Award Winning Director Michael Greif On "Dear Evan Hansen"
For our Broadway week, Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with Michael Greif, Director of Broadway’s smash hit musical, "Dear Evan Hansen" up for 9 Tony Awards in 2017, and War Paint about the challenges of bringing a book to the Broadway stage.
"On the outside, always looking in. Will I ever be more than I've always been? 'Cause I'm tap, tap, tapping on the glass. Waving through a window. I try to speak, but nobody can hear. So I wait around for an answer to appear. While I'm watch, watch, watching people pass. Waving through a window, oh. That was from Dear Evan Hansen. And by the way, Michael Greif is in the house. He's the director of Dear Evan Hansen, playing at? The Music Box Theatre. By the way, you're also directing War Paint, playing at? The Nederlander Theater. Busy much? It's been a really happy year. Yes. Good for you. Congratulations. Could you let everyone know what Dear Evan Hansen is all about? Dear Evan Hansen is a musical about a lonely isolated high school senior, and he finds himself in a very remarkable and could be a very remarkable situation in which he has the opportunity to really help a grieving family. And because of this, he transforms himself in a lot of ways, and becomes a different person. What's really interesting about the musical is that as he's becoming this different person, you're also very concerned about whether or not he's going to be found out. Because this relationship that he has with this grieving family is predicated on a lie. Your career has been so impressive. Rent. You were the first director right? Yes. Did you always know that this was the career you wanted? Not exactly. But you know, I was a sort of lonely teenager myself. And I gravitated toward the theater, and that kind of storytelling, and that kind of make believe, and that kind of opportunity to transform myself a bit. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was directing these original musicals, in the New York area called SING! Where did you grow up? Brooklyn. Brighton Beach. And then I went to college and I studied a little acting, which I was terrible at. And directing I was terrible at. How did you know you were terrible? [laughter] The same way I can judge other actors. [laughter] I can judge me. And believe me, I was terrible. [laughter] So you just knew? I knew. Yeah. But I loved directing. And I felt the good at that. And so I continued to do that. What do you love about it? It's the storytelling. It's, you know, I get to be a fantastic link between the writers and the audience. And I get to have a remarkable experience with actors. And when we're all working toward the same goal, it's incredibly gratifying. War Paint. Who's in it? Christine Ebersole and Patti LuPone..."