5-minute interview with…………………..Willard Manus
1. What kind of research was done in learning about Prez?
Numerous books have been written about Lester Young and I researched those and other sources, such as Spirit of Sound, a video documentary about Prez, made about 15 years ago. I also searched my memory for images of Prez when I saw him in action when I was growing up in New York City.
2. Was there something you discovered that didn’t make the show?
There were lots of other things about Prez that couldn’t make into the show for reasons of focus and compression.
3. What was the most surprising thing you learned about Prez?
That at the end of his life he was dying of syphilis. I used this bit of knowledge in the play.
4. How do you prepare to write a play?
In the case of Prez I wrote it for the actor Leslie Jones because he is not only a good actor but a professional musician who can play Prez’ music. Regarding the writing of other plays, the preparation depends on many many factors but most plays begin with a character who interests and challenges me.
5. What do you have coming up?
I’m about to go into rehearsal with a new play called JOE & MARILYN: A LOVE STORY. This two-character play deals with the relationship between Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. It will open some time in April at Write Act Repertory Theater in North Hollywood.