As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to some of our favorite artists to see how they are coping with the self-isolation on a daily basis, both physically and creatively.
The series continues with Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist and librettist Sheldon Harnick, who, with composer Jerry Bock, created such classic Broadway musicals as Fiorello! (Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize), Fiddler on the Roof (two Tony Awards), and She Loves Me (Grammy), as well as Tenderloin, The Rothschilds, The Apple Tree, and The Body Beautiful. With wife Margery Gray and son Matthew, the 95-year-old writer is also the author of Koi: A Modern Folktale, featuring photographs by Matthew and Margery Gray and narrative by Sheldon.
What is your typical day like now?
My typical day goes something like this... I always try to have two books to stimulate me: a book of poetry and a non-fiction book of some sort (history, biography, etc.). I read those books in the morning, and in the afternoon I work on whatever project I’m currently engaged in.
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
Rather than recommending a book or a film, my advice would be to stay abreast of what is going on in the world by reading the New York Times carefully and selectively every day.
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation?
To avoid feeling isolated, everyone should have at least one very close friend.
How are you keeping your creative juices flowing?
To keep my creative juices flowing (as I said in my first answer), I always try to have a book of poetry at hand along with a non-fiction book on some serious subject to stimulate me.
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
I am always working on a theatrical project. Right now it’s a musical adaptation of the Soviet play The Dragon by Eugene Schwartz.