Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Guest Post and Excerpt: Mitchell Maxwell

Curling Up By The Fire would like to welcome Mitchell Maxwell, a Tony Award-winning producer, director and 35-year veteran of the entertainment industry.  His debut novel , LITTLE DID I KNOW, released on October 5th and I am participating in a scavenger hunt blog tour for the book’s release. For the scavenger hunt, 30 blogs will be chosen to feature a few sentences from the first chapter of the novel and post them on specified days.  Mitchell Maxwell is the  producer behind the Broadway revival of Damn Yankees featuring the legendary Jerry Lewis – which was nominated for multiple Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical – and the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Dinner with Friends. He has produced the Broadway musicals Play On! Bells are Ringing (Tony-nominated for Best Revival of a Musical), Blues in the Night (Tony Nominated as Best Musical), Brooklyn, and the theatrical wonder, Stomp!  Here is a synopsis of his new novel:

Set in Plymouth, MA in the late seventies, this is the tale of a young man with an outsized dream – to refurbish a dilapidated but historic theater and produce a season's worth of vibrant musicals. A recent college graduate, he fills his cast and crew with people he has come to love and trust in his university life, and with others whose talents and personalities prove undeniable. Yet, while the productions drive his ambitions, a local woman drives his passions, and their romance is fateful, star-crossed, and ultimately more than either of them expected.

She allowed me to find my voice – not one that sang actual notes but one that gave me the courage to lead. One I didn’t know I owned. Then one day I woke up embracing what I wanted my life to be about. JB was a great and supportive friend, believing in me and I gained the confidence and desire to frolic in a playground that might lead to a career in the arts. She sat still and quiet for several minutes, her eyes practically glazed over.

For the next excerpt, and some further hints and teasers to Mitchell's wonderful new book, check out Bea's Book Nook tomorrow.

Guest post: by Mitchell Maxwell
 I have worked in the theater my entire adult life.  I took a few detours into making movies (which went well) and two into the sports world. My baseball experience was expensive but really fun while my sojourn into the international fight world was a disaster fiscally as well as almost ending my life in a melodramatic scene between me and some Russians with a gun.  But that story should be told in it its entirety while drinking Vodka.

Yet the theater keeps bringing me back-- actually never letting go.  I have experienced glory and magic the apex of anything anyone could hope to accomplish and I speak of little things not what you'd expect like gobs of cash or Tuxedos or shiny black limos.  I have also been at the nadir of my life where getting through the next twenty minutes was a challenge so painful it was tantamount to labor (well I can only project on that), when I wondered where my next dollar would come from let alone how my next show would get financed.  Yet even at the worst of times I find it hard to think about pursuing another path.  When you win and your cheeks are red rosy with adrenaline or when you believed what you saw in a draft of  script or an idea scribbled on the back of a napkin months ago that silences an audience or makes them howl with guffaws or causes them think or  be kinder well you are in a good place.  A place to hold onto.  But it is as if you are grabbing a handful of mist and so you begin again.  How do you start such a journey?  There is no road map and the younger you are the less you know where to begin.  There is no road map to fulfill an ephemeral impossible dream.  Except passion and perseverance, the ability to accept disappointment and fly without a net.  A blind insanity to figure it out along the way till you find a way home.  LITTLE DID I KNOW how little I knew.  Still thirty five years after the story in my novel takes place I am amazed how little I know.  I am more experienced of course, driven by the desire to soar again and to continue to find and create good work.  I am wizen and yet still full of good well and there are times when my enthusiasm is so high I feel it will make my head explode. The whole thing is sort of like a wild rollercoaster--screaming your way through promising you'll be good if you can just live through it all and then when the craziness ends you're first in line to buy another ticket. Along the way I'll come up with the next great idea and jot it all down on the back of the ticket of this crazy whiplash funhouse ride.  SRO  better buy your tickets now! 


  1. Terrific blog, Mitchell, and nice to meet you. I like the excerpt!