Noises Off: ‘Sawyer’ composer unbowed

Chalks it up to 'learning experience'

“I’m hooked!” exclaims Don Schlitz. His “Adventures of Tom Sawyer” may have had the shortest life span of any Broadway show this season (21 perfs) but the acclaimed songwriter is not going the route of Paul Simon, who wrote one tuner, “The Capeman,” never to return to the form.

“It’s been a learning experience that will only serve to make me a better writer for the theater,” says the two-time Grammy winner. “Writing from source material has given me a totally brand-new passion for songwriting, the past few weeks notwithstanding.”

Schlitz flew back to Gotham from his home in Nashville to take in the last two perfs of “Tom Sawyer,” on May 12 and 13.

“On Saturday night, I sat with Beverley Randolph and watched her call the show. In high school I always wanted to know what happened backstage.” The very last performance he sat with the musicians and Paul Gemignani. “Everyone should have a chance to sit in the pit at least once,” he says.

Surprisingly, Schlitz isn’t writing any country songs right now or in the foreseeable future, although his “If You Can Do Anything Else” and “Why They Call It Falling” are on the charts.

“I’m putting my energies into this new musical,” he explains, refusing to give any details. “It’s still under the radar until the producers announce it. But this is what I want to do. I want to write musicals for a long, long time.”

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