Stephen Cole, Musical Theatre Writer-Episode #78

Jun 13, 2019 | 11 comments

Stephen Cole is an award-winning musical theatre writer whose shows have been recorded, published, and produced on stages around the world. Stephen’s off-Broadway musical, After the Fair, with music by Matthew Ward was the winner of 5 Dallas Theatre Awards, including Best New Play or Musical. It was nominated for the Outer Critic’s Circle Award for Best Musical and was subsequently produced in London.

The Night of the Hunter, with music by Claibe Richardson, won the prestigious Edward Kleban Award, and was produced as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2006, where Stephen won a Best Lyricist nod.

Other well-known Stephen Cole musicals include: Saturday Night at Grossinger’s with music by Claibe Richardson, the tour of Casper, with music by Matthew Ward, featuring the legendary Chita Rivera, Dodsworth with music by Jeffrey Saver that featured Hal Linden and Dee Hoty, Aspire with composer David Krane, in which they were commissioned to write the first American musical to premiere in the Middle East. Their experiences resulted in another musical about the creation of that show entitled The Road to Qatar. Most recently, Stephen conceived, wrote, and directed Lynne Halliday in My Heart Belongs to Mary, a celebration of the career of the legendary Mary Martin.

Stephen has written continuity, narration, and special material for twenty different Drama League Shows including all-star tributes to Kander and Ebb, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Terrence McNally, Liz Smith, Peter Stone, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth and Audra McDonald.

Stephen is also a published author with four books to his credit including That Book About That Girl, I Could Have Sung All Night, the Marni Nixon story, Noel Coward, a Bio-Bibliography, and Charles Strouse’s memoir Put on a Happy Face.

Upcoming in September, a production of Merman’s Apprentice will be staged in Sonoma, California and an October production of Casper will be performed in Cincinnati. Three other musicals that are on deck: Black and White Ball, Goin’ Hollywood, and Ain’t it the Truth.

Stephen is also working on a new novel and short stories.

For more information, please check out stephencolewriter.org.



Executive Producer: Steve Cuden, Producer: Casey Georgi, Announcer: Javier Grajeda
Social Media: Mina Hoffman, Design & Marketing: Holly Reed, Reed Creative Group


  1. Jocelyn

    Stephen Cole gives us tremendous insight into the mind and heart of a master writer of all genres. His process is complex and inspiring! Stephen’s personal journey is blended with the history of the theatre. A marvelous interview that is a treasure for all people who perform, produce and appreciate the arts.

  2. Kathleen

    Absolutely unforgettable! I am privileged to know Stephen and thoroughly moments/hours divine, in his company. This was a wonderful way to get to know him better!

  3. Marcia tuttle

    Congrats! Sounds like you’re a very busy man! Hopefully some day your shows will be in Indiana so I can see!

    • Stephen Cole

      Indiana is a place I loved when I toured in To Kill a Mockingbird. The birthplace of Cole Porter.

  4. Ilene Cooper

    Checking in to see if my comment re: Podcast with Stephen Cole was received last night.

  5. Stephen Cole

    Wow! I agree with everything this man says. Oh yes. I am this man.

    Thanks so much!

  6. Elden Buck

    Wonderfully engaging and informative, happy making.

  7. Jon

    Damn good episode, Cud. Very inspiring guest. It’s amazing how much inspiration can be derived from people who quietly knock out good work year in and year out. Great insights on collaboration, and looking to past experts for context and craft.

  8. Joni Rapp

    Great interview from top to bottom. Fun; flowing…just like you.
    Most informative for anyone wanting to get into writing or Musical Theatre.
    “Thinking” comes first.” Great Thought!
    “I like a Plot” (asked what makes a good story). YES!
    “I Believe characters Singing.” Yup!
    “The Title is Vital” and the Hook (*I have always believed in the HOOK!)
    “What would be nice?”
    Opera and Weber musicals… We agree. Zzzzzzzz…
    Commissions versus writing for yourself. Got it
    Hahaha HUSBANDS ….not liking musicals. BUT, yes, differing generations.
    “Maybe” if they get to a show…they will want more.” I agree…Nahhhh…
    Interestingly….George Will…Conservative Columnist, on the VIEW today; “The Political Parties will Never be the same. They will have to change…and they are changing.”. Just like what you say about Broadway
    The intelligent banter between Cole and Kuden; two people who actually KNOW Theatre (and how it begins for someone) is fascinating.
    I hope, after September, and Merman’s Apprentice hits CA., you are interviewed on TV (Prime time)…as well as this.
    Advice: “Have a Producer head…..business head….” etc.
    “Make A killing, NOT a Living.” <–Love that.
    "Learn." (always)…
    No deadline? …… Hold on the, "Back burner.
    "Hopefully a collaborator to get you going" <—paraphrase. I agree. (I always work well with a partner).
    Lone writing….? (Times have changed). Maybe a new Genre': Novels? OK…but quickly back to Broadway…
    You say,(paraphrase)… "The AUDIENCE is going to be the FINAL approval. Either they laugh or they don't laugh."
    *Advice from Stephen Cole: "If you can't do anything else…if you love it…if you know your craft; and keep learning from the GREATS. Know everything about your business (like Doctor's). Know the HISTORY of theatre….what worked when… even if you didn't like it…learn from it. "GO BACK and study Old Musicals from the Golden Days." OKLAHOMA! :)

    I LOVE this interview.
    Biggest disaster? "A few bad partners…" (paraphrase).
    Wish? Bob and Bing again.
    Stephen Cole… I adore you…(Big Merman's Apprentiuce fan…among others)…
    Steve Cuden….Thank you SO much

    • Stephen Cole

      wow! i just read this. Thank you Joni!


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