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April 05, 2019 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
Producer Jeff Wolk met Leonard Soloway a decade ago from family connections that went back further. “I found him fascinating to talk with as his experience in the theater is simply incredible,” says Wolk. “Not only does Leonard have the longevity, he’s a great storyteller, and his firsthand stories of iconic Broadway stars are amazing.”
Wolk went on to produce “Leonard Soloway’s Broadway,” which covers both Soloway and Broadway.
Soloway is a legend in the theater community, and, at 90 years old, he continues to produce shows. He is known for his “cut-to-the-quick” ability, as Wolk puts it. Soloway has the unique talent of effectively dealing with a Broadway executive, while still treating a waiter with equal respect.
Wolk remarked that there are broader lessons in the film that can be learned from Soloway, and he says, “In my mind, they are even more important.” Out of many, Wolk cites “perseverance and dedication to one’s craft.”
The film displays Soloway’s perseverance in continually challenging himself; in fact, Wolk states that Soloway is “driven for the next success, not relying on the past.”
“Leonard Soloway’s Broadway” also shows audiences a behind-the-scenes look into the Broadway process. Although Wolk says that Soloway “wasn’t thrilled” about filming rehearsals, “those moments that we did capture turned out to be some of the most compelling to watch.”
In fact, Wolk said that a common comment from early test audiences was that “...they had no idea of how brutal the process of putting together a production can be.” Not only is this movie a look at a fascinating person, it also shows aspects of Broadway that audiences do not normally see.
Wolk sums up his film thusly: “Not only do you get a rare behind-the-scenes look atdecades of Broadway history, you get inspiration from an individual with a unique take on following your dream, and becoming the person you want to be.”
—W. Connor Drake
PHOTO: Leonard Soloway’s illustrious career started right here. He began as a volunteer at the Cleveland Playhouse. His 70-plus-year career is truly amazing—he has produced over 100 shows, received more than 40 Tony awards, 62 Tony nominations, and 3 Pulitzer Prizes.
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