Variety Legit!: The Return to Broadway presented by City National Bank hosted a conversation with four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks. The legendary director is responsible for shepherding such smashes as “Little Shop of Horrors”, “A Bronx Tale”, and “Sister Act.”

Now, with two new musicals returning to the stage, “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “The Music Man,” Zaks discussed the difficulties of keeping a cast and crew together through the pandemic and the herculean task of bringing the productions back to life with Variety’s Brent Lang.

“This is what I love more than anything else,” Zaks said, it’s why he knew the shows would return. The love is shared by his cast. His star of the “Music Man”, Hugh Jackman danced throughout the pandemic with co-star Sutton Foster to stay in shape.

It’s those connections he makes with the actors that brings him the most pleasure. “My pride and joy is making sure that any actor that I’m responsible for directing gives the best performance he or she is capable of giving, that’s something I just have loved doing,” Zaks said and the pandemic wasn’t going to stop him from doing that.

With “Mrs. Doubtfire” the pandemic allowed them the time to work on the script, to identify those places in the show that needed help. It also gave them a chance to reach out to the LGBTQ community and find a way to modernize the story.

“Music Man” he explained had other concerns, the main one being star Hugh Jackman’s time, but it was quickly alleviated when Jackman told him he was so excited for the year ahead, movies be damned.

Zaks discussed his love of comedy and the pleasure he gets hearing laughter fill the theater. Along the way, he discussed his journey from being a pre-med student at Dartmouth to his years acting and finally discovering his calling as a director.

Watch the full conversation above.