Story and Horse

Optimism & Trust: Creating Musical Theatre with Paul Libman & Dave Hudson

February 12, 2022 Hilary Adams Season 1 Episode 16
Optimism & Trust: Creating Musical Theatre with Paul Libman & Dave Hudson
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Story and Horse
Optimism & Trust: Creating Musical Theatre with Paul Libman & Dave Hudson
Feb 12, 2022 Season 1 Episode 16
Hilary Adams

Optimism & Trust: Creating Musical Theatre with Paul Libman & Dave Hudson

Paul Libman and Dave Hudson have worked together for twenty years, creating more than ten musicals together,  including two that won the prestigious Richard Rodgers Award for New Musicals. Paul is the composer, and Dave is the book writer and lyricist of the team. We talk about their partnership and collaborative process, and they share personal stories about creative inspirations and moments of transformation. Dave and Paul also offer actionable suggestions for creativity in general and aspects of musical theatre building in particular. Enjoy this uplifting conversation with an award-winning musical theatre duo!

Guest Bios:
PAUL LIBMAN Musical theatre is Paul Libman’s destination on a journey that began with playing jazz piano, composing for television and radio commercials and producing records. After winning the Richard Rodgers Award twice for two different musicals with collaborator Dave Hudson, Paul relocated to New York, where he currently is a member of the Lehman Engel BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop. He is also the creator, arranger and producer of the hit comedy CD, Oy To The World! A Klezmer Christmas.

Now, having had seven successfully produced musicals, he continues to write with Dave Hudson and others. Earlier this year, Paul and Dave celebrated a “double premiere” — the premiere of No Bones About It as part of the premiere season of Northern Sky Theater in Door County Wisconsin.

DAVE HUDSON Dave Hudson (Dramatists Guild, ASCAP) has been writing plays since he was in high school and for the past decade he has focused exclusively on musicals. 2015 saw the premier of his 23rd and 24th musicals. His work ranges from the poetic Dust and Dreams, an adaptation of Carl Sandburg’s Pulitzer Prize winning Cornhuskers to No Bones About It a comedic musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set among the world of competitive barbecue. He also writes for youth theater and just completed his seventh youth musical, Tut, Tut! which is published by Beat by Beat Press.

With Paul Libman, he is a two time winner of the prestigious Richard Rodgers Award for New Musicals and his work has been produced throughout the Midwest.

Connect with Dave & Paul
Website: http://libmanhudson.com/
There is a contact form on the site to drop them a note.

Also Mentioned
Northern Sky Theatre: https://northernskytheater.com/

Connect with Story and Horse
www.storyandhorse.com
Facebook: @storyandhorse
Instagram: @storyandhorse

Host Hilary Adams is an award-winning theatre director and coach. She is all about supporting people's creative expression and sharing stories with the world.  

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

Optimism & Trust: Creating Musical Theatre with Paul Libman & Dave Hudson

Paul Libman and Dave Hudson have worked together for twenty years, creating more than ten musicals together,  including two that won the prestigious Richard Rodgers Award for New Musicals. Paul is the composer, and Dave is the book writer and lyricist of the team. We talk about their partnership and collaborative process, and they share personal stories about creative inspirations and moments of transformation. Dave and Paul also offer actionable suggestions for creativity in general and aspects of musical theatre building in particular. Enjoy this uplifting conversation with an award-winning musical theatre duo!

Guest Bios:
PAUL LIBMAN Musical theatre is Paul Libman’s destination on a journey that began with playing jazz piano, composing for television and radio commercials and producing records. After winning the Richard Rodgers Award twice for two different musicals with collaborator Dave Hudson, Paul relocated to New York, where he currently is a member of the Lehman Engel BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop. He is also the creator, arranger and producer of the hit comedy CD, Oy To The World! A Klezmer Christmas.

Now, having had seven successfully produced musicals, he continues to write with Dave Hudson and others. Earlier this year, Paul and Dave celebrated a “double premiere” — the premiere of No Bones About It as part of the premiere season of Northern Sky Theater in Door County Wisconsin.

DAVE HUDSON Dave Hudson (Dramatists Guild, ASCAP) has been writing plays since he was in high school and for the past decade he has focused exclusively on musicals. 2015 saw the premier of his 23rd and 24th musicals. His work ranges from the poetic Dust and Dreams, an adaptation of Carl Sandburg’s Pulitzer Prize winning Cornhuskers to No Bones About It a comedic musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set among the world of competitive barbecue. He also writes for youth theater and just completed his seventh youth musical, Tut, Tut! which is published by Beat by Beat Press.

With Paul Libman, he is a two time winner of the prestigious Richard Rodgers Award for New Musicals and his work has been produced throughout the Midwest.

Connect with Dave & Paul
Website: http://libmanhudson.com/
There is a contact form on the site to drop them a note.

Also Mentioned
Northern Sky Theatre: https://northernskytheater.com/

Connect with Story and Horse
www.storyandhorse.com
Facebook: @storyandhorse
Instagram: @storyandhorse

Host Hilary Adams is an award-winning theatre director and coach. She is all about supporting people's creative expression and sharing stories with the world.  

Support the Show.

Intro:

Welcome to Story and Horse, a podcast where we hear stories from creative lives. Meet new people, hear about their challenges and triumphs, and get inspired to move forward with your creativity. Now, here's your host, Hilary Adams.

Hilary Adams:

Hello, thanks for joining us here on the Story and Horse Podcast. I'm Hilary Adams, creative coach, theater director and founder of Story and Horse. I offer personalized coaching for creative people. And hear on podcast we share stories from creative lives. Today we are joined by Dave Hudson and Paul Libman, Paul and Dave have written 10+ musicals together, including two Richard Rogers winning musicals. Dave is lyricist and book writer of the team and Paul is the composer. Welcome David. Paul.

Paul Libman:

Great to be here.

Dave Hudson:

Yeah, we're excited to be here. Very fun.

Hilary Adams:

So, Dave, I think you're gonna lead us off by telling us a little bit about who you are and what you're up to.

Dave Hudson:

So I am Dave Hudson, and I'm a lyricist, book writer, pretty much is how I fall in. I've done lyrics for a couple of projects. But mostly I do lyrics and book. Paul and I have worked together since 2003, or 2004, I think. And, you know, we had this instant chemistry as writers. As soon as we started writing, we were like, like, you know, I sent him lyrics I sent him let me put it this way, I sent him three lyrics. And the next day, I had three songs returned to me in demo form. So it was an instant chemistry. And it's always been just a really joyful process working with him. And we, we've worked with, and we still work with other people, but we always talk about how what we do together is it has that chemistry that that you can't define with certain teams, you know, candor, and I've had it, other other teams had it. And we've always had that, like we just understand each other. So we have a shorthand that existed from almost the day we started writing.

Paul Libman:

Hi, I'm Paul Libman. I'm the other half of LibmanHudson and I'm a composer. I was in the jingle business for many, many years, which, weirdly, is kind of the same thing as as musical theater writing, because it is music that doesn't simply entertain you, it has an actual job to do. And that's really the part of it that intrigues me the most is the part you don't hear, which is the, the work that the music is doing, to advance the story or to tell you things that the characters don't know or, or, or, just as colleagues of mine have referred to it as it's the truth serum in, in musical theater, it tells you what you should know and feel from what the characters are saying. And, and I'll ditto what Dave said is that he sent me these lyrics, and the very first thing he sent me and we were kind of using them as a as a test, we both agreed that it would be fun to see if we, if we worked well together. And he sent the lyrics and I looked at them and I said these are these are perfectly fine. I I'll set these in a minute. And then when I put music to them, the combination of the two of his his words, and my music made a third thing that was greater than the sum of the parts. And we both knew instantly that we just had a an amazing thing between us and we sold the first show we wrote and it has been produced many many many times and it's it's been an amazing thing and a lot of it is as Dave says wordless and a lot of it is from the heart and and subconscious but we love the process and and we've never had a moment's friction over the process. It's always just effortless and a joy and, and, and enough creative tension between us to keep it to keep us both honest. I mean, we're not just you know, cheerleading each other down the primrose path we are we are very honest with each other and, and it's always all about the work.

Hilary Adams:

Who leads the process? Do the lyrics come first? The music come first or does it vary?

Dave Hudson:

We're primarily a lyrics first team. We've done a couple of times where we weren't but it just kind of worked out for us that way. And it's like I respond to the book, you know, and find the lyrics and then Paul respond to the lyrics and finds the music and then we put it all together.

Paul Libman:

Dave always, Dave. Dave said to me that he writes with a dummy melody in his head. You know what, because it's really hard to write lyrics unless you're hearing some kind of rhythm and meter. But really, from the very beginning, I asked him kindly not to share that with me because I didn't want it to color. What I did, and, and actually, that has worked out because often I'll surprise him. And often I will come back to him with something he'll go, oh my god that, you know, that's totally not what I heard. But, you know, and that's fine, too. I don't mind that. But sometimes I've surprised him and it's been for the better. So we yeah, we, we, it, it works out very, very well, between us when he starts with something that I can then take and make music out of other collaborators I work with, I lay down almost complete songs just out of my just imagination. And then they somehow managed to write lyrics to them. That makes sense, which is a talent I can't even imagine but I've done that for Dave a few times I've laid down like what I call landscape tracks, here's the here's the musical palette that I envision and then that inspires him to to write lyrics a certain way but he's, he's his lyrics are man, I'll tell you just they're they're like freeze dried just as bad music and, you know, they explode into into something wonderful.

Hilary Adams:

How would you describe I know your work? How would you describe the genre or type of musical that you most especially love to create?

Dave Hudson:

I honestly at the heart of it. I know this is vague. But it's it's optimism. We really key into optimism and accessibility. We are not terribly abstract in our approach. We're not, we don't want to redefine, you know, the genre or anything. We tell stories with music, and ideally, with something that focuses on on the good in humanity.

Paul Libman:

That isn't to say, there aren't some bad people in the shows. But I think, I think Dave and I, weirdly, because even though we're wildly different people in so many ways, we have this similar worldview, that that there is innate good in people, and that if you just really let it and point, you know, go go toward the light that things are going to work out well. And that and that. I don't know, we're hopeful. And I think that one of the things that our pieces look at, even though I will say almost like nobody I've ever worked with Dave is tough on the characters, he really never lets them off the hook emotionally. He's never one to, you know, he always if there's conflict, he, he minds it really, really deeply and if and, and to the point where sometimes it can be even a little uncomfortable. But that's what makes the resolution so much more satisfying, is that they we've put them through some real difficult times and then brought them out of it. And I think Dave's right I think our our, our ultimate the thing that could be said about our stuff is it does have optimism. And I would also add this is that our genre is we've worked in a lot of different genres, but we seem to gravitate toward Americana, in the sense that there is an America that that we miss and we love and even other people in the world, the America that people believed in at one point, we kind of still do. And our shows tend to go out in search of those people those there, they may be simple people with simple problems and, and things that to us may not seem to be terribly important, but when you look at them in this musical theater microscope, their concerns are very real and very important and and strip away a lot of the the extraneous things that have kind of come to fill our lives so so we're going back and we're looking for that you know, the America we love and and people whose concerns are real concerns are timeless and and truly important to them. And those are the people we love to find

Hilary Adams:

Could you say a little bit about your work with characters, about how how you find voice together for a character.

Dave Hudson:

Yeah, I think I can start on that is that I think that I, you know, I don't often sing my praises. But I do think that one of my best talents is Song spotting is that in the way you talk, when you talk about song spotting with musicals, you're talking about, you look at the book, you know, either you start with a novel, and then you turn it into, you know, what's called the Book of a musical. And then you go through, and you think, Where did people need to sing. And I just have a very innate ability to say, this is where a song happens. And often it's not, you know, like, they always talk about you don't want to have someone singing about, you know, just kissing someone and then walking away and singing, I'm in love. Because that's, you already knew that. And so the best thing is like, what don't we know about that character, even in the book, what needs to come out that that, you know, illustrates who this person is or what the story needs to know. And that's where we come from. And, you know, Paul, and I talk about not having disagreements. And we don't in general, like we, I guess, I would say, we don't have arguments, but we have disagreements. And often it is about just innately not even like, I think consciously, we will clock and go and Paul will just instantly react say I don't I'm not feeling this, or I can try but I think what for what, and he won't even say editorially why this isn't working. He'll just say, I don't think this is working. And when we find that spot, then we know, okay, that character doesn't need to say that thing.

Paul Libman:

Yeah, we've, Dave's that ability to spot songs and to and to know instinctively where they belong. I would say that most people put in the song too late. I think that the song often as As Dave said, you you've already learned something, and then they sing about it. And and Dave has this wonderful way of catching the exact moment something happens to sing about it. And it makes the song so immediate and compelling. And you're, and you want to listen to them, because you're learning something from them as as you're hearing this melody. And that's, yeah, that's, that's a pretty remarkable talent. And also, I think, even if you know, the moment, you have a lot of choices as to what you're going to say about that moment. And, and I think with his book writing ability, he always picks the thing to say, that then shoots you off into the next moment of the story. And that and it always keeps the, I always feel a kind of a forward motion after the song is like, Oh, love now we're on to the next thing. And, and I, I think that's a that's a that's a great ability. And I think it is kind of what kind of marks our shows. And and I also think that's what is my clue if something doesn't do that, then I know that that may be not the exact right moment. And know this, it's, you know, Lehman Engel, who is kind of a God to us who wrote, you know, was a big Broadway conductor and musical director, and then created the BMI, Musical Theater Workshop that I'm a part of, in New York, always said musicals aren't written, they're built. And, and it's really true that we consciously spot where a song is going to go. And, and I, I don't even have to think about it, because Dave knows right where that they should be. And we've really almost never had a problem until we've gotten into rehearsal, you know, and then then, you know, all hell breaks loose. But then that becomes another part of our process, which is flying by the seat of our pants, which is, which is another thing that that is very much a part of our process is not only not only, I mean, we're not always right. But when we're wrong, we can really fix it quickly. One of the things that used to happen to me in advertising all the time, and I think one of the ways that I'm that makes me suitable for musical theater was the fact that I would write a piece for a recording session, the client would come in, come over to my office to hear it, and I'd play it to them and they would sit there kind of stone faced and say, well, that's maybe not exactly what I heard. And I could turn on a dime and say, well, then how about this and literally come up with something just on the spot out of my head, and then they would Joe? Yeah, that's more likely What we wanted and, and Dave has that exact same ability with the book too is because if we do find out we've made a mistake, and often you don't not a mistake or less, less less than optimal choice, very often, he'll know it, I'll know it right away. And then rather than just cling to it or try to make it work, I'll look around where Dave go, oh, he went back to his room, he'll be back in a minute. And he'll come back in 15 minutes with a new scene, a new song in a new place, meaning saying a completely different thing. I'll take the music, run back into my little cubby, come back with it, and we'll and the thing will go on and everybody will going. Yeah, that's right. You know, and that's also part of that chemistry that we have between us that that, that, you know, given his almost superpower of song spotting and our ability to then just turn on a dime and go the right direction. That's really the the thing that is has been so productive and successful for us.

Hilary Adams:

Dave, do you have thoughts about that.

Dave Hudson:

Yeah, I mean, I, you know, exactly what he said is that, and, you know, you talk you when you talk about the creative inspiration, right, like, there's the two things and sort of echo little what he said. But the funny thing is, you can look at a musical, you can have a music stand reading, you can do that. And it, it never works. And that's one of the frustrations, I think, especially in New York, because it's so expensive in New York, right? It's really expensive just to do a workshop, where you don't even do workshops, it's a staged reading, that's they don't do workshops anymore. But the problem is, if you have a character behind a, it's a physical transformation, right? If a character is behind the music stand, standing up and singing their song and sitting back down, you don't understand that the staging has them coming from off stage after having just learned a horrible moment, right. And that physical breath that comes into the life of the show. It was never found because the actor didn't do it. And it wasn't staged on a you know, in a in a house going up and down stairs, all of that. And so for us, that moment of inspiration is is really, it doesn't happen until you get in the rehearsal room. And we've we are very fortunate that we've had a, I think eight shows up at our sort of home theater up in northern sky. And we've been able to see that process come through. And that's one thing that puts us kind of in a different category of a lot of other musical writers who have struggled and worked, they've never had the chance even to just have like a minimal staging of their pieces. And we are incredibly fortunate there.

Hilary Adams:

Yeah, I can say as a as a director as a theatre director that I concur with all of that. And also what a gift it is when you have a team like you two in the room with you when you're especially if it's a brand new musical, and it's never been done. And you're in the rehearsal room. And it's this incredibly elaborate, wonderful collaborative process. And when you run into those moments where something isn't working, and you to be able to then collaborate and say, Alright, so what is this? What if what's going on? You know, because it's the first time that it's coming to life?

Paul Libman:

We have had that happen to us so many times. I mean, the first couple of times, it was terrifying. And now it's just like, Okay, we know what to do, you know? And and, and we're kind of so matter of fact about it almost blahs that blase, but just, it's, it's just so much part of our process. Now. We don't get freaked out about it, but everyone else still does, you know, because they're, you know, that Oh, my God, we've got to be on stage in six weeks. And what you know, in this old section isn't working and we're out. We got this book. Well, we'll pull it out of out of a hat, you know, no problem.

Hilary Adams:

Tell me a little more about your, about your theatrical home you just mentioned Dave, tell me a little bit more about where you all are working up there.

Dave Hudson:

So it's, it's really an amazing place. And, you know, I think it's one it's the only place in the world not just just in America. It's called Northern Sky -

Paul Libman:

Don't, don't tell anybody.

Dave Hudson:

It's called. It's called Northern Sky Theatre. They used to be called American folklore theater, and they are a musical theater. And they only do original musicals. They don't bring in anything from outside. And they've been doing original musicals for 20 plus years, at least, and that it's very regional. Like I'll give you an example of our two biggest hits for them. One is Muskie Love, which is Much Ado About Nothing set among fishing guides on Green Bay and And then Cheeseheads The Musical which was inspired by the Sargento cheese factory workers who won the Powerball lottery. So that yeah, that kind of gives you an idea of what they do. We've done a ton of other things for them too, and really had fun kind of exploring what kind of voices come out of that part of the country and what we can do. But it's like I say, I mean, if you look around the country, there's no one else who does that. There's there's the York Theater in New York, who they present new musicals, but it's really kind of like a, they bring things in a lot of the time, they are new musicals. And then there's, you know, there's like, what is it Fifth Street in Seattle, or I can't remember, but they do. But that's not their only mission, they do other shows, this is the only place that they, you know, they sell their tickets, and then make their living on new musicals.

Hilary Adams:

So, for those listening, can you tell us the location

Dave Hudson:

So this is the joke, right about, if you talk about Wisconsin, then you hold up your hand, and I know you're gonna hold it up and then point at the thumb. And the thumb is Door County, that's the thing that sticks out into Lake Michigan. So Green Bay's at the base of the thumb, and then Door County is actually called the Cape Cod, of the Midwest, it because it's always been this vacation, destination for years. You talk to anyone from Chicago, anyone from the whole sort of like Wisconsin, and beyond region, they probably taken a vacation at some point in Door County. So Door County,

Hilary Adams:

Wisconsin,

Paul Libman:

the actual town is Fish Creek, they have a fund that they pay people whose work they accept to develop it, it's not you know, it's not a lot of money, but it certainly says we're serious about it and we want you to continue and they have now two beautiful theaters, they have an outdoor theater of about what 800 seats that that runs all summer up till just before Labor Day. And and now they have an indoor theater that is that runs all year, a beautiful, beautiful Broadway quality theater, on their on the property that is that they now own near near the outdoor theater, and they sometimes run simultaneously. But now they've been able to go indoors in the in the winter, and the theater is absolutely magnificent in a in an almost other worldly, beautiful setting. So it's it's a it's a real delight to work out there. And of course, just after they finished it, and just after they had their first couple of shows. The whole thing shut down for COVID They're back. And they've done. They did one of ours, our last shows for them our latest shows for them indoors and it ran for what 60 performances. And and and did you know great. People were willing to come back they could only utilize about half their capacity because of distancing. But their man they're back and they're going to be back I think this summer real strong. And, and, you know, I, I worked with them. And we've had so many workshops, and it's kind of like a family to us. I think both of us just love being up there because it's so beautiful. And it's it's creatively inspiring to be in that environment. Yeah,

Dave Hudson:

and the funny thing with the indoor space is that the outdoor space, one of the perks is they hand out that they have a table of mosquito repellent. We'll be free to go in. So the indoor space, you're mosquito free. So that's a bonus too

Hilary Adams:

that's a big bonus. And the information will be in the show notes. So do you have a story or stories around the theme of creativity that you'd like to share?

Dave Hudson:

So we kind of shared it on the on the on the rehearsal, and I have just a quick one that I like to mention. When I was a kid, I had a great aunt Elaine, sort of like really kind of the Auntie Maime character. She was artistic. And she was an English professor and she took trips to Italy and all that. But when we went to visit her when I was in high school, she took me to see at the time it was the original production of Martha Clark's Garden of Earthly Delights. And that was so if you know it, look it up. It's Hieronymus Bosch Garden of Earthly Delights is this totally surreal painting from you know the Renaissance that came out of nowhere. No one's ever really understood where he came up and it's sort of like is just the history of humanity and the good and the bad. Well, she took that in She turned it into a dance performance. And it was one of the first things that had like flying and, you know, circus stuff like it was it was, it was insane. And really, for me creativity, I can always point to that and say that was a foundational moment, because it showed me that you can take anything and turn it into something else. Right. And that's what we do with musicals 90 plus percent of the time is we take an existing book, and we turn it into something else. And I think one of our most amazing pieces that's never been produced is called Dust and Dreams. And, or Bringers, it has two titles, and that was inspired by the works of the by the works of Sandburg. And that was, again, all I did was just read the palms and turn them into songs, and then top alternate. So but that process goes all the way back to Oh, you can just take a painting and bring it to life. So that's, that's my quick creativity thing. Mm hmm.

Paul Libman:

Mine came is it happened at a much later point in my life, it was really the moment I got into musical theater I had, I had done a couple of small local projects in Chicago with some some people. Because I, I was growing a little disaffected with the jingle business, and it was becoming a different business than the one I got into is that they were a lot of people were just licensing old songs, and a lot of people were trying to sound just like pop records and, and a lot of the kind of freewheeling seat of the pants thing that I loved about it was kind of going away. And it was getting much more corporate and competition. And just as a business I didn't enjoy. And I saw my way into musical theater. And as I said, Before, I kind of realized it was the same gig, just painting with a much bigger brush. And I really found myself kind of becoming intrigued with it. But the real problem I had was the fact that I was in the jingle business and or tour. Because when I, when I would create a piece, I would write the song, I would hire the musicians, I knew exactly who was going to play every part, I would sit down and I would write out the arrangement with every note for everyone, I would produce the recording session. And literally, I was responsible for every microsecond of that, that thing, when I got into musical theater, I would write the songs and then I would hand it off to an orchestrator and arranger and I was terrified because I had no idea. I think they're gonna ruin my baby, you know, and, and, and on opening night, I think one of the worst things that I've ever experienced was an opening night of our first play is like, I was up there and thinking, oh my gosh, I have literally no more control of what is about to happen, then this woman from Oshkosh sitting next to me. And I was, I was terrified. And then the great epiphany from for me was that this is a different kind of a creative world than, let's say, a painter, or a sculptor, or somebody who works alone in a studio and create something, this is a this is an entire art form based on one thing, and that is trust. And art I, I learned trust in that show. And ever since then, I have it it changed me in every single way I was no longer writing for my own enjoyment, I was writing I had to think about Wait a minute, the director is going to get a hold of this and and if I have this long pause between these musical phrases, that she's gonna kill me because she's got nothing to do with the singers standing there while the band is playing. So I you know, and and all of these other things that that entered into it and I suddenly found myself part of a of a quilt a blanket a fabric of all of these wonderful people that down to the and I don't mean down and I mean, including the stage hands and the people who paint the scenery and the person who who takes the tickets and and suddenly I'm in a family and ends and my creativity is not just for me it is it feels to me like it has been amplified and multiplied and and and shared among this amazing group of incredibly talented and wonderful people. And in that moment I it gave it gave everything I did know meaning, and, and I've never been the same since that moment. And and I think back at what a jerk I must have been at first because I didn't really, you know, I didn't trust anyone, I didn't believe anyone, I felt very separate and isolated from everybody. And I looked at them and I thought, why are they doing this crazy thing? And then all of a sudden, I realized, no, no, no, this is not crazy. This is, this is wonderful in it. And it's real. And it's, it's, it's creating these fantastical worlds like Dave was talking about. But out of that comes this nugget of this glowing orb of truth that that we've all contributed to. And that's, that was my great aha moment. And I've never been the same sense.

Dave Hudson:

Now, mind you, he did realize trust, and I tripped him on the way out of the theater. So things happen.

Paul Libman:

Back to Earth buddy!

Dave Hudson:

don't - that lesson won't won't hold. But just to echo on that, like that. So that same thing, so we're talking about creating new things, right. But when you get into a musical, you know, I've always said to that, like for parents, you know, people, parents, if you know, parents today, I think you do, Hilary that they're obsessed with, like, my kid has to be on the sports team and get on the travel team, and he's the next Olympian and stuff. And they rarely are good for them. But they are, but they aren't. But I've always said that. If you want to learn skills for life, and the right kind of collaboration skills, you should be in musicals and dance, because what you're learning is, you're all working together. And even if you have two lines, those two lines still have to be heard. And delivered to make the story makes sense. And you also need to support people throughout the process, whether you're backstage or on stage. And I've always said that, that collaboration that trust, if you can get a kid doing that, those are going to be your like star workers in the office when they get older, because they're, they're gonna be like, Oh, you just you just pitch in, you just do things, you know, they're never gonna be like, Oh, well, I'm the star pitcher, or I'm the, you know, I'm the point guard. It's like, No, I'm part of the team. And even with the weather there, they always had the lead, or whether they're just like the funny supporting character, it's a crazy life skill that you get out of this.

Paul Libman:

One of the interns at it, they have, they have a big crew of interns every summer at northern sky. And one of the interns were, the director looked at, and for a part in one of our musicals, and put her in the lead. So she went from she went from, you know, painting and cleaning up to being the lead in this musical. And then when an afternoon after the show, every night, she went back to painting and cleaning up, but it was it was, it is she just she just had this wonderful ability and talent, and that that made her just perfect for this, but we are friends with her today. And she's the same kind of collaborative pitch in help you out kind of person that she was then and just, it was it was just a remarkable thing in in her life and in our life, that that we found her in that she just took our musical and elevated it to another place. You know, it was just a magical thing. And that's, that's, again, part of that trust in musical theater is that is that you trust that these people are not only it's like the pilot of the plane, you know, you get on the plane and and you think well, he's he's, you know, had 35,000 hours of flying but you know, he still wants to get home to his wife just as badly as I do. So he's gonna get us there safely. And and that's kind of how you feel about these people. They they are motivated by the exact same things. They want this thing to be wonderful and they want to do their best and they want to never let anyone down. That's the thing that musical theater people I don't think any I've ever, very rarely have I encountered somebody who has lead. Who doesn't isn't driven by that absolute passion, not the lead anybody doubt.

Hilary Adams:

I love the idea of trust as a theater director. I completely agree with that. It's not only the people it's trusting the process, trusting the what's going to emerge from the material trust, right, trusting the audience to come with you trust it's it's layers and layers and layers of trust. And I don't think have ever heard anybody used that word? Hmm?

Paul Libman:

Yeah. Well, oh, well, I mean, that's, that is pretty much the one word that that Dave and I, you know, that share in each other is that, you know, I've said this many times, especially when, you know, when, when things are going wrong, I think, you know, there's really nobody, I'd rather have my, my back in a firefight. You know, because because that's really what this is, like, it's like, okay, you know, get in the bunker. So yeah, so I've said, I, there's really nobody, I'd rather be in the trenches with them, you know, in, in a, in a situation good or bad than, than Dave. And that's, I think that's, that is, that's really important. Because, you know, as somebody said, in a musical, you better you better love the characters, because you're going to be living with them for a long time, while you're living with your collaborators, you know, for a long time to and, hopefully, and, and you better, you better really have something deeper than just, you know, a desire to make money or some superficial reason for doing it, it's got, it's got to go soul deep, or it just won't. It just won't be any good.

Hilary Adams:

Any other any other thoughts, like sort of takeaway, or that's a takeaway or inspiration about creativity, for the listeners,

Dave Hudson:

I, you know, I always say this, and people take it the wrong way, sometimes, but But honestly, like, my biggest key to success is I finished things. And that, you know, you I know, a lot of people have that, that next great American novel, or that musical they've been written not working on for 10 years. And they're like, it's not quite there yet. And, and for me, I've always really believed in to be creative, do it, you know, get writing, get creating, do it. And then people are great about responding to something, right, they can't respond to nothing. So if you're writing a song, just finish it and get it out there in the world, you know, take a class, join a songwriting group, same thing with musicals, find someone, some kind of group of people you can work with, whether it's just a group of friends, or fellow writers or whatever. But for me creativity is, is is, is just putting your head down and getting something done and, and don't like, what is the parallel paralysis by analysis, you know, that's the great phrase, so many people fall prey to that, and don't just just get it there. And trust that it might not be perfect, but it's got to be seen.

Paul Libman:

And I would say that my takeaway is that, it's kind of a similar thing, it's going a little off, what they've said is that is that not everything you do, is going to be the best thing you ever did. And if you try to make everything you do, the best thing you ever did, you will never do anything, my feeling is give it 100% energy, get it done. And then it is what it is, I wish to use a terrible phrase, but it is the thing that it it is, and then you do the same thing on the next one. And then what you find is that over time, your average goes up. Because you you, you not only learn what to do, but you learn what not to do. So you find that you aren't going down the stupid road that you you went and that didn't work, you know, you learn the you just get smarter as you get older. And, and, and then your average job is going to be pretty damn good. And then once in a while, you'll get lucky and do something brilliant. You know, Dave, and I don't, don't struggle to make every song the best song we ever wrote. Because we also realize that you have the opportunity to rewrite if it if it isn't good. And often, rewriting makes things better. In fact, most of the time it does. So if you can't rewrite something you've never written and, and it's so so we, we, you know, get it done. Make it better, make it as good as it can be and then just move on and, and, and by so by not not by not being completely married to the idea that that that this is this is it's me. It's not me anymore. I've written it. It's, it's, it's out there. And then the next one, I'll work I'll do better. Every one you know, nothing is an end in itself. It's always a way, a waypoint on the journey. And I mean, we look at our journey. I mean, we are so much better now at this than we were. Whenever it was we started 15 or 20 years ago.

Dave Hudson:

Yeah 20...

Paul Libman:

God Jeez, you had to mention it, but we are, we're better, we're faster, we're much more arbitrary about it, you look, you can write something out, you know, yeah, I can work with that. And, and it's weird, what you'll find in working with something that may not be perfect, you know, is that you, you you kind of delve into its imperfections, and you make something that's quirky and wonderful. And then, and then you've got something better than you could have ever imagined. I mean, really, it's, it's a matter of just getting out of your own way. And, and, and using yourself as a conduit for the ideas rather than the generator of the ideas. And I mean, I could go on about, you know, I could go on about this, and then never write anything. But But no, it's seriously though. i That's, we work, we work quickly. We're arbitrary, and then we fix it.

Hilary Adams:

Dave, any final thoughts about that?

Dave Hudson:

I, you know, I agree with with with all of that. And then just to follow up a little bit, is that, that I think that here's, here's something I'll say that there are no, the funny thing, when you talk about perfection is there is not a perfect musical, when you view it from do does every person in the audience like every song? Some people like ballads, some people like up tempo, some rate. So if you take each song out of a musical, it's not necessarily going to be a success, because you're gonna be like, oh, and that's a lot of times people just judge it on the songs. And the truth is any artistic endeavor that's, you know, more than three minutes. It has pieces that come together, and the perfection or the success of it is based on on that that overall combination, whether it's just, you know, a production of a show you that has been done before, or a brand new one. It's that and I think that's the the big thing, when you're creating is also don't let that, like that microscope. come in on. Oh, that doesn't feel like it's working until you've seen it in the broader scope.

Hilary Adams:

Yep. That kind of applies to life, too, doesn't it?

Dave Hudson:

Oh yeah. Right. Yeah. You have a bad day? Well, you're not a failure. It's just a bad day. Move on. Yeah,

Hilary Adams:

yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you both for joining me here today is are there any final thoughts that you'd like to share,

Paul Libman:

I would just like to say thank you for having us, it's always fun to talk about stuff like this, because it really does kind of focus my thinking to explain it to somebody else. And I just would hope that anybody listening to you that's contemplating doing this would just would just not try to measure themselves against anything anyone else does. I think you you just have to use your own heart as your guidepost. And and and satisfy yourself, do it mean, at least at the very beginning. Do it just because it's fun and enjoy it and, and not worry about what's going to come of it and, and then you know that you're going to be able to worry about that, that stuff later. That's going to be you know, that'll there'll be a lot of people to jump in and tell you what's wrong with it. But you know, at least that for that moment, have your bliss and not worry about it. Don't, don't just stay like don't have a lot of weight on your shoulders and have expectations just write something you like and write a song that makes you happy and, and don't make too much of it. And it'll be it'll, it'll be fine.

Dave Hudson:

And I'll just follow up to say, I mean, again, it was a joy. It's always a joy. Like, for anyone listening. Hillary and us We go way back. We've been been in conversation for years. But to go beyond that, if you do get our contact information in the show notes and stuff, feel free to reach out I mean, conversations are lovely to have and we always just love talking with people about the art and about our shows and, and and what what journey we've been on.

Hilary Adams:

Tell us your website just so people can hear it, as well as read it.

Paul Libman:

Libman Hudson dot com calm

Dave Hudson:

L-I-B-M-A-N-H-U-D-S-O-N so and pretty straightforward.

Paul Libman:

Yep.

Hilary Adams:

Oh, and that will be in the show notes. So Dave and Paul, thank you so much for being with me here today on the Story and Horse podcast. Really appreciate it. And for everyone who's listening. You can reach story on horse at story in horse both on Instagram and Facebook and also on our website, Story and Horse.com and thank you for listening today. And please join us for the next episode of the Story and Horse Podcast. And Paul and Dave thanks again so much.

Paul Libman:

Pleasure.

Dave Hudson:

Thank you Take care.

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