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Entries in Books (12)


Call Answered: Conference Call: Jennifer Pallanich and Baltimore Russell: Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1) 

Baltimore Russell and Jennifer PallanichI first came to know Baltimore Russell when he and his husband, John Dylan DeLaTorre, created the web media series People You Know. Since that show ended, I have kept up with Baltimore and when I found out he and his sister, Jennifer Pallanich, were writing their debut fiction book together, I knew I just had to get the inside scoop!

Luckily, Jennifer and Baltimore answered my call and I got all the details on their premiere novel, Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1), a fictional story where disasters ring the planet as the earth cries out for heroes to save it. At the same time, an ancient order conspires to fulfill a centuries-old prophecy. Their plan: unleash a deadly tsunami that would destroy North American and European coastlines. Then, at the height of summer, a blinding white light races across the globe, granting a select few incredible gifts. An enigmatic ex-Green Beret trains these powerful misfits in a desperate bid to stop the man-made and natural catastrophes. But can these Children of the Solstice work well enough together and master their new powers in time to halt the prophecy and save humanity from cataclysmic devastation?

Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1) will be released on October 18. You can order it via! 

For more on Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1 follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Designed by Alex Sanchez1. Your debut novel, Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1) will be released on October 18. Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1) is a fictional story. The plot seems like it's ripped from the uncertain times we live in now combined with a Star Wars like divide between the ancient order and Children. How did you come up with this story?

Jennifer Pallanich: In 2006, we had an idea. We were in a busted seat in the back row of a rickety old bus riding from Arusha, Tanzania, back to Nairobi, Kenya. Two days before, we’d summited Mount Kilimanjaro, where the air was quite thin at the top, 5895 meters (19,341 feet). Clearly, all the oxygen available once we got back to Arusha, which has an elevation of 1400 meters (4600 feet), went to our heads because we decided we needed a new, big, hairy challenge. We decided to co-author a book. No, let’s make it a trilogy. A superhero trilogy. During that whole ride, we did the initial brainstorm, coming up with plot lines and characters. That day on the bus, as we jounced over pothole after pothole after pothole, we could already picture the cover of book one. Well, we didn’t know the title, for sure, but we could see this part clearly: by Baltimore Russell and Jennifer Pallanich.

Baltimore Russell: We both loved the idea of writing a Good versus Evil story, and we wanted to put our spin on it. We have witnessed so many extreme weather events, and we used that as a springboard into our plot. We quickly came up with the bones of the book, the how, the why, the who. The brainstorming allowed us to really go big with whatever ideas came to us, but of course we had to scale back some as we worked through them.

The snarky French-Canadian "Etienne" whose powers include the ability to turn himself invisible and become intangible in "Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1)", sketch designed by Alex Sanchez2. Not only are you brother and sister, you are now co-authors. What made you want to write a novel together? What is it like to work together as co-authors?

Baltimore Russell: I actually love collaborating with others. I grew up in an ensemble-style theatre program and enjoy working with others to create something more than what just one single mind can do. I did this on the new media series, People you Know, with my husband and the result was far greater than had I tried to do it on my own. Now, writing this book with my sister has really been a positive and rewarding experience. We have such different strengths and can complement where the other may not be as skilled. We also made a deal that any criticism we gave would be directed to the work and not each other, and that it should always be given in a spirit that would make the book stronger and better.

Jennifer Pallanich: We did something smart from the get-go and drew up an agreement that outlined who was responsible for what, who had final say on which topics, and so forth. For instance, I’m a journalist and so dealing with the words and editors fell to me. I got final say on that front. I’m also a not-so-closet hippy, which means that I want everyone to just get along, which is great in real life, but means a basically conflict-free book. Which would be boring. So my actor brother, who has an innate flair for the dramatic, gets final say on the story line. Part of the agreement was that we could argue our side once, but then a decision would be made and we’d move on. Because we’re good friends, we always treated the other with respect, but that’s not to say there weren’t some frustrations. Those, however, usually came down to technology issues and snafus.

Jennifer Pallanich, Alex Sanchez, and Baltimore Russell3. Was the writing of the story pretty much evenly divided between the both of you or were one of you more the idea person and the other put the ideas into the story? What about the illustrations? Did you both have visions for them or did you just put your trust in artist Alex Sanchez after telling him your thoughts?

Jennifer Pallanich: The nice thing about collaborating is that we can draw on the other’s strengths, and we did that all the way through the process, from brainstorming to the writing and editing to the marketing. That said, we both put in the time behind the keyboard, writing away.

Baltimore Russell: When we first started brainstorming the book I was adamant about having some sort of illustrations and character sketches to enhance the chapters and also provide us with cover art and a pin up of the characters. So I spent an entire Saturday of New York City ComicCon 2015 searching for an artist to work with us who could fit the bill. We narrowed down our choices and when I spoke with Alex at his booth, I just felt a connection to him and his art style. We came to quick agreement, gave him the vital information and he got to work on all sketches. Most of the artwork came back without us having to make any changes, but for the ones we did need changes made to, it was an easy process. Alex is super talented and he really made the artwork shine. We look forward to working with him again on the next book!

"Maggie Adams" is a reporter who was in the right place at the wrong time. Now she will do whatever it takes to get the story in "Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1)", sketch designed by Alex Sanchez4. How long did it take you to write Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1)? What was the best part about the writing process and what were the most challenging parts?

Jennifer Pallanich: We had multiple false starts dating back to the months right after we climbed Kili, but in late 2014 we got serious about bringing our story to life. We signed up for a crazy little thing called NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month to you non-writers out there. In short, it’s a month-long commitment that requires you to write 50,000 words over the course of 30 days, or an average 1,666 words of your book per day in an effort to get your first draft out of your head. Together, we got the first draft of all three novels written between November 2014 and mid-January 2015. We typed our little hearts out, each of us averaging closer to 2,100 words per day during the 70 or so days we spent writing.

Baltimore Russell: I think the best part of the process was when it was really flowing. I would be able to spend a few hours writing and feel very good about what was coming out. And allowing all sorts of happy accidents to happen. Without sounding dorky, letting the characters tell the story and come alive. The hard parts were cutting characters and making substantial plot and character changes. But it was all for the betterment of the story, even if some beloved characters didn't make it past draft four.

This is "Anabel Wong," a member of the Ascendancy. She is brutally savvy and extremely dangerous. How far will she go to bring about the prophesy? in "Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1)", sketch designed by Alex Sanchez5. How do you feel the moment you finish your first draft? Then you send it off for editing/proofing. What is like when you get that feedback? How do you react to it? How do you adjust your expectations to see what the editor is talking about? How do you decide what edits you agree with and which ones you're like, "No thank you, we are keeping it as we wrote it."?

Baltimore Russell: We had a few great moments where we had finished a draft and felt really good about the work, even though we knew that we had some problem areas. Coming from an acting background I understood where our critique editor (also an actor/director) was coming from. Yes, it was sometimes blunt, but I would rather have had a slightly harsher critique when we can still do something about it than once the book is published. So, for me, I really valued the feedback. If we couldn’t justify our reasoning to the editor or to each other, then I'd happily take any suggestions that strengthen the book.

Jennifer Pallanich: The critique was pretty rough for me. I was a bit unprepared for the bluntness about the problems in our draft. There were some big issues we expected would raise flags, but he found quite a few others that we didn’t anticipate. Which is good - it’s what we paid him for - but that doesn’t make it any easier to hear. In the end, we took most of his recommendations and the book is worlds better for it.

"Maks Wong" is "Anabel's" twin and a member of the Ascendancy. His playboy status belies his cruelty and savage demeanor in "Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1)", sketch designed by Alex Sanchez6. What are you most proud of in writing this book and what did you learn throughout the process that you will bring into your next book?

Baltimore Russell: I'm proud that we actually finished it, and for all the dedication we poured into it. I value the time we got to "work" with each other. As for what I think we learned to incorporate into the next book, I would say a more thoughtful approach to the character arcs and outline from the outset. Nailing those down early on really helps you just write.

Jennifer Pallanich: I’m so proud of how much we’ve learned and grown as writers. Draft six is far and away better than draft one, let me tell you. I don’t see any way that book two will require fewer drafts, but I believe each of those drafts will start off stronger than their book one counterparts.

You're eyes aren't deceiving you, this is "CoCo." She has the ability to create realistic illusions and misdirections in "Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1)", sketch designed by Alex Sanchez7. What were the top three moments where you both just looked at each other and either you instantly clicked on an idea or just turned and started laughing at each other over an idea? What were the top three moments where you wanted to scratch each others eyes out over a difference of opinions?

Baltimore Russell: I think the whole genesis of the idea is a top moment. Things just started clicking. We started talking over characters and plot points and reasons why these disasters would happen. It was really an exciting and fun moment. On a bus. In Africa.

Jennifer Pallanich: I never wanted to scratch his eyes out over a difference of opinions, but I will confess to being a bit aggravated every time he said, "I think we need to add another chapter." A book that at the end of draft one was 58 chapters long grew into 75 chapters by the time draft six went to the formatter. It became something of a joke. We did have some differences over one of the original subplots, but based on our critique we wound up scrapping it. We also had a discussion or three about the background of one of our characters. It confused our critique editor and a few of the beta readers, so we ultimately dropped that thread as well.

We'd like to introduce "Henry Hastings," leader of the Ascendancy and founder of The Hastings Foundation. He will stop at nothing to bring the centuries old prophesy to fruition in "Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1)", sketch design by Alex Sanchez8. In Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1), the ancient order aims to unleash a deadly tsunami hoping to destroy North American and European coastlines. If you knew a tsunami was coming and only had moments left to live, how would you spend those final moments? What would you be most grateful for? What would you wish you had done differently?

Baltimore Russell: I would hope that my final moments would be shared with loved ones in either case. I would be grateful for the experiences and traveling I've been fortunate to have and for the family that has accepted me and supported me and my husband. Don't think I'd have any regrets.

Jennifer Pallanich: Moments only? I’d be thinking of my loved ones, no doubt. I’d be grateful that I’ve lived my life as fully as I can, and I’d wish I’d chosen a different coastline.

9. Then a blinding white light races across the globe, granting a select few incredible gifts. What are some incredible gifts you both have received over the years?

Baltimore Russell: Love. Family. Friends. YouTube videos of people being scared.

Jennifer Pallanich: The gifts of family, friends, scuba and travel.

"Captain Pierce" trains the newly empowered, but does his gruff and surly nature hide a more sinister motivation? in "Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1)", sketch designed by Alex Sanchez10. Awakening (Children of the Solstice Book 1) is dedicated to "The woman who taught us to read, the man who gave us roots and wings, and the authors who transported us into other worlds." What was the first book this woman taught each of you to read? How did the man provide you with roots and wings? Who are some of your favorite authors that inspired you to want to be an author?

Baltimore Russell: I feel like the first book Mother taught me to read would probably be either The Little Engine That Could or Pokey Puppy. Dad has always said it was his job to make sure that we knew we always had a place with him but that he wanted us to achieve our dreams. He spent a lot of time with me running lines, watching me in plays and always telling me that I can do better and to keep going. As for authors, there are a lot of them, but I would mention David Hare, Chris Claremont, Mike Carey, Peter David, Majorie Liu, J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, and Stephen King.

Jennifer Pallanich: D always gave us a solid home and foundation while encouraging us to forge our own paths and live our own lives. I can’t remember the first book M taught me to read, but I was especially pleased with a set of children’s abridged versions of books I received in first or second grade for Christmas. My favorites were 20,000 Leagues beneath the Sea and Robinson Crusoe, and I still love both stories. But it was – and I can’t decide if I’m embarrassed to admit this or not – when I was reading my way through the Bobbsey Twins series that I first got out a pencil and paper and tried to write a book of my own. So, what, second grade? Third, maybe? But now, there are so many authors whose work I admire, whether for storytelling or world-building or beautiful prose, that it is hard to name just a few. Here are some faves, in no particular order: John Irving, Margaret Atwood, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, Jules Verne, J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Buckley, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and Brandon Sanderson. I love that the magic they weave into their stories not only enthralls and entertains me but also inspires me.

Jennifer Pallanich and Baltimore RussellMore on Baltimore:

Baltimore Russell is an actor, producer, and writer. He and his husband created the People You Know new media series, which aired on HereTV. Almost from the time he learned to work a pencil, he could often be found creating his own stories. He lives in New York City with his husband, John Dylan DeLaTorre.

More on Jennifer:

Native Texan Jennifer Pallanich is a trade journalist who has bylined over half a million words about the oil and gas industry. She has published the nonfiction book Flacks & Hacks: Trade Secrets Journalists Want PR Pros to Know and loves to read good versus evil stories. An avid scuba diver, traveler, reader, and writer, she lives with a lab mix named Houdini and a cat named Possum.


Call Answered: Facetime Interview with author Michael Colby, "The Algonquin Kid"

Live from The Algonquin Hotel in New York City, "Call Me Adam" chats with The Algonquin Kid himself, author Michael Colby, whose newly released autobiography, The Algonquin Kid, chronicles Michael's time growing up in The Algonquin Hotel, surrounded by some of Hollywood's, Music's, and Theatre's biggest names! From Marilyn Monroe to Agnes Moorehead to Lerner and Lowe who wrote "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady at the Algonquin, Michael tells it all, in this rich behind-the-scenes look at a life lived in one of New York City's most famous hotels! Click here to purchase The Algonquin Kid!

Come join Michael at the Historic National Arts Club in Gramercy Park (15 Gramercy Park South) on June 18 at 8pm as Michael reads passages from The Algonquin Kid and Broadway's Christine Pedi, Eric Michael Gillett, Jeff Keller, and Bethe Austin perform some songs made famous by Algonquin denizens! Proper attire is required (For men that means a suit and tie; for women that means evening wear). For reservations, call 212-475-3424!

For more on Michael be sure to visit and follow him on Facebook!

For more on The Algonquin Hotel visit and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

"Call Me Adam's" interview with "The Algonquin Kid" himself, Michael Colby, live from The Algonquin Hotel:

Michael ColbyMore on Michael:

Michael Colby is the librettist/lyricist of such musicals as CHARLOTTE SWEET (Drama Desk Award nomination), TALES OF TINSELTOWN, NORTH ATLANTIC (Show Business Award), SLAY IT WITH MUSIC (off-Broadway & London), MRS. McTHING, THEY CHOSE ME!, and LUDLOW LADD. He was chief writer for the Drama Desk Award-winning New Amsterdam Theatre Company, and has been a writer for The NY Festival of Song as well as the Theatre By the Blind.

He wrote continuity for two benefits at the 92nd Street Y: STANDING OVATIONS (starring Carol Channing, Nell Carter, Elaine Stritch, Leslie Uggams, and other great ladies of the theatre) and THE LONGEST RUNNING SHOW ON BROADWAY (a tribute to Maurice Levine, hosted by Angela Lansbury). He also wrote STEPHEN SCHWARTZ: A MUSICAL CELEBRATION, a benefit for the Directors Company, starring Betty Buckley, Paul Shaffer, Kathy Najimi, et al.

He created special material for ANIMAL CRACKERS (PaperMill Playhouse/Goodspeed), lyrics for MEESTER AMERIKA (The Garage Theatre, NJ) and THE HUMAN HEART (at Marymount Manhattan College), and the narration for THE MAYOR MUSICALS, a benefit for Musicals In Concert hosted by Sheldon Harnick. Among the personalities for whom Mr. Colby has written material are: Linda Lavin, Tony Randall, Tovah Feldshuh, Heather MacRae, Robert Cuccioli, Savion Glover, Dina Merrill, Susan Stroman, Michael Feinstein, Jack Gilford, Andrea Marcovicci, Kristin Chenoweth, Bruce Adler, Cliff Robertson, Lainie Kazan, Jane Powell, Eric Stoltz, Julie Wilson, Alison Fraser, Mary Cleere Haran, Donna McKechnie, & Cicely Tyson.

Movie credits include writing the title song for the film HEART OF THE BEHOLDER.

A member of BMI and the Dramatists Guild, he lives in Metuchen, NJ with his wife Andrea and son Steven.


Call Redialed: Seth Rudetsky: Seth's Broadway Diary

"Call Me Adam" caught up with Broadway's Seth Rudetsky to talk about his new book Seth's Broadway Diary, published by Dress Circle Publishing. A one of a kind Broadway journal, Seth's Broadway Diary chronicles Seth's unique life on and around the Great White Way. Click here to purchase your copy!

For more on Seth be sure to visit and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

1. On October 22, you launched your 4th book, Seth's Broadway Diary, a one of a kind Broadway journal chronicling your unique life on and around the Great White Way. What made now the right time to release this book? My A.D.D. plus harrasment. For years I've been talking about getting my Playbill columns published. Basically since I started writing them in 2007. My A.D.D. prevented me from actually doing anything about it. Finally, my husband harrassed me and commandeered my old assistant Joey Monda to send out samples. Joey sent one to Dress Circle Publishing and I got a book deal!

2. What excites you most about this release? I love seeing all these really hilarious stories and interviews in one book instead of tracking them down online. I love the kind of book that you can open and read something fun. Even though this book is in chronological order, you can open it up to any page and get a great story about Sutton Foster, me missing a flight to rehearse with Betty Buckley or some amazing inside scoop about Donna McKechnie and the original cast of A CHORUS LINE.

Seth Rudetsky and Matthew Broderick at "Seth's Broadway Diary" Book Launch Party3. What was it like to go back through your life on and around Broadway to write this book? How did you narrow down what you wanted to include in the book? This is literally the columns I published. I only added sassy 2014 side comments (in a different font) when I went through it to edit. For instance, I wrote about seeing the show 13 and I added that the cast featured a then-unknown Ariana Grande!

4. While you were writing this book, did you come across any events that you wish you had done differently? I wish I didn't call James my boyfriend in every column. I mean, he was my boyfriend at the time, but every time I mentioned him I reiterated it in case I had new readers. A few months after I began writing the columns, I interviewed Nathan Lane and he told me he had HAD IT with me writing "my boyfriend James" every month. "WE GET IT ALREADY! IS JAMES YOUR FIRST BOYFRIEND!?!?!"

Kelli O'Hara and Seth Rudetsky at "Seth's Broadway Diary" Book Launch Party5. What advice would you give your younger self that you didn't know then, but do now? Stop eating cereal late at night. Cardio stops working after age 39.

6. What did you learn about yourself from writing this book? I've done a lot of things I've forgotten about!!! I was reading about an interview I did with Barbara Cook to promote her upcoming concert with Audra McDonald that benefitted the Obama reelection campaign. I wished I had seen the concert. Then I read the following column where I wrote about how great the concert was!

7. What do you hope readers come away with after reading this book? So many fun stories about Broadway they can tell their friends! "Did you know Chita Rivera kicked herself in the head every night at the end of "America" because she's so flexible?" "Did you know Betty Buckley's agent prevented her from getting the role of "Catherine" in PIPPIN because he wanted his other client (Jill Clayburgh) to get the gig?" "Did you know Andrea McArdle hid 64 easter eggs on the set of LES MIZ and they only found 58? And it wound up breaking the barricade?"

Jackie Hoffman, Seth Rudetsky, and Alysha Umphress at "Seth's Broadway Diary" Book Launch Party8. What was the most emotional event you came across while writing this book? What was the happiest event? The most emotional was reading about Loretta Sable Ayres audition for SOUTH PACIFIC and how she almost didn't go because she thought they'd be mean to her like the judges on AMERICAN IDOL. Her husband talked her into going...she got the part...and a Tony nomination!

The happiest is reading about all these amazing Broadway people I've worshipped that I got to hang out with. My inner 14-year-old's childhood dream!

9. Of the celebrities you write about in your book, did any of them have an issue with you telling any of these behind-the-scenes antics or was everyone okay with it? Bebe Neuwirth once said "Seth has an ability to make you reveal things you never thought you'd say in public."!

Seth Rudetsky and Jennifer Ashley Tepper at "Seth's Broadway Diary" Book Launch Party10. What do you like about being an author that you don't get from doing your live interviews on Sirius XM or at Seth's Broadway Chatterbox? Sometimes people don't know how to build a story when they tell me and when I write it, I can give the details for maximum emphasis. Example...Rebecca Luker told me they didn't want to see her for MUSIC MAN. She asked her agent to get her an audition as a courtesy. The powers-that-be finally agreed but let it be known that she was not what they were looking for. Rebecca went to the audition knowing they didn't want to see her or cast her (so nervewracking!), but she got a callback, the role and a Tony nomination! When I asked Rebecca in person "How did you get MUSIC MAN?" she said "I auditioned." Wowza. I had to get her to tell the story in increments for the full effect!


11. If you could be any original flavor Life Saver, which one would you be? The flavor Red whatever that is.

12. How do you want to be remembered? For loving art/music/comedy and spreading that love around!

Seth Rudetsky at "Seth's Broadway Diary" Book Launch PartyMore on Seth:

Seth is the afternoon host on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio’s ON BROADWAY as well as the host of SETH SPEAKS on Sirius/XM Stars. As a pianist, Seth has played for more than a dozen Broadway shows including RAGTIME, LES MIZ and PHANTOM. He was the Artistic Producer/Music Director for the first five annual Actors Fund Fall Concerts including DREAMGIRLS with Audra MacDonald (recorded on Nonesuch Records) and HAIR with Jennifer Hudson (recorded on Ghostlight Records, Grammy Nomination). In 2007 he made his Broadway acting debut playing Sheldon (singing “Magic to Do” in a devastating unitard) in THE RITZ directed by Joe Mantello for The Roundabout Theater. Off-Broadway he wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed RHAPSODY IN SETH (directed by Peter Flynn) at the Actors Playhouse and has also appeared on TV on LAW AND ORDER C.I. and had a recurring role on ALL MY CHILDREN. As an author, he penned the non-fiction Q GUIDE TO BROADWAY, the novel BROADWAY NIGHTS and the recently published MY AWESOME/AWFUL POPULARITY PLAN (Random House). BROADWAY NIGHTS is available on starring Kristin Chenoweth, Andrea Martin and Jonathan Groff and MY AWESOME/AWFUL POPULARITY PLAN stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ana Gasteyer and Megan Hiltly. Seth played himself on Kathy Griffin; My Life on the D-List, was the vocal coach on MTV’s LEGALLYLONDE reality show and starred opposite Sutton Foster in THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG for the Actors Fund. Recently, he co-wrote and starred in DISASTER! (which the NY TIMES called a "triumph"), and he currently writes a weekly column on and tours the country doing master classes and performing his one-man show "DECONSTRUCTING BROADWAY."


Josh Rivedal Video Interview: The Gospel According To Josh

Josh Rivedal and Adam Rothenberg at Gossip Bar in NYCJosh Rivedal is an actor, playwright, and international public speaker.

From Gossip Bar (733 9th Avenue) in NYC's Hell's Kitchen, Call Me Adam recently sat down with Josh to catch up with him about his one-man show The Gospel According to Josh and his new book, The Gospel According To Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah, which is currently in pre-release (15% of proceeds will be donated to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention), with wide release on September 24th.

For more on Josh be sure to visit and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

Part 1: Josh on his one-man show/book The Gospel According To Josh

Part 2: Josh on his new life

More on Josh:

He wrote and developed the play, The Gospel According to Josh, which has toured extensively throughout the United States and Canada, and opening Off-Broadway in New York City in May 2014. He wrote the libretto to a Spanish language Christmas musical Rescatando la Navidad, opening in Miami in November 2013. Josh has been published in Personal Branding Magazine.

As an actor, Josh has lent his voice numerous national television commercials, audiobooks, and animated projects including the role of Hippo in Scholastic’s Rabbit and Hippo In Three Short Tales, the narrator of Julianne Moore’s Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully, and description for seeing impaired children for NBC’s Tree Fu Tom.

Josh has spoken professionally about suicide prevention and mental health awareness in more than twenty-five U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. He serves on the board of the New York City chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.


Arthur Bicknell: Moose Murders: Broadway's Biggest Flop Interview

Arthur Bicknell is the co-founding literary manager and resident playwright for the Homecoming Players in Ithaca, New York. Plays he’s written include Masterpieces and My Great Dead Sister. His recently published memoir, Moose Murdered, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Broadway Bomb, reveals all the sordid details about the original production of his career-halting moosterpiece. He sincerely thanks his long lost son, Steven Carl McCasland, for not only bringing the Moose back to town, but for allowing the playwright to actually be in on the joke, this time.

Arthur's flop, Moose Murders is now being revived in honor of the shows 30th Anniversary by The Beautiful Soup Theater Collective. Moose Murdres: Shamelessly Revised will play at the Connelly Theatre in NYC (220 East 4th Street between Avenue A & B) through February 10. Click here for tickets!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright? I was given a copy of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night when I was in high school. It felt like the first play I’d ever read, although I’m sure that couldn’t have been the case. I was devastated by it, in a very good way. I wanted to write about my family with such painful eloquence. Then came Arthur Kopit’s Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad: A Pseudoclassical Tragifarce in a Bastard French Tradition, Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, Lanford Wilson’s Lemon Sky, and just about every word written by Edward Albee. I tried to emulate all these writers, all at the same time. Voices, voices.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? This is an endless list. Does Fran Lebowitz ever work with others? If she does, she’s my top pick.

The Beautiful Soup Theater Collective's Artistic Director Steven Carl McCasland and Playwright Arthur Bicknell, Photo Credit: Samantha Mercado-Tudda3. The Beautiful Soup Theater Collective is reviving your show Moose Murders, which is known as the biggest flop in Broadway history. What was it like to have your show open and close in the same night after all the work you put into it? When and how did you find peace with the fact that it was going to be known as the biggest flop in Broadway history? There is no way I can answer these questions with quick wit or even unadorned brevity. Everybody dreams of overnight success. NOBODY dreams about overnight abject failure. Fortunately for all the fans of unadulterated schadenfreude, my cautionary memoir Moose Murdered, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my Broadway Bomb is availble now. You can read all about my unique public humiliation process there. End of plug.

4. How did you find the strength to move forward and continue writing? I didn’t. I became a literary agent instead. I let other people do the writing for several years.

5. How did it feel when you found out this revival of Moose Murders was going to take place? The very first I knew of it was by watching the amazing video trailer created by Steven Carl McCasland, the artistic director of The Beautiful Soup Theater Collective and the director of Moose Murders, Shamelessly Revised. I knew I was in good, solidly twisted hands.

6. What made you want to revisit the script and make some changes to it for this revival? If I keep telling this story I’m going to see even fewer royalties, I suppose, but when I looked at the published version of the script, I was mortified. Apparently I’d lost my will to live by the time I received the galleys, and, along with egregious spelling and grammar errors, huge portions of the stage directions and dialogue were either messed up beyond recognition or entirely missing. Steven was being brave enough to revive it anyway, and I thought the least I could do would be to provide a little more…coherence. And maybe, you know, throw in a little plot, while I was at it…

7. You’ll soon be releasing your theatrical memoir Moose Murdered: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Broadway Bomb. What made you want to write this story of your experience? What made now the right time to do it? Are you kidding? It’s Moose Murders, for God’s sake. Everybody wants to know what was up with that. It may be messy, but we’ve got to stop the car and take a look at this collision! It was either write the book or perform my own whiney version of the Hill Cumorah Pageant, and I didn’t have nearly enough energy for that.

8. You are the co-founding literary manager and resident playwright for the Homecoming Players in Ithaca, New York. What has been the best part of this venture? Returning to my beautiful hometown of Ithaca and pursuing my love of theatre all over again! I hooked up with an old classmate, Rachel Hockett, at our 40th high school reunion, and we literally decided right then and there to abandon our boring, predictable, and terribly practical lives (on opposite coasts) and to move back to our own version of misty and mythological Brigadoon. Some people thought we were nuts. You’ve got to be a little crazy, I think, to follow your dream so unconditionally, especially when you’re over sixty, as we both are. We’re trying to significantly contribute to the conversation in our arts-rich Ithaca community, and specifically to explore the intersection of social justice with theater. We’re committed to developing and employing local actors, directors, writers, and technicians, and to establishing a welcoming and safe environment in which to rehearse and produce an eclectic mix of classic and new plays. End of mission statement. You can read all about us at

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a playwright? I’ve learned that no matter how scared I might be, no matter how badly I bully myself, or how miserably insecure I’m feeling at any given time, I can always turn it all around by putting all the dialogue I’d rather be listening to in other people’s mouths.

10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Get off Facebook.