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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) - The Majestic Theater's latest production is a romantic comedy, "One Slight Hitch", and its author, comedian Lewis Black, was in attendance for opening night last Thursday.
Before the opening curtain, ABC40's Dave Madsen sat down to talk with Black about the play and its inspiration.
DM: Good to see you. A lot of people aren't probably aware of the fact that you started out as a playwright.
LB: About 6 people are aware. Its' not really well known because I literally left theater when I was about 40 and literally switched careers and went on the road as a comic.
DM: This play, One Slight Hitch, you literally wrote over 30 years ago.
LB: 35 years ago.
DM: It sat on a shelf?
LB: It was done, it was performed, I thought I was on my way. It was done at this kind of prestigious festival that has since, like many prestigious festivals, has dropped dead. This Canyon Festival Theater and then it had readings at the arena stage, which is a big hoo-hah in Washington and then the Center Stage in Baltimore and then it was sent around. There was always this almost like, it's gonna get done. And then Rand, who directed the show here, Rand directed down at the Ace Charlotte Repertory Theater, a small theater in Charlotte NC, we down there with it. And that was kind of the last big production of it. But it was optioned for Broadway for 6 years. So it would continue to be optioned, but then I'd get things back that theaters were rejecting it. But then they took it, a friend of mine optioned it, took it to London. They thought it was too much of a sitcom. This is 30 years ago. This to me was it because this was as nice as I could be.
DM: So it's going to be a little different than what people would expect?
LB: Yeah, I've said it time and again, if my name weren't on it nobody would know that I wrote this play.
DM: It's just completely different.
LB: It's a romantic comedy.
DM: What was your inspiration for it?
LB: It was a woman who I had lived with for two years out of the drama school we came out of. She and I moved to NY together. She never was going to be married. And the thing was, she left the U.S. to do a big movie. The whole time I was with her it was, you know I'm never going to get married. And as a matter of fact on the list of things that I prioritize, you're third. She loved me, but I'm third on the list. Her career came first. I forget what came second, her health probably. And then two weeks later she called me up and said she was marrying some guy. I was like you've got to be kidding me and she was like, yeah, I'm going to marry him. And she married this guy 6 months later. And it flipped me out and made me think a lot. I kind of called her parents and said somebody ought to talk to her because she's not gonna listen to me. I mean this is what a crazy person would do. And then the wedding took place and all of my friends were invited and I wasn't. And they all came back from the wedding saying this was nuts. I was kind of close to the family, I liked them and they liked me. So all the family was wondering why is she marrying this guy and isn't she marrying Lewis. And then really, that was it. Now I've got a plot, that's a play, so what if I showed up?
DM: So Rand (Forester) brought it here.
LB: Rand brought it here and it's been published now. It only took 35 years to get it published.
DM: Fact is, you've done all right.
LB: I've done well. I did well just by leaving the theater. I was paid in my first week of stand-up on the road, seven shows. And I received the same amount of money that I received for writing a play that took like two years to write. And I was going, there's something wrong with this picture. I mean this is crazy.
DM: I'm not going back.
LB: I was broke, I didn't know what I was thinking.
DM: And you were saying you were 40 at the time.
LB: I was 40. I was completely broke. I mean you can only tell your parents, I continued to tell my parents that we had established a living will.
DM: I mean at 40, you had a good midlife crisis.
LB: It was very good, I mean I was lucky, as opposed to panicking and thinking. I'd been doing stand-up on and off. And stand-up in a way is very close to theater, so you've got to do it on your own.
DM: Lewis Black thank you.
View a list of dates/locations of current productions of One Slight Hitch. Note that Lewis Black does not appear in these productions.