinating portrait of passion, persistence, and resilience--a coming-of-age story populated with famous mentors and formidable adversaries, told with refreshing honesty and humor.
On Cohen's journey, we meet an unforgettable, vividly rendered cast of characters, including: an Oscar-winning screenwriter who invites Cohen to his personal screening room for a marathon midnight writing session; a Tony Award-winning director making his comeback after a horrific accident renders him a quadriplegic; and a celebrated, volatile British director who inspires a fruitful collaboration in London, only to later leave carnage in his wake. Catastrophes abound, including the near-fatal stabbing of a female lead in rehearsal and an onstage accident incapacitating another leading lady--leaving only the author to go on in her place
Whether you're a fan of musicals or just someone who's trying to bring a passion project into the world, this tale of fortitude in the face of obstacles, personalities, and egos will make for an eye-opening and frequently hilarious journey.
About the Author
Douglas J. Cohen is a composer, lyricist, and librettist who is the recipient of two Richard Rodgers Awards (No Way to Treat a Lady, The Gig), a Jonathan Larson Grant (Barnstormer), Drama Desk and Drama League nominations (Children's Letters to God, Don't Stay Safe), and the Fred Ebb Award and Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation Award for his body of work. His musicals have been produced Off-Broadway (Manhattan Theatre Club, The York Theatre Company, The Cell Theatre, Prospect Theater Company), as well as regionally (Williamstown Theatre Festival, Signature Theatre, Goodspeed Opera House, Barrington Stage Company), and internationally. The studio album of his score for The Big Time (book by Douglas Carter Beane) is scheduled for a 2023 release. As a vocal coach, Doug has taught privately and at the Neighborhood Playhouse and Jacob's Pillow. DouglasJCohen.com