You’ve heard all about them as writers, now check out this interview with MANN… AND WIFE creators Douglas J. Cohen and Dan Elish about their life outside of the theatre, including their first dates!
(See Part I of the Q & A here)
What do you think of as the defining moment of your career thus far?
Doug: I don’t know if there has been one defining moment, but I made my NY writing debut with NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY, which received some healthy attention. Befriending Frank D. Gilroy (author of THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES) and adapting his movie THE GIG was also personally and professionally significant. Meeting Dan at the copy machine at Lincoln Center turned out to be a defining moment, as was working with Michael Baron on the world premiere of my musical THE OPPOSITE OF SEX at the Magic Theatre.
Dan: I guess the defining moment of my career was probably my first professional success which was the acceptance of my first kids’ novel, “The Worldwide Dessert Contest” in 1987. I remember the editor taking me out to lunch and making me an offer. That was a thrill.
If you didn’t work in the performing arts, what would your job be?
Doug: For eighteen years, I was an employment counselor. Now I teach, which is tremendously rewarding. Someday I hope to work with animals.
Dan: I’d probably be a teacher. In college I flirted with the idea of teaching elementary school. I’m not really sure what I would’ve done. Like most writers, I had a real bug to be in the arts. It was something I was driven to do so I didn’t consider other options seriously.
Henry’s side hobby is writing musicals. What’s yours?
Doug: I spend so much of my time writing and working as a private vocal coach and teacher at the Neighborhood Playhouse that I really don’t have a major hobby, sorry to say. I’m a movie buff but have little time to attend movies. I like to cook but hate navigating in our minuscule New York City kitchen. I love walking, traveling, and exploring. And any time I can hang out with my family and our pets is such a gift, but that’s not exactly a hobby.
Dan: My side hobby is practicing classical piano. I have a real passion for it. I also like to read and hang out with my family.
What is your favorite thing about Oklahoma?
Doug: Since 95% of my time here has been spent inside a theater, I guess I’d have to say my “favorite thing” is the Plaza stage. (I also like driving my PT Cruiser!)
Dan: Lyric, of course! Everyone there from Michael Baron on down has been utterly fantastic. A great experience. I also like the Thunder and want to hang out with Kevin Durant.
In the show, Henry goes on a couple first dates. What was your first date?
Doug: I saw a movie in high school with Katie Pirozok. Since I didn’t have my driver’s license yet, my father chauffeured. Needless to say, the date was fraught with limitations.
Dan: Well, all my first so-called girlfriends were at summer camp so my first dates were probably the weekly dances or perhaps walking in the pasture.
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