Advice from Three Tony-Winning Writers


Matt Markowski

On Oct. 2 at Skirball, Laurence Maslon hosted a talk with three Tony-Winning writers Jason Robert Brown, Lisa Kron and Steven Lutvak. The panel, “Visionaries from the worlds of politics, the arts, sciences, academia and more” is hosted every Monday at 6:30pm.

By Matt Markowski, Contributing Writer

On Monday night, Skirball Center held its first Skirball Talks with Jason Robert Brown, Lisa Kron, Steven Lutvak and Alex Timers hosted by Laurence Maslon. Skirball Talks is a series of panels during the academic term each Monday at 6:30 p.m. hosting visionaries from the worlds of politics, the arts, sciences, academia and more.

Before the panel, WSN sat down with Brown, Kron and Lutvak to talk about their creative process. The evening was sprinkled with well-earned advice and witty banter between the trio. Having only written one Tony Award winning and Pulitzer Prize finalist musical, Kron began the discussion as the newcomer explaining that she doesn’t have a process.

“I just really hurl myself at the thing and just claw away at it,” Kron said. “I see what I can find.”

Brown and Lutvak had a much different take on their creative processes. Brown responded in more metaphorical terms.

“[I] need to know what the box [both the theater and the idea itself] looks like and feels like and how it’s populated,” Brown said. “So much is about the rules of the box, about the forces. Who are the human beings? How many are there?”

For Lutvak, it all begins with the story. Much of his writing process is visceral, as he puts it. He attempts to find moments where he thinks, “Oh, I don’t know another song that does that, then I know I’m in the right place.”

Before they began their panel, the three ended with some advice for aspiring writers. For Lutvak, it all boils down to a few heartfelt words.

“Save your money, find a life part and find a shrink,” Lutvak said.

Although he refers to it as his joke advice, he does mean all of it. Brown, though, divides it between those who have the means for a career and those who unfortunately do not.

“If you don’t have the means, you need to find the means,” Brown said. “I think you need not beat yourself or worry about how you find the means, and if you have the means you need to do the thing that matters to you.”

Kron wrapped the conversation together, ending with powerful words.

“Nobody gives your permission to make work,” he said. “You just do it because you decide to do it — that’s why art is dangerous.”

Email Matt Markowski at [email protected].

Email Matt Markowski at [email protected]