Interview with Earl WilsonPlaywright “You’re It” by Corine Cohen

Corine Cohen: When did you realize your passion for theater?
I saw the original South Pacific, when I was a little boy. That was the first musical I ever saw, and I remember being completely captivated and thinking that I wanted to be involved when I grew up. My dad was a columnist for the NY Post who covered show business and consequently, I spent many evenings out with my folks at the Copacabana when the great pop singers would appear there...Sinatra, Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr. etc. That's where my musical education really took place. Those night club shows were spectacular musically and were a kind of "Theater"...though I suppose nobody would have thought of it that way. I started out as a singer when I was in my 20's and performed around the country in night clubs...just as I had learned from my evenings with my folks. I started making up songs in my head as far back as I can remember....and so the singing and songwriting went together.
What are your top ten plays of all time?
I couldn't come up with a list...I really like most everything I see...There is always something to be learned especially if you are trying to create shows yourself. When you write a show and see it done by more than one group of people you become very aware of how different each production is....and how little you, as author, actually have to do with how it is accepted. Knowing that tends to make one less critical.
Do you have a favorite musical that is currently running on Broadway?
No. As I have said, I'm sure I'd find a lot to like about each of them.
Tell me about "Let My People Come" or is it Cum? EEK.
It's "Come"...and it is a musical revue about SEX...with some nudity and a lot of x-rated language. It was nominated for a Grammy in 1974 and has appeared all over the world. It is a really fun show that takes the attitude that everyone loves sex...when they are honest enough to admit it...and that we'd probably all be a lot better off if we were less up tight about it. It was very popular in the 70's and 80's because we had just come through the Viet Nam War, Richard Nixon...and the younger generation [my generation] coming of age and announcing their sexual freedom. We are planning a re-launching of the show because I think there is a new generation who would love this show...and an older generation who would love to re-experience it.
Tell me about You're It! It sounds like fun.
'You're It!" is a musical revue about what it is like to be in the theater...except we actually bring audience members up on stage and put them into the show...they have to "re-act" to whatever happens to them...it is a great deal of fun because there are moments when the show is really being ad-libbed...we're flying without a net...and what I find really amazing is how great the audience members ad lib. They really get into it....and they come up with amazing things to say in the situations. It is also a really fine "Musical", in that the songs our cast sings are, forgive my immodesty, really good. We've done the show in a few venues and it has been a fascinating experience to watch how different it is at every performance. It is a HOOT!
You can check out “You’re It” at Tony Di Napoli starting May 1st
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