Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Andrew Lippa Talks THE WILD PARTY And A TIGER KING Musical On 'Why I'll Never Make It' Podcast

Article Pixel

Andrew Lippa Talks THE WILD PARTY And A TIGER KING Musical On 'Why I'll Never Make It' Podcast

Broadway composer Andrew Lippa (THE ADDAMS FAMILY, BIG FISH) joins Patrick Oliver Jones, host of the Why I'll Never Make It podcast, to discuss his musical work on and off Broadway, including his latest collaboration with Kristin Chenoweth on a TIGER KING parody song called "Little Pieces."

From his home in Columbus, Ohio, Lippa shares how working with other creatives and even his own writing process has taken on new meaning in the era of social distancing. Yet he stays as busy as ever and is grateful for the three current projects he's working on.

He also gives behind-the-scenes stories from the early days of writing THE WILD PARTY and how he dealt with the mixed reviews and short Off-Broadway run of that seminal work. And how a phone call from John Kander and later a meeting with Arthur Laurents put those disappointments in perspective.

Lippa recounts that he really learned the business of show from THE ADDAMS FAMILY, starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, and how to manage the expectations that come with a $15 million budget and a Tony nomination for Best Score. But even after a year and a half on Broadway, Lippa and the creative team revamped the show for the national tour, and it is that version that has gone on to be one of the most produced musicals in high schools and community theaters across the country.

He goes on to share how that kind of large-scale Broadway production value may have affected the storytelling and ultimately the longevity of his next Broadway musical, BIG FISH. Since then, Lippa has written more intimate musicals, ones that are personal to him not only as a writer but as a person.

From I AM HARVEY MILK to Jules Feiffer's THE MAN IN THE CEILING, Lippa is not only writing musicals but performing in them as well. The first was in conjunction with the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, a sixty-minute concert with Lippa as the infamous politician and gay-rights activist. The second starred Gavin Creel and Kate Baldwin and had its world premiere at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. It features a musical theater writer, Uncle Lester, who much like Lippa himself "carries around the voices of people, of feeling like people don't believe in me or don't wanna support me. It's really my own voice telling me I suck."

Andrew Lippa showcases how drive and determination combined with sheer talent are certainly helpful to make it in this business. But he's also learned that following his own voice and not bowing to the critics ultimately led to greater passion and fulfillment.

Why I'll Never Make It is a weekly podcast hosted by actor Patrick Oliver Jones and features conversations with fellow creatives about the realities of a career in the arts. With the Broadway season ended and Tony Awards canceled, the podcast is taking a look back at previous Broadway productions. Lippa is the second in a month-long focus on the artists who made those shows happen, with varying degrees of success. Past guests include Lauren Kennedy (SIDE SHOW, SPAMALOT), Lothair Eaton (STARLIGHT EXPRESS), Kelvin Moon Loh (BEETLEJUICE, SPONGEBOB), and Mike Isaacson (Artistic Director of The Muny). Find these episodes and more at whyillnevermakeit.com.

Listen to the episode here!


Related Articles
Vote Now for the Best of the Decade Awards

More Hot Stories For You