What happens when you put a Tony-winning producer and a former theater columnist together? Believe it or not, you get a comedy about producing on Broadway. Or so it seems with Stewart F. Lane, the producer of such shows as 1776 and La Cage aux Folles, and Ward Morehouse III, until recently the theater reporter for the New York Post. The unlikely duo has teamed to pen the new comedy, If It Were Easy. (Lane and Morehouse are still unsure whether to title the piece "If It Were Easy," or "If It Was Easy." Both titles are currently making the rounds.)
Lane described the work as being in the tradition of the Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur classics The Front Page and The Twentieth Century. Asked about working with a former semi-adversary, Lane said in a statement, "Columnists and producers have been strange bedfellows, handcuffed together like Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin in `Midnight Run.' ...We really felt this kind of co-dependent and mutually exploitive relationship would be a very funny premise for a play. For his part, Morehouse lauds Lane's extensive knowledge of showbiz and for being one of his "most helpful sources" when Morehouse was a NY Post columnist.
According to a Media Blitz spokesperson, If It Were Easy will go into development at Massachusetts's Berkshire Theatre Festival this summer, with Lane directing a staged reading of the piece July 11.
Lane is the head of a producing group called the Producers Network, which is examining the possibility of sponsoring a season of low-budget Off Broadway musicals during the 1999-2000 season. He'll also be staging A.R. Gurney's The Golden Age at the Actor's Theatre of Nantucket, Aug. 15-Sept. 12.
Morehouse was the Post's regular theatre reporter and theater columnist for five years. His controversial tenure ended last fall, when he was replaced by The Daily News' Michael Riedel. -- By Robert Simonson and David Lefkowitz