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Welcome to The Dramatists Guild's
In the Room Series

The Dramatists Guild of America invites you In the Room with some of the most celebrated playwrights, composers and lyricists in the American theatre discussing craft while sharing their influences and experiences when creating their most celebrated work.

Through In the Room you have access to the Dramatists Guild's archived audio featuring Stephen Sondheim, Edward Albee, Theresa Rebeck, Doug Wright, Paula Vogel, David Auburn, Sarah Ruhl, Terrence McNally, Lynn Nottage, Tina Howe, A.R. Gurney, Moises Kaufman, Micki Grant, Lanford Wilson and countless others.

Join us In the Room every other week for a new episode.

Read more about the Dramatists Guild's In the Room audio here

Episode 69
Stephen Sondheim, Gretchen Cryer, and Hal Prince

In this episode, listen to lyricist Stephen Sondheim and director Hal Prince discuss the ups and downs of collaborating with each other, as well as give advice to those who wish to collaborate in the future. Moderated by Gretchen Cryer.

  Click Here for Episode 69

David Ives and Kirsten Greenidge

In our third compilation episode, listen to David Ives talk about life, love, and Roman Polanski, followed by Kirsten Greenidge's advice on how to juggle family and playwriting.

  Click Here for Episode 68


Originally recorded in 2002.

Stephen Schwartz and Alfred Uhry

In our second compilation episode, Stephen Schwartz and Alfred Uhry discuss their adaptation processes.

  Click Here for Episode 67


Originally recorded in 2003 and 2009.

Emily Mann and Moises Kaufman

In our compilation episode, Edward Albee speaks with Council member Emily Mann about playwriting and directing. Itamar Moses and Dramatists Guild member Moises Kaufman discuss inspirations in their work.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 66

Michael Weller

Council member Michael Weller (Moonchildren50 Words) discusses how his background in musical training informs his writing.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 65

Jason Robert Brown

In a master class with Guild members, Tony award-winning composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, The Bridges of Madison County, Honeymoon in Vegas) discusses the ins-and-outs of theatrical songwriting, including some examples from his own work.

Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 64

Emily Mann

Award-winning playwright and director Emily Mann (Artistic Director of McCarter Theatre and DG Council member) describes her creative process originating work based on actual events and real people.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 63

Timothy Mason

Timothy Mason (Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, Babylon Gardens) joins DG members for a conversation about the business of being a playwright.


Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 62

Grey Gardens with Scott Frankel, Michael Korie and Doug Wright

The award-winning writing team of Grey Gardens, Scott Frankel, Michael Korie and Doug Wright, discuss bringing a cult classic film to Broadway.

Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 61

Jeanine Tesori

In an interview for publication in the Broadway Issue of The Dramatist, Jeanine Tesori shares her process and talks about the musical inspiration for her award-winning Violet and Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center.

Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 60

John Guare

In a conversation recorded in 1994, John Guare, playwright of House of Blue Leaves and Six Degrees of Separation, talks about his creative process and how returning to his writing journal helps shape his plays.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 59

Andrew Lippa

As a part of the Dramatists Guild and Dramatists Guild Fund's Traveling Masters Program Andrew Lippa, the award-winning writer of The Wild Party and Broadway's recent Big Fish,talks to theatre students and Guild members about his process and how challenging events in our lives can influence our art.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 58

Copyright Matters: Part 2
with Stephen Schwartz, Doug Wright, Gwydion Suilebhan, Ralph Sevush, and Maria A. Pallante

Joining Maria Pallante (US Registrar of Copyrights) are Council members Stephen Schwartz and Doug Wright along with DG Regional Rep Gwydion Suilebhan and Executive Director of Business Affairs Ralph Sevush talking about the effect of owning their work and how copyright empowers dramatists around the country.

Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 57

Copyright Matters: Part 1
with Maria A. Pallante

In a recent event held at the US Copyright Office, Maria Pallante, US Registrar of Copyrights and Director of the United States Copyright Office, discusses the laws providing protection of an author's work and their impact on a dramatist's means to make a living.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 56

Tina Howe

Council member and award-winning playwright Tina Howe shares her unique process and talks about discovering the world of her play before writing a single word.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 55

John Patrick Shanley

In a DG series on craft, John Patrick Shanley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of this season's Outside Mullingar and Doubt: A Parable, discusses his preparation to writing and shares insight to his process.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 54

Christopher Durang

Christopher Durang, last year's Tony Award-winning playwright of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, joins theatre students and fellow Guild members for a conversation on craft and collaborations that led up to his recent success on Broadway.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 53

Kirsten Greenidge

As any dramatist can attest, it isn't easy to balance a day job with a personal life and find time for writing. At a DG event in Boston, Kirsten Greenidge, New Dramatists Alumni and playwright of Milk Like Sugar, joined members for a conversation about prioritizing and managing the pressures of production with a full life.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 52

Martin Charnin with Gretchen Cryer

Two award-winning lyricists, Martin Charnin and Gretchen Cryer, discuss the road to production and the process of rewriting.

Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 51

Wendy Wasserstein

In an interview with Buzz McLaughlin, Wendy Wasserstein, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of The Heidi Chronicles, talks about developing an initial idea into something 'stage worthy.'

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 50

Dramatists in the Age of New Media

DC Regional Rep and communications strategist Gwydion Suilebhan explains that new media doesn't have to be something scary or intimidating, but in fact can be very helpful to dramatists - for those who engage.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 49

David Ives

David Ives, DG Council member and award-winning playwright of Venus in Fur and All In The Timing, talks about the life of a writer: day jobs, having an artistic home, and the impact other dramatists have on our work.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 48

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Join the award-winning composer-lyricist of In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda, in a conversation about his process, inspirations, deadlines, collaborations and what's next for this actor, writer, rapper and tweeter extraordinaire.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 47

Lisa Kron

A career in the theatre may not be easy to sustain, but we pursue it because as dramatists we believe in the power of the spoken word. Join us In the Room for this extremely powerful keynote conference address from a master story-teller, Lisa Kron, the award-winning playwright and actress of 2.5 Minute Ride and Well.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 46

Doug Wright

In a conversation recorded at the Dramatists Guild's 2013 National Conference, Doug Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of I Am My Own Wife, talks about his motivation to write and explores the characters on whom he fixates.

Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 45

George C. Wolfe

In a keynote session from The Dramatists Guild's Second National Conference, the award-winning playwright and director George C. Wolfe talks about the survival skills you need to sustain a career in the theatre.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 44

Adaptation & Translation

There are a number of questions and considerations when adapting a film, novel, short story and bringing a public figure to life on stage. A panel of award-winning dramatists, Doug Wright (Grey Gardens), Carol Hall (A Christmas Memory), Winnie Holzman (Wicked), and David Ives (Venus In Fur), discuss their processes and relationships to source material.  

Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 43

Theresa Rebeck

Theresa Rebeck, award-winning playwright, screenwriter and author, shares her thoughts on the struggles of the modern-day dramatist in a spirited conversation with Gary Garrison at the Dramatists Guild National Conference.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 42

Writing Wicked with Stephen Schwartz & Winnie Holzman

Composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz and librettist Winnie Holzman discuss their collaborative journey down the yellow brick road; from stumbling upon Gregory Maguire's imaginative novel, Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West to developing this incredibly complex story into a mega Broadway musical hit.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 41

Martha Lavey

Steppenwolf's Artistic Director Martha Lavey discusses the theatre company's history with new work and how those writers have improved the health of their ensemble with Chicago Regional Rep Douglas Post.

Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 40

DG Controversies & Their Resolutions

The Guild's President Stephen Schwartz, former President John Weidman, and its Executive Director of Business Affairs Ralph Sevush discuss the critical issues and controversies that have been facing the Guild and its membership in recent years, including such topics as subsidiary rights, directors' claim to copyright, censorship, dramaturgy, and contests & festivals.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 39

Christopher Durang

Christopher Durang, recent Tony Award-winning playwright of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, talks about his unique style of writing in a session recorded from the DG's first national conference.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 38

Julia Jordan

Council member Julia Jordan talks about the importance of gender parity on American stages in one of three keynotes delivered at the Dramatists Guild's first national conference.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 37

David Ives

In a session featured at the Dramatists Guild's first national conference, David Ives shares the process for creating his widely-produced All In The Timing and Broadway's recent Venus In Fur. A master of comedy writing, Ives imparts advice to fellow Guild members as only he could: with wit and charm.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 36

Israel Horovitz with Peter Parnell

There's no doubt about it: writer's block is frustrating, even crazy-making. Join veteran playwright and screenwriter Israel Horovitz with Council member Peter Parnell In The Room for a conversation about finding inspiration in simple places.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 35

Alfred Uhry & A.R. Gurney

Alfred Uhry discusses his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Driving Miss Daisy and its adaptation for the screen in a conversation with A.R. Gurney.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 34




Sheldon Harnick & Lynn Ahrens

As a part of DG Academy, Sheldon Harnick and Lynn Ahrens joined Guild members for a conversation about writing for musical theatre. The award-winning lyricists discuss how the theatre drew them to writing and how their careers developed over time.

Click Here for Episode 33

Extended Version




John Kander & Stephen Flaherty

John Kander, the award-winning composer behind Cabaret, Chicago, and The Scottsboro Boys, talks about his collaborations with Fred Ebb in a conversation with DG Council member Stephen Flaherty.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 32




Emily Mann & Edward Albee

Award-winning playwright and director Emily Mann joins her fellow Council member, Edward Albee, to discuss directing for the theatre from a playwright's perspective.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 31




Neil Simon & Terrence McNally

One of America's most popular and prolific playwrights, Neil Simon, joins Council member Terrence McNally for a conversation about comedy writing. Simon, the award-winning playwright of works such as The Odd Couple, Brighton Beach Memoirs and Lost in Yonkers, discusses the difference between writing characters and writing jokes.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 30




Donald Margulies

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies reads from his early work and discusses developing his writing style for stage and screen with fellow Council Member Jeffrey Sweet.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 29




Alan Menken

Alan Menken, award-winning composer and Council member, discusses writing for stage and screen with fellow DG members while also playing songs from his body of work, including Little Shop of Horrors and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.

 Click Here for Episode 28Extended Version



John Weidman

John Weidman, award-winning librettist and DG Council member, discusses his experience working in the musical theatre and collaborating on shows such as Pacific Overtures and Assassins with Stephen Sondheim.


Extended Version Click Here for Episode 27




Marsha Norman

Marsha Norman who has received multiple awards for her body of work including the Pulitzer Prize for 'night, Mother, discusses her start in the theatre and shares her experience with Gary Garrison, the Executive Director of Creative Affairs.

 Extended Version Click Here for Episode 26



Dael Orlandersmith

Award-winning playwright and actor Dael Orlandersmith discusses her process and the various influences behind her work with DG Executive Director of Creative Affairs Gary Garrison.

 Extended Version Click Here for Episode 25



Peter Shaffer with John Guare

In a conversation with Council member John Guare, Peter Shaffer discusses writing Five Finger Exercise, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Black Comedy and his Tony Award-winning Equus.

Extended Version  Click Here for Episode 24




"Q&A with Stephen Sondheim"

Legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim joins Guild members for a session of questions and answers. Pulling from his personal experience, Mr.Sondheim shares insight to the process of writing, pitching and producing new works.

 Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 23



Charles Strouse and Lee Adams "On Collaboration"


In an audio recording from 1977, Lee Adams and Charles Strouse, Tony Award-winning collaborators on Bye Bye Birdie and Applause, talk to Guild members about sustaining a partnership and using your strengths to bring out the best work of one another.

 Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 22




Lanford Wilson

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson joins Council member Jeffrey Sweet for a conversation that is as much a session on his writing process as it is a remembrance of his warmth and passion for the theatre.


Extended Version Click Here for Episode 21




Micki Grant with Kia Corthron

Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Micki Grant discusses the challenges and rewards of writing book, lyrics and music in a conversation with fellow Council member Kia Corthron.


Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 20




Stephen Schwartz

Stephen Schwartz, composer and lyricist of Godspell, Pippin and Wicked, among many others, talks with Larry Dean Harris at the Guild's first National Conference about working with collaborators and the process of adapting work.


 Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 19



Todd London

In the Keynote address from the DG's National Conference Todd London, Artistic Director of New Dramatists, delivers an anthem to the American playwright that urges dramatists to forge on with hope and pride of what we can achieve.


 More MediaClick Here for Episode 18



Moises Kaufman and Itamar Moses

Moises Kaufman, the author of The Laramie Project and 33 Variations, shares in an interview with Itamar Moses how having a director's perspective informs his writing.


Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 17




Bonus Episode: Rajiv Joseph and Moises Kaufman

Recording from DG Academy: DuoLogue with Rajiv Joseph and Moises Kaufman. 2012.

Click Here for Bonus Episode




Lin-Manuel Miranda with Jeanine Tesori

Jeanine Tesori joins Lin-Manuel Miranda, the award-winning composer and lyricist behind In the Heights, to discuss how a show with humble beginnings became a worldwide phenomenon.


 Extended Version  Click Here for Episode 16 


originally recorded in 2007 

Edward Albee "A Weekend Workshop" - Part 2

Inthe Room adds Council member and legendary playwright Edward Albee toits roster of celebrated dramatists featured on the series. Originallyrecorded in 1977, this session is separated into two parts and givesextraordinary insight into the process of writing his world-renownedworks Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Delicate Balance and The Zoo Story.

In part two of "A Weekend Workshop" Edward Albee explains his relationship to characters and how to find spontaneity in your writing by using both the conscious and subconscious mind.

Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 15




Edward Albee "A Weekend Workshop" - Part 1


Join master playwright Edward Albee as he responds to questions from Dramatists Guild members on the craft of developing characters who can truly affect an audience. Share in his methods of creating character before the first draft is written.


Extended Version

Click Here for Episode 14




Lyricists on Writing New Musicals

Three composer/lyricists engage in a conversation on the craft of writing a lyric and the detail needed to complete that one special line set to music. Join us In the Room with Susan Birkenhead, Kirsten Childs and Adam Guettel for a nuts and bolts session on creating a character's voice through rhyme.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 13




Composers on Writing New Musicals

Council members John Kander and Stephen Flaherty join Jeanine Tesori, Rick Freyer and 'Skip' Kennon for a conversation about the composer's role in the development of new musicals. With their wealth of experience, the discerning panel advises young composers on their relationships with collaborators as well as the prospects of readings and workshops.

Extended Version

Click Here for Episode 12 



Charles Busch

Self-described as "driven to be on stage," Charles Busch has forged a career as both a writer and actor. In his interview with Rich Orloff, Busch examines the rejection he's faced and describes how he learned to value his own voice.

 Click Here for Episode 11 Extended Version



A.R. Gurney and Theresa Rebeck

Join us In the Room with two widely produced playwrights discussing their work for the stage, screen and everything in between. As dramatists we hear all sorts of horror stories about how writing for T.V., novels, or entering the world of academia can hinder your writing, but Rebeck and Gurney through their candor, wit and wisdom suggest that while writing for the theatre is special, there can be other opportunities to help you make a living while also contributing to your craft.

 Extended Version Click Here for Episode 10 



Lynn Nottage with Nilo Cruz

Nilo Cruz examines with DG Council member Lynn Nottage, the inspiration for Nottage's Ruined and Las Meninas. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights talk through her use of first and secondary sources of research to impact characters and settings in her work.

Click Here for Episode 9 





The Making of Urinetown Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis

How did Urinetown go from a show with a provocative title to a Broadway hit?

While Hollmann and Kotis had a fruitful collaboration working with a unique idea, they faced numerous rejection letters and hesitation about their material. So the writing team did what anyone who believes in their work would, they produced it themselves, a risk that paid off in a big way. Hollmann and Kotis are joined by fellow DG member and the original 'Bobby Strong,' Hunter Foster, in a conversation about Urinetown's journey from the Fringe Festival to the Broadway stage.


Extended VersionClick Here for Episode 8




Tina Howe with Sarah Ruhl

The inimitable Tina Howe brings Sarah's unique style of poetic language, dynamic stage directions and wide range of mythical characters to discussion of Aristotle, Mac vs. PC, motherhood, weeping coins and working with invisible colleagues. The conversation between Howe and Ruhl taps into real struggles of finding time to write, getting started with a first draft and the extensive process of editing and revisions.

Extended Version Click Here for Episode 7




Arthur Kopit

Recorded in 1985, Arthur Kopit talks through the pressures that playwrights face meeting the expectations of an audience and the influence the marketplace can have on the success of their work.

Click Here for Episode 6 More Media




David Auburn on Proof

In a session recorded in 2001, David Auburn discusses his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Proof, and how he learned from the process as it developed from the production at Manhattan Theatre Club to its transfer to Broadway. In the discussion, Auburn recalls how the collaborations with director Daniel Sullivan, cast and design team contributed to the success of the production.

Click Here for Episode 5 Extended Version




Doug Wright & Terrence McNally

Dramatists Guild Council members Doug Wright and Terrence McNally reminisce about their experiences working with actors such as Geoffrey Rush, Zoe Caldwell and Nathan Lane, imparting their wisdom in actor-writer collaboration.

This session, originally recorded in 2007, is a learning tool for playwrights working with actors and offers actors insight to what a playwright may expect from them in the rehearsal process.

Click Here for Episode 4Extended Version




Paula Vogel – An Evening with Paula Vogel

In the Room features Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel who discusses the delicate relationship between writer and director in the collaborative process as well as the need for empowering women playwrights in contemporary theatre.

Click Here for Episode 3 Extended Version




Stephen Sondheim 'on theatre lyrics' – Part 2

In part two of Stephen Sondheim on theatre lyrics, Mr. Sondheim reveals the "one secret of lyric writing worth selling." He discusses playwriting principles that impact lyrics while recounting the collaborations that have left him with the wisdom he passes along to lyricists as well as playwrights.

Click Here for Episode 2Extended Version




Stephen Sondheim 'on theatre lyrics' – Part 1

It isn't every day you have the opportunity to hear from a master composer and lyricist on the principles and influences that helped shape a career unparalleled in the American theatre.

In a session originally titled "Theatre Lyrics," Council member and former President of The Dramatists Guild, Stephen Sondheim, discusses the principles of lyric writing behind some of his most notable works: Company, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Gypsy, and West Side Story.

In this conversation with Guild members, Stephen Sondheim goes in depth to share his experienced perspective on craft, while sharing insight on works of Oscar Hammerstein and Cole Porter as well as his own.

Click Here for Episode 1Extended Version





Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed this episode of In the Room, email your feedback to intheroom@dramatistsguild.com.