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Interview with Mitchell Maxwell, author of “Little Did I Know”


About Mitchell Maxwell

mitchell maxwellMitchell Maxwell is an accomplished producer, director and 35-year veteran of the entertainment industry, known for his ability to spot the next theatrical innovation. He is the visionary producer behind the percussive theatricality of Stomp!, the rollicking Broadway revival of Damn Yankees featuring the legendary Jerry Lewis – which was nominated for multiple Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical – and the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Dinner with Friends. He has produced the Broadway musicals Play On!, Bells are Ringing (Tony nominated for Best Revival of a Musical), Blues in the Night (Tony nominated as Best Musical) and Brooklyn.

Maxwell’s productions have been honored with nominations for ten Tony Awards, six Olivier Awards, 15 Outer Critics Circle Awards, nine Drama Desk Awards and three Obie Awards and have won in each category. He directed the critically acclaimed Angry Housewives on London’s West end and later off-Broadway, and produced the motion pictures and off-Broadway performances of Jeffrey and Key Exchange.

Off-Broadway he developed Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy and produced David Mamet’s Oleanna, Paul Rudnick’s The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told and Scott McPearson’s Drama Desk-winning Marvin’s Room. In total, seven Broadway shows, more than 30 off-Broadway and regional productions, four national tours, three West End productions and six major motion pictures. He has directed in New York, London and regionally, built five entertainment companies, and for more than 20 years owned and operated three off-Broadway theaters.

Maxwell attended Tufts University, where he later served as an adjunct professor, and has been a guest lecturer at Columbia and New York universities. He is the president, CCO and director of MCrew Media LLC. LITTLE DID I KNOW (Prospecta Press, October 5, 2011) is his first novel. For more information, visit www.mitchellmaxwell.com.

The Interview

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

THE BOOK IS ABOUT HAVINGBIG DREAMS AND THE FEARLESSNESS IN ATTMEPTING TO ACHEIVE THEM.. IT IS ABOUT STARING DOWN FEAR AND FIGURING THINGS OUT. IT IS ABOUT FIRST LOVE. IT IS ABOUT MAGIC THAT WE NEVER SEE COMING AND ABOUT THE RESULTS OF HARD WORK THAT WE DO. IT IS ABOUT THE LOSS OF INNOCENCE. IT IS ABOUT THE THEATRE AND MUSIC AND PASSION AND APPLAUSE. IT IS FUNNY AND FULL OF WONDER AND CONJURES A PLACE WE ALL WISH WE COULD HAVE IN HABITED.

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

DISAPPOINTMENT AND CYNISISM NEEDED TO BE REPLACE BY JOY AND OPTIMISM–SOMETIMES THE DAYS SEEM VERY LONG BUT LIFE IS VERYSHORT.

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

ME,MY LIFE, MY ADVENTURES MY WILLINGNESS TO NOT BE AFRAID AND IF I AM TO SUCK IT UP AND GET OVER IT.

Who is your biggest supporter?

MY WIFE CAROL.

Your biggest critic?

ME, A CLOSE SECOND MY WIFE CAROL AND THEN MY DAUGHTER.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

THE CAUSE TO BE KIND AND HONEST AND NOT SET UP FALSE HOPE IN PEOPLE SO THEY CRASH AND BURN AND LOSE HOPE. KINDNESS IS FREE AND IT IS MY CAUSE.

In the last year have you learned or improved on any skills?

SURE AS HELL HOPE SO.

Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work?

I TELL MY WIFE ITS PERFECT AND I WOULDN’T CHANGE A WORD AND THEN i SIT DOWN AND CUT A HUNDRED PAGES.

Who has influenced you throughout your career as a writer?

PAT CONROY, GEORGE ABBOTT, ROBERT PARKER, AVERY CORMAN, HERMAN WOUK, MY WIFE.

What is the most important thing in your life right now?

MY WIFE AND DAUGHTER AND MY SON AND STEP CHILDREN.

What are you currently working on?

99% FINISHED WITH A SECOND SEMI SEQUEL, WRITING A STAGE MUSICAL OF LDIK AND PRODUCING AND DIRECTING A NEW MUSICAL THAT OPENS THIS SPRING.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

WRITE AND READ -A LOT.

Is there an author that inspired you to write?

ODETS

What are some of your long term goals?

FIND PEACE, BE HAPPY, MAKE MY CHILDREN SAFE KISS MY WIFE WHENEVER I GET THE CHANCE

What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?

HAVING MY READERS TELL ME THAT THE BOOK SPOKE TO THEM–MADE THEM STRONG–MADE THEM LAUGH AND MADE THEM FEARLESS

What do you feel is your biggest strength?

I NEVER GIVE UP

Biggest weakness?

RAGE

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

IT’S ALIVE! IT SOARS IT ,REMINDS YOU OF BEING YOUNG AND IT INSPIRES YOU IF YOU ARE YOUNG. IT MAKES THE CASE THAT EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE

You know the scenario – you’re stuck on an island. What book would you bring with you and why?

WINDS OF WAR AND WAR AND REMEMBERENCE BECAUSE IF WE MADE IT THROUGH ALL OF THAT I’LL GET OFF THE ISLAND

If you could go back and change one day, what would it be?

THE DAY I MADE MY WIFE CRY BECASUSE I LET HER DOWN IN A PROFOUND WAY

Are you a different person now than you were 5 years ago?

YES

In what way/s?

I CARE FAR LESS OF WHAT OTHERS THINK OF ME. I DON’T CARE ABOUT MONEY AS MUCH. I FIND TIME TO LOVE MY KIDS. I AM MORE AT PEACE AND WORKINGEVERYDAY AT A BETTER ME. I DON’T DRINK

What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?

IT IS NEVER EASY AND YET NEVER DULL

Is there anything you regret doing/not doing?

HURTING THOSE I LOVE, BEING RECKLESS AND FULL OF HUBRIS–THERE ARE A FEW PEOPLE i WISH I HAD CLOCKED

What is your favorite past-time?

READING, SPORTS, EXCERCISE, MY FAMILY

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

BUY MY BOOK

About Little Did I Know

Little Did I KnowHere is the story of an unforgettable summer. Set in Plymouth, MA in the late seventies, Little Did I Know is the tale of a young man with an outsized dream ? to refurbish a dilapidated but historic theater and produce a season’s worth of vibrant musicals. A recent college graduate, he fills his cast and crew with people he has come to love and trust in his university life, and with others whose talents and personalities prove undeniable. Yet, while the productions drive his ambitions, a local woman drives his passions, and their romance is fateful, star-crossed, and ultimately more than either of them expected. Told with with, compassion, and the kind of insider’s access to the theater that only someone like Mitchell Maxwell can provide, Little Did I Know is a novel about coming of age in the spotlight and embracing one’s entire future in a single season.


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