Saturday, November 15, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 706: Matt Schatz




Matt Schatz

Hometown:
Childhood: Turnersville, NJ.
Adulthood: New York, NY

Current Town: 
Los Angeles, CA

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  OK, let’s see:

I just finished a draft of a play with songs about quantum physicist Hugh Everett III and his wife Nancy called WHERE EVER IT MAY BE.

I just started a musical with Anna Ziegler about 1950s quiz show prodigy Lenny Ross.

I have a commission from a Broadway producer to write a musical about hip-hop in early 1980s NYC that I should probably get started on. But she doesn’t want me to write the music (just the book and lyrics) so we need to find a composer first…

Also, some TV stuff. But who fucking cares about that?

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

A:  I “flunked” the third grade and had to repeat it. It was hard, but I used it as an opportunity to sort of reinvent myself.

Since then, I’ve tried to use all my flunkings as reinvention opportunities. And I am constantly flunking.

Also, when I was a teenager, my family had to move and I had to get rid of my dog, who I am certain was shortly thereafter destroyed. So now, I love everyone very much, but am emotionless when they leave me or when I leave them. My dog’s name was Wolfgang.

Also, from a very young age, I have been obsessed with the film Amadeus.

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

A:  No more adaptations.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Here’s some heroes, not all theater types:

Frank Loesser, Sheldon Harnick, Yip Harburg, Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Fields, Martin McDonough, Adler and Ross, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Mike Leigh, Nicole Holofcener, George Bernard Shaw, the Cohen Brothers, Noah Baumbach, William Goldman, Peter Shaffer, Kurt Vonnegut, Phillip Roth, Paula Vogel, Kanye West, Billy Bragg, Regina Spektor, Stephin Merritt, David Mamet, Woody Allen, Allan Sherman, Allen Iverson, and all of my playwright, musical theater writing, songwriting and screenwriting friends who inspire me with bitterness and bitter me with inspiration.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Theater that is inexpensive and short. Or theater that is so exciting, surprising, entertaining, funny and/or heartbreaking that I didn’t even notice how long or expensive it was.

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

A:  Try to live in New York. At least for a little while. Its not-worth-it-ness is totally worth it. Also, when you’re there don’t see too many plays. Its worth-it-ness is totally not worth it.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  My aforementioned play with songs WHERE EVER IT MAY BE is having its first and maybe only reading at the Ensemble Studio Theatre (549 West 52nd Street) as part of the First Light Festival on Monday, November 24th at 7PM. It is free and short and we have an amazing cast, a brilliant director and I will be playing the guitar and piano. Come! You don’t even gotta RSVP.
 

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