Sharr White’s relationship with Broadway has been one of perseverance. After 10 years, the playwright returns to the Main Stem this season with his adaptation of “Pictures From Home,” Larry Sultan’s photo memoir.
On the latest episode of “The Broadway Show with Tamsen Fadal,” White chats with Beth Stevens in a new Building Broadway segment about how he got his start, as well as his introduction to Sultan’s book.
White made his Broadway debut in 2013 with his play “The Other Place,” which, Stevens noted, was a long-hoped-for milestone.
“It took decades,” White said. “I just buckled down for the long haul. I didn’t have any prospects. I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t go to school [for this]. I wasn’t connected in the industry.”
White began writing plays in the 1990s. One of his early breaks came when his play, “Six Years,” was presented at the Actors Theatre of Louisville as part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays in 2006.
In addition to playwriting, White was working as an advertising copywriter to provide stability for his family. Even when “The Other Place” premiered Off-Broadway, directed by Joe Mantello and starring Laurie Metcalf, he kept his 9-to-5 gig. “I would leave work. I would run to rehearsals in the afternoon. I would go back to work,” White said. “I was really hustling.”
A decade after his last Broadway appearance, “Pictures From Home” brings him back.
Stevens drew parallels between White’s tenacity and that of his subject, Larry Sultan, who spent nearly 10 years studying his family as he developed the book that combines interviews, photographs and his own meditations on mortality.
The playwright was initially drawn to “Pictures From Home” upon visiting an exhibit of select photos from the book at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “In the end,” White said, “it’s the search for the project that makes the project so poignant.”
This week’s episode of “The Broadway Show” features an interview with original “Dreamgirls” cast member Jennifer Holliday, who is set to perform at 54 Below later this month as part of the venue’s Diamond Series. Viewers can also learn more about Joel Meyers, who recently assumed the role of Albus Potter in the Broadway cast of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” Two shows celebrating milestones are also highlighted, including “Into the Woods” for its Best Musical Theater Album Grammy Award win and “MJ” for surpassing one year on Broadway. Footage from The Broadway League’s Teachers Night on Broadway, including an appearance from Bebe Neuwirth, and interviews with cast members from “& Juliet” are also included this week.
“The Broadway Show with Tamsen Fadal” airs on weekends. Check your local listings for air time and channel.