Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Interview Playwrights Part 552: Jonathan Rand



Jonathan Rand

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

Current Town: Santa Monica, CA

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  An evening of short comedies

Q:  Tell me about Playscripts. How did it come about?

A:  Fifteen years ago my brother Doug and I were two playwrights baffled by the lack of innovation in the play publishing and licensing industry. We founded Playscripts to fill that need and provide playwrights an opportunity to have their work read and produced as much as humanly possible. What started with eight plays in a dorm room has now become a fully-staffed Manhattan enterprise that represents over 1,800 plays by over 900 playwrights, and was ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the nation’s fastest growing companies. It's been an exciting time.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  In the sixth grade I wrote and directed a play in English class called A Nightmare on Sesame Street, in which Big Bird and the gang turn to a life of crime. Huge Pulitzer snub.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  I'd like to say something profound, but my knee-jerk answer is to have a machine that automatically powers down all audience members' cell phones. I'd like to see this for movie theaters, too. And at funerals.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  My grandfather Jerome Sorkin was a master carpenter who made a career building Broadway sets and working as a stagehand. I'd like to think he's the genetic force behind my entire family's theatre obsession.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  The kind where I forget I'm in a theater.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  You'll hear that it's healthy to write as much as possible, to write first and edit later, and so forth -- and that's all great advice. But in order to even get started, you need to sit down and do it. And that means powering down email, Twitter, your iPhone -- everything. If you have to lock all your devices in a safe, do it. Once you've truly eliminated all distractions, you'll have no excuse but to focus on nothing but the page in front of you.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  jonathanrand.com, playscripts.com


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1 comment:

Bobby Keniston said...

Thank you, Adam, for this interview with Mr. Rand, who, as a writer, has contributed to making theatre exciting for schools all across the country. As if this were not contribution enough, as a playwright, I cannot express how appreciative I am toward Playscripts. I have a play placed with them ("Confession: Kafka in High School"), and am honored to be a part of their catalogue.