Albert Poland's Bestselling STAGES Gets an AudioBook & Richard Jay-Alexander Takes You Into The Room Where It Happens

By: Jan. 19, 2021
Albert Poland's Bestselling STAGES Gets an AudioBook & Richard Jay-Alexander Takes You Into The Room Where It Happens
Photo: Ron Butler

Photo Credit: Brian Parillo

Today there is something fun and exciting to announce. You may recall, back in June I did a story about legendary theatrical figure Albert Poland and his book STAGES, which is not only an excellent and enjoyable read for anyone interested in theatre, but continues its strength in sales, hence, bringing it to audiobook.

As I sit and write this on the eve of the audiobook debut, I am remembering our mutual friend, Philip J. Smith, longtime Chairman of The Shubert Organization, who passed just days ago. Albert called him "A Gentle Giant," saying, "His friendship and mentorship is one of the great blessings of my life." I mention Philip, because it was he and Robert E. Wankel (Bob) who threw the "swell" party in the Penthouse of the SARDI Building when Albert's book was first published, attended by a virtual WHO'S WHO of Theatre's Legendary Denizens. It wasn't the kind of night you ever forget.

In our first chat, Albert knew the audiobook might be happening and, as we spoke, I realized I didn't really know that much about how it all comes together, so that sent me on an extended journey with both Albert and his dazzling tales and, eventually, an introduction to Ron Butler.

Ron is the actor who got the job of bringing STAGES to life for audiobook and, as it turns out, was Albert's first choice, after receiving audition tapes from his publishing company & Tantor Media. Back in December, "Ronnie" (as his friends and family call him) and I had quite an illuminating conversation, taking me into the world of how books are recorded. I was fascinated and am assuming you will be equally interested. Just for starters ... Albert and Ron have never met or talked! Just a couple of e-mails and, after approval from the publisher, an introduction to me. This seemed crazy to me ... that the author and the reader wouldn't have contact with each other ... AND sort of fascinating.

It turns out that Ron Butler and Albert Poland are a match made in heaven, especially with Ron's early theatre years in New York and Albert's timeline. The "fit" is perfect and Ron shared getting emotional during certain parts and having regrets during his "read" that he hadn't seen some of the shows or productions in Albert's stories. I understood this. I must say, Mr. Butler was very kind to me, while I asked a multitude of questions and he couldn't have been more clear in his speaking, explanations to a layman, or patience with my rapid-fire style of inquisition.

One of the joys of sharing this piece with all of you is this brilliant video that Ron prepared for us at BroadwayWorld and pretty much tells the story of what it's like being "in the room where it happens." As a matter of fact, it feels like a privilege, especially during a pandemic, when these studio set-ups are now happening at home, as opposed to a professional recording facility, in this case, in Los Angeles. Even Albert hasn't seen this yet and is sure to get emotional.

I asked Albert if there was any additional material in the audiobook and, alas, no, but don't forget ... WE were promised a chapter that didn't make it into the book and that chapter happens to be about The Beach Boys (yes, the group) with exclusive pictures, and that will be coming next week on BroadwayWorld. It's wonderful, as are the photos.

As for the audiobook business, there are many more people who do this for a living than I was aware of and Ron is among an elite group of special people, who found himself in this career, after a friend suggested he might be good at it and might find it interesting. While speaking on the phone, his voice has stature, warmth, enthusiasm and intelligence. As a matter of fact, I have already read and reviewed the book and even I plan on taking the drive with Ron Butler.

Perfect, right? You have no idea JUST HOW PERFECT. Enjoy this ... you, too, Albert.

Albert Poland's Bestselling STAGES Gets an AudioBook & Richard Jay-Alexander Takes You Into The Room Where It Happens
Click Here to Purchase the Audio Book