Dramatists Guild Fund

#5Q4F 2014: Max Vernon, Composer/Lyricist

Credits include: The View UpStairs and WIRED.


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  • Who do you look to for inspiration?

Laura Nyro, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Joe Orton, Charles Busch, Willi Ninja

  •      What’s the best (or worst) job not related to your career you ever had?

I once assisted in doing research for a book on Harriet Hubbard Ayer, this female entrepreneur who created this massive cosmetics company, only to be involuntarily committed for “insanity” by her husband in a bid to steal her fortune. I spent the day at the county clerk’s office sifting through these dusty court transcripts from the 1800’s that no one had looked at in a hundred+ years- It appeased my desire to be both Sherlock Holmes and an irate radical feminist in one fell swoop.

  •      Where would you rather be if you couldn’t be here doing this?

Holding a seance to try and communicate with Mama Cass.

  •      When did you decide you were going to take over the universe?

I recently rediscovered this stick figure drawing I did of myself in kindergarten. It’s me standing in this Evita-esque pose accompanied by the text “one day I will be a broadway star!” So apparently I was already a megalomaniac at age five. But more generally, I knew I’d have to take over the universe when I saw that the kind of musical theatre I wanted to see didn’t exist.

  •      Why would you ever stop writing, if you ever stopped writing?

I think in the musical theatre world, I’m probably seen as something of a curiosity. I prefer Siouxsie Sioux to Sondheim and write lyrics like “I was escorted into clubs by a semi-famous nightlife personality who douched with clorox and drank urine homeopathically.” So- trying to convince the gate keepers of musical theatre that what I do is valid can sometimes feel like living in the twilight zone. I can’t imagine I’ll ever stop writing, but I might eventually have to take some kind of break to exfoliate my soul.

Bonus Question: How do you measure, measure a year? 

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of whiskey.


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This entry was posted on February 26, 2014 by in 5Q4F, DGFellows and tagged , .
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