Interview: Broadway Producer Julian Schlossberg

Producer Julian Schlossberg's autobiography, TRY NOT TO HOLD IT AGAINST ME, is a chronicle of singular moments and stars of Broadway.

Review: BEN BUTLER At Don Bluth Front Row Theatre

BroadwayWorld/Phoenix is delighted to welcome Lee Cooley as a guest contributor to its pages. In his distinctive style, Cooley ~ an ariZoni award-winning actor and director ~ gives his unique perspective on producer Julian Schlossberg's autobiography, TRY NOT TO HOLD IT AGAINST ME

What do Alan Arkin, Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Richard Dreyfus, Elia Kazan, Shirley MacLaine, Mike Nichols, Robert Preston, Vanessa Redgrave, George C. Scott and Marlo Thomas have in common? Julian Schlossberg for one.

It could have been a stage or screen connection -- like when Schlossberg pissed off Elaine May during a screening in 1976, as he elaborated on during this interview with Broadway World.

"I was working at Paramount at the time. We were doing a sneak preview of Mikey and Nicky, and Elaine said, 'Make sure you don't put my name in the ad because they'll think it's a comedy and it isn't.'

"I said, 'Fine' and went into a meeting with the head of the studio. He said, 'Oh, no. We're gonna use her name.' At that point, I should've called and told Elaine, but I didn't."

The audience expected a comedy like A New Leaf (written, directed and co-starring May) or The Heartbreak Kid (she directed) but Mikey and Nicky was a crime-drama starring Falk and Cassavetes.

"At the end of the screening, Elaine said to me, 'You know what a liar is? You said my name would not be in there!' And my boss said, 'Well, I overruled him.' That helped a little bit, but she was very upset with me." Schlossberg eventually won May back, along with the rights to her film.

That was nearly 50 years ago, and they've been working together ever since - longer than she did with Mike Nichols! "I knew Mike ahead of Elaine, but I met Elaine through Warren Beatty." He's produced all of her plays since they met, including Taller Than a Dwarf and one-acts Hotline and George is Dead.

Not bad for a kid from the Bronx who survived polio before the vaccine, started his show business career scalping tickets at the Kingsbridge Armory and later went on to conserve more than 200 classic motion pictures - including Orson Welles' Othello.

You can read more about Schlossberg's cinema and stage orbit in his autobiography, Try Not to Hold It Against Me. The first printing sold out in two days and he's now 35 chapters into writing another book.

His recollections are affectionately and often hilariously shared in 86 bite-sized chapters - like the time he crashed a Frank Sinatra recording at Rockefeller Center, or stalked Elia Kazan in New York City for three days before being invited to distribute Baby Doll and A Face in the Crowd.

The book follows Schlossberg's unlikely rise from scheduling makegood programming for network TV, to distributing artsy films in small-to-medium television markets, to VP of worldwide acquisition at Paramount -- all before establishing his own film production and distribution company.

"I had a wonderful library that I was very proud of -- including John Ford's Stagecoach, Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent, Lubitsch's To Be Or Not to Be...films by John Cassavetes. Some (like Kazan) believed in me and gave me their movies to distribute."

So, what's next after he finishes writing his follow up book? Some might call it 'Schlossberg's Folly'.

"I have incredible interviews (that) I did for Witnesses to the 20th Century -- 140 of the most extraordinary people on the planet...President George H.W. Bush, seven secretaries of state, Clint Eastwood and Bishop Tutu...Willie Mays was fantastic! Elaine is writing and directing and I'm producing."

Until then, visit your favorite bookstore or online retailer for a copy of Try Not to Hold It Against Me.

Photo courtesy of the author: L to R ~ Elaine May, Julian Schlossberg and Alan Arkin


The Studio to Present NEW SUMMER SHORTS Festival in June

The NEW SUMMER SHORTS Festival runs for 2 weeks from June 8 through June 18, Thursday through Friday nights at 7:30 pm with Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.

Local Stars Align To Benefit Theatre Artists Studio

Four of Phoenix's own notable musical stars will come back Together Again in a benefit concert for the Theatre Artists Studio on June 24th. Headed by Matt Rollings, (Phoenix Country Day School, Young Sounds, Mr. Luckys, Berklee College of Music and Nashville) Matt is a Grammy award winning musician, composer, and producer whose iconic piano can be heard on literally thousands of albums, perhaps most notably Lyle Lovett.

Adult Dance Camp Comes to The Phoenix Theatre Company

Summer camp is traditionally something for kids, but at The Phoenix Theatre Company, adults are invited to a special kind of summer experience: Summer of Dance. It’s eight weeks of dance classes for people at all skill levels, ages 15 to 80 years old. Professional choreographers teach a variety of classes four nights a week from June 5 through July 27. This is the program’s 15th year in the Valley.

Review: BEN BUTLER At Don Bluth Front Row Theatre

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From This Author - Herbert Paine

Herb Paine ~ Herb has served as Senior Contributing Editor and lead reviewer for BWW's Phoenix Metro Region since 2014. He has been acclaimed as BEST THEATRE CRITIC by PHOENIX magazine&#... (read more about this author)


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