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Sep 27, 2019

I Interview Playwrights Part 1061: Ron West







Ron West

Hometown: Middlefield, Ohio

Current Town: Santa Monica, CA.

Q: Tell me about Neil Simon's Musical Fools.

A:  A number of years ago, my songwriting partner's wife directed Fools at the high school where she teaches. Phil wrote on his program, "Better as a musical," and let that incubate for a few years before he told me about it. As luck would have it, we ended up having the same attorney as Neil Simon and we got permission to adapt the play. Mr. Simon did most of the heavy lifting because we adhered to the script closely. I regret to say we never spoke to or heard from him. When Phil's wife Amanda was working at another high school, she produced Neil Simon's Musical Fools and Mrs. Simon (AKA Elaine Joyce) came to see it and gave it the stamp of approval, essentially.

Q: What else are you working on now?

A:  A musical adaptation of Richard III in yet another collaboration with composer Phil Swann.

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

A:  I would throw more paying work my way.

Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  My theatrical heroes are my band and choir conductors who taught me about managing big groups of people. Also, my parents, who didn't tell me, "This is insane; don't do this," even though it was insane and I shouldn't have done it.

Q: What kind of theater excites you?

A:  The one where I show up expecting nothing and go away thinking, "I've got to steal as much of that as possible."

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

A:  Don't type a lot of stuff in parentheses that tells the actors how to say the lines.

Q: Plugs, please:

A:  You mean like, "See Neil Simon's Musical Fools, the funniest thing on 30 legs."

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