Ken Wydro is a published author, produced playwright & lyricist, seasoned stage director, and veteran Broadway & Off-Broadway producer (over 15 productions). Ken’s gospel musical, Mama, I Want to Sing, for which he co-write the book & the lyrics, ran for eight years Off-Broadway in New York (1983-91), six months on the West End of London & toured for many months at various times in Japan & Europe (1991-2001).
Now Ken's latest show Secrets, The Untold Story of Sigmund Freud & Carl Jung which dramatizes the intense personal & professional relationship between Sigmund Freud & Carl Gustav Jung in the early years of psychoanalysis, 1907 - 1913, will be presented by Marvel Rep, will play TBG Theatre (312 West 36th Street, 3rd Floor) through March 10. Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become an author, playwright, lyricist, and director? When I was 5, my grandmother had a visitor from the Ukraine. She asked me what I wanted to be. Without thinking or mulling over the question, I said -- a writer. That was what I was on the inside since birth. It took 30 years to publish my first book. 65 more years to have my first original drama produced in NYC.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Major A-list stage directors like David Cromer, Joe Mantello, Peter DuBois -- active, working directors on Broadway.
3. What made you want to write and direct Secrets? I wanted to have an original drama of mine produced on Broadway before I die. I have been developing the script in NYC, in France, had it translated into German, presented it at the Freud Museum in London in Nov 2012 directed by Lucy Bailey of the RSC. When the unexpected chance came about in late Dec, 2012 to present it at Marvell Rep, no director was immediately available, so I directed it myself. I have more than 30 years of directing experience -- but am currently looking to identify a director for a commercial production on Broadway or in London.
4. What is about Freud and Jung's relationship that made you want to write a show about it? They were the two most influential psychologists of the 20th Century to me -- especially the metaphysical dimension of Jung. I have a been a seeker of spiritual and metaphysical growth for decades. My patron saints are Emerson, Thoreau, Eric Butterworth -- the Asian religions and spiritual practice -- and of course, the more esoteric teaching of Jesus The Christ.
Most know about their professional relationship between Freud and Jung. Few, if any, know about their intimate and intense personal relationship - an "affair" if there ever was one.
5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing this show? A deep and powerful emotional experience -- we all have loved and lost. I wish to arouse both the passion and the pain that Freud and Jung had for each other -- and how they affected all the others around them. This is a classic tragedy/love story. What could have been, but never was.
6. Why did you want to present your show with Marvel Rep? What do they offer that another theatre company does not? MARVELL REP had an opening for this season. They focus on material from the early 20th Century. It was an out-of-the blue possibility for both of us -- so we jumped in. A SERENDIPITY AND SYNCHRONICITY AS JUNG WOULD DESCRIBE IT.
7. Your original musical "Mama I Want To Sing" is celebrating 30 years of world-wide performances. What does this milestone mean to you? What do you think is the reason this show has resonated with so many people? MAMA, I WANT TO SING is a Black Cinderella story. Coming from behind, finding oneself through loss, pain and family love. Plus, the great Gospel and original music with world class singing talent made it appeal to cultures all over the world. Another tour to Japan is planned for Dec, 2013. MAMA touches hearts, opens souls and inspires the audience to let their talent be the guide through all hardships and against all odds.
8. What have you learned about yourself from your varied career? The only way to personal and spiritual growth is to have a spiritual practice - prayer,meditation, journalling, mandala coloring. I, of myself, can do nothing. So I get down on my knees, surrender to the Higher Power, Infinite Intelligence and Collective Unconscious which is always present and available. The power of surrender to the Invisible World.
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? DON'T BLOCK THE BLESSINGS...KNOW WHEN TO LEAVE THE PARTY.
10. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Increased access to the Creative Unconscious. More facility in Lucid Dreaming.
More on Ken:
Ken is also a dynamic public speaker, a dream analyst, a facilitator of seminars & workshops & the Director of Programs at the Mama Foundation for the Arts in New York, a 501(C)(3) educational organization in Harlem. Ken has a BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Rochester (NY), a Master’s Degree in Theatre from the University of California at Berkeley & did PhD coursework in theatre at NYU. He worked with Lee Strasberg, Elia Kazan & Arthur Penn at the Director’s Unit of the Actor’s Studio in New York for several years, as well as with David LeGrant in acting & directing (1968-1975). Ken is a member of the Analytical Psychology Club at the C.G. Jung Center in New York, is a TONY voter & a member of The Broadway League of Producers as well as the Dramatist's Guild. He has written two full length plays: SECRETS - the Untold Story of Sigmund Freud & Carl Jung and Chance.
On Broadway, Ken was a co-producer of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come & Gone (1988) and David Mamet’s American Buffalo (2008). He was also involved in The Mountaintop with Samuel Jackson and Angela Bassett in the 2011 Broadway season & was associated with Evita and The Best Man on Broadway in the spring of 2012. He was also Associate Producer on Long Day's Journey Into Night, which opened on April 10 , 2012, at the Apollo in the West End of London, as well as Top Hat, which opened on May 9, 2012, at the Aldwych.
Mama, I Want to Sing – The Next Generation is currently playing at the Dempsey Theater, a 500-seat venue in Harlem and will be touring in Europe for 2012-13. Secrets, which has been translated into German, is being prepared for productions in both Germany and Austria and had a November 2012, reading at the Sigmund Freud Museum in London. Secrets will be presented Off-Broadway in February/March 2012. His original drama, Chance, will be produced in London and New York in 2013.