Warp discussion, Part II

This tape features footage of a conversation between writer Stuart Gordon, actor Cecil O'Neal, and writer Lenny Kleinfeld (who co-wrote the play under the pseudonym Bury St. Edmund), talking about the Broadway production of the Organic Theater's "Warp."

00:00Copy video clip URL This video begins with static.

00:13Copy video clip URL Open on a conversation between Cecil O’Neal, Stuart Gordon, and Lenny Kleinfeld. The three continue their conversation about the Chicago theater scene, the “Warp” production, and the stress of Broadway. The video quality is very poor during this portion of the tape, but eventually adjusts to reveal the three men at a kitchen table talking over drinks. Anda Korsts interviews all three.

02:51Copy video clip URL The video clears up as Gordon talks about his and the other writer’s efforts in trying to explain “Warp” to New Yorkers. O’Neal then begins to talk about the history of the Organic Theater in Chicago and how that history doesn’t mean much on Broadway. O’Neal talks about one of these instances that recently took place.

05:07Copy video clip URL Korsts asks if the three had any pressure to cast New Yorkers in the Broadway production. Gordon says that there were a number of producers who would have liked to recast a few of the actors, but that they made a previous arrangement not to change any of the actors. The three talk about New York and refer to it as the “media center” of the country. Edmund comments on the production of “Godspell” making it big in new York, despite the fact that it opened in a 300 seat theater.

07:17Copy video clip URL O’Neal talks about how many reviewers treat Broadway runs as if they were the only important part of a production’s history, whether or not the play had been successful in other cities first. Gordon then talks about “Grease” (originally a production of Kingston Mines in Chicago) and how it had been marketed in New York. This lasts for several minutes.

09:48Copy video clip URL O’Neal begins to reminisce about the founding of the Organic Theater. O’Neal goes on to talk about his belief that New York directors are “running scared” because of the quality of theater productions coming from elsewhere, such as “Warp.” The three debate about whether or not Chicago is starting to get its due in the theater world. This lasts for several minutes.

17:15Copy video clip URL Gordon talks about the Organic Theater company’s desire to put on a production of Mike Royko’s book “Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago.” Royko loved the idea, but only if he could write the script himself, which he did not actually have time to do. Royko eventually had someone else write the script and it was performed elsewhere. The three talk about this for several minutes.

22:15Copy video clip URL The three talk about Chicago producer George Keith and his criticisms of other Chicago theater productions. They go on to praise and bad mouth various other producers in the Chicago area. They eventually talk about some of the better critics in Chicago.

25:39Copy video clip URL When asked about their experience producing “Warp,” the three talk about the “unreal” feelings that come up before opening night of the production. They talk about the high stakes and pressures of putting on a Broadway show and compare it to the pressures of putting on a show in Chicago. They state that the feelings are the same, but the pressures weigh heavier because of the higher stakes on Broadway. They go on to talk about the differences between New York and Chicago theater critics. This lasts for the remainder of the tape.

33:01Copy video clip URL Tape ends.

 

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