Broadway’s finest ventured to the Marriott Marquis in Times Square on May 22 to celebrate five-time Tony award winning director-choreographer Susan Stroman.
The recipient of the New Dramatists’ lifetime achievement award, Stroman was the toast of org’s 65th annual Spring Luncheon tribute.
In between performances from Jason Danieley, Taylor Mac, Marin Mazzie and the cast of “The Scottsboro Boys,” Stroman talked about her latest legit work with Woody Allen on the tuner version of the 1994 hit “Bullets Over Broadway.”
“The most interesting part of working on this project was finding music that was authentically from the 1920s,” Stroman said. “Woody is a wonderful musician, so we sat around with different books filled with music and we talked about what kind of songs would push the plot forward.”
Stroman earned her 14th Tony nom for choreography for the tuner, which she also directed.
“Bullets” was left out of the top musical race, but scored six bids altogether — including one for book writer Allen.
Before her performance of “I Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle” from “Bullets,” Mazzie, who plays Helen Sinclair, said that despite Allen’s absence from the event, she feels that the film director is happy with his venture into the legit world.
“It was something that (Woody) was initially reluctant to do,” said Mazzie. “But I think it ended up being such a great experience for him. He was there for every preview (performance) except for Monday nights when he played (his clarinet) at the Carlyle Hotel. After each of those shows he would bring in new jokes. I literally couldn’t wait for the day after each preview.”
For Tony-nominated co-star Nick Cordero, working with Stroman and Allen was “equally intimidating.”
“They are both giants in their industries,” Cordero said. “But that intimidation was short-lived especially with Susan. On my first audition I knew (Woody) was going to be in the room, and she came up and (got right in my face) and said, ‘You are going to do this. It’s going to be great.’ She had a way of focusing all of my nervous energy into her eyes.”
A legit org that focuses on supporting and advocating for playwrights, New Dramatists has given lifetime kudos in the past to Meryl Streep, Glenn Close and Edward Albee, among others.