When deciding what theater to see, I'm always on the lookout for what's inspiring great conversations. When people are compelled to share their ideas, feelings, and questions, that's when a work has done its job. And the more conversations, the better – a wide range of perspectives helps us better understand what we've seen, and ultimately, better understand ourselves. But finding these conversations between artists, theaters, and audiences is hard.
To help fix this problem, I'm assembling a group theater-lovers to host online post-show discussions about the topics that matter to them, and I'm putting them in a single uncluttered place – a new conversation platform for the arts called Dialogue.
I hope that together we can shape a new space where artists and audiences can start conversations, gain new perspectives, and constructively engage one another about art and life.
In the summer of 2008 - before Glee, Snapchat, Marco Polo, and before most of us had smartphones - a few of us set out to make a musical web series called Boyfred. It was about a guy whose girlfriend goes away overseas, so he built her a website to keep in touch. His name was Fred, but he was her boyfriend, so she always called him Boyfred. Michael Mahler, Alan Schmuckler, Blake Silver and I created a pilot presentation to show others our vision.
With some luck, our project was soon represented by CAA who had interest in pitching it as a television show. From there, in what now seems like a whirlwind, we had the good fortune to work with director Tommy Schlamme (director of The West Wing and Sports Night), Sony Pictures Television, ABC Television Network and executive producer Bruce Helford (creator of The Conners, The Drew Carey Show, and Anger Management).
This is the original pilot presentation from 2008. It features me, Michael, Alan, Dara Cameron, Jackson Evans, and Tony and Grammy award-winning Jessie Mueller. Michael and Alan wrote the music and lyrics, I designed the website that you’ll see in the presentation, and Blake was our director.
A few years later, taking the script we had written for ABC, we were given the opportunity to film our vision with a bigger budget thanks to our producer and co-writer Bruce Helford. Different cast, bigger crew, truncated script, but the same idea.
This updated presentation was shot in 2011. Though it marked the end of this adventure, it remains a quarterlife-defining symbol of everything I love about the process of creating something from nothing.