Interview: Willy Holtzman

Posted on April 17, 2012


Where are you from originally?
And where are you living now?  Olivette, MO;  CT/NYC


What first drew you to playwriting and a life in the theatre? 
Cheryl Crawford, producer and co-founder of the Group Theatre and Actors Studio


What was the first play you ever wrote and has it been produced?  
San Antonio Sunset – a one act that’s been produced in New York, LA, London, Dublin, Mumbai, among other places.

What inspires you?  
Flawed individuals trying to cheat death


Under what conditions do you write best?  
When Con Ed isn’t breaking up the sidewalk with jackhammers


What was the initial inspiration for the play being workshopped at PlayPenn?  
My brother was run out of business by evangelical Christians in upholstered furniture manufacturing.

Why did you decide to apply to PlayPenn, and what do you hope to get out of the conference?  
PlayPenn launched my previous play, The Morini Strad, which is currently enjoying a sold-out Off Broadway run.  I hope to get a repeat of that!

What’s the oddest job you’ve ever had while supporting yourself as a writer?  
I moved pianos in Boston.  Whenever I feel martyred by the playwright’s life, I remind myself that it’s a hell of a lot easier to move words than Steinways.

If you could change anything about the American theatre, what would it be?  
Remove critics – who have insinuated themselves between the play and the playgoer – and restore the primacy of the theatrical experience.

Complete this sentence: I write plays because …
theatre is like a church where God checked out and left us with each other.

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