Review Fix chats with “Ditko” writer Lenny Schwartz to find out what inspired the production based on the work and like of original Spider-Man artist Steve Ditko.
About the Production:
The Daydream Theatre and TheatreLab NYC present DITKO, a play Written & Directed by Lenny Schwartz on October 1 & 2nd 2019 at 7:30pm Tickets: $15 in advance at Ovationtix.com and $20 at the door the location of TheatreLab is 357 WEST 36th STREET 3RD FLOOR – NEW YORK
Ditko tells the story of Steve Ditko, a comic book illustrator virtually forgotten by the masses, but celebrated by comic book fans everywhere,” reads the description. “Chronicling his rise in the comic book industry, Dtiko is instrumental in Marvel’s success by co-creating two of comics most iconic characters, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange and several of DC’s silver age icons, Hawk and Dove, Shade the Changing Man, and the Creeper. Ditko also worked for virtually every other publisher of note including Warren, Charlton, Pacific, and Eclipse, co-creating other iconic characters like Mr. A, the Question and Blue Beetle.”
The cast includes Derek Laurendeau, Geoff White, Emily Lamarre, Samantha Acampora, Nick Tvaroha, Dave Almeida,Tonia Klemp, o, Christopher Ferreira, Mindy Britto, Jonah Coppolelli, Timothy DeLisle and Anne Wareham Bowman. DITKO is written and directed by Lenny Schwartz. The Production Manager is Lauren Arneson. Poster Design by Josh Lynch
About Lenny Schwartz:
LENNY SCHWARTZ is a writer/director of such plays as Subject 62, Kung-Fu Babies, The Inside of His Severed Head, Ben Minus Zoe Minus Ben, The Social Avenger andCo-Creator amongst many others. He is also the screen- writer of such films as Murder University, Normal, Acci- dental Incest and the upcoming The Haunted and The Hunted, Codename: Dynastud (Scorpio FIlms Releasing)Long Night in a Dead City (Scorpio Film Releasing) andHigher Methods (IM Filmworks) as well as a few more things he cannot talk about. His next plays are Me Three: A Guide to New Beginnings (April 2019 here!!) and A Seduction of the Innocent (Fall 2019) Lenny is also a columnist for the website Forces of Geek.
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project?
Lenny Schwartz: I’ve always loved Spider-Man. He was just so relatable to me as a kid and a young adult. I felt like Peter Parker. If you like Spider-Man, well, all roads lead to Ditko.
He’s an unsung hero of modern entertainment. The work that he has done is everywhere in pop culture. And I’m not just taking comic books. I’m talking EVERYWHERE. Movies, clothes, sneakers, backpacks. Everyone knows him from Dr Strange and Spider-Man. But if you look, well, there wouldn’t be a Watchmen without him. It’s true. There wouldn’t be a Rorschach. There wouldn’t be a character of the Question(who’s currently playing a major role the the DC Universe at the moment). There wouldn’t be a Doomsday Clock series.
He was a creative genius and a genuinely fascinating person. Now there’s been a few people that said that Ditko was a private person and that he would have hated the play. And Steve would have. He might even have called it a poison pill. But history is quick to forget people like Ditko. And we cannot let this happen. I had a young man this week watch the first act of the show, and he wasn’t a comic fan. He asked me after “how much of this is true?” And I told him “it all is.” His mind was blown because he thought that Stan Lee created Spider-Man alone and had no idea that there was a Ditko. That’s not right. We have a responsibility as comic fans and as genuine human beings to tell the story. And to know the history. And to honor this man.
Review Fix: What is your creative process?
Schwartz: My creative process varies from project to project. For this one I interviewed as many people as I could and immersed myself in Ditko’s world. And then I just studied reports of how he acted. Mannerisms people said he had. The psychology was important to make it work for all the characters including Stan Lee. It wouldn’t work otherwise.
Review Fix: What did you learn/are learning about yourself through this process?
Schwartz: I learned that I would do anything to tell this story. It needed to be told. This is a self-produced play and it’s low budget theatre. I’m not looking to make money on this. I’m looking to tell the story the best way that I know how.
I’ve also learned that I like Ditko’s world view popular or no. He was a good man with ethics he would not compromise. I needed to hear that, and even if he isn’t around anymore he helped me in my life recognize how to value oneself. Hi
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this piece for the future?
Schwartz: The ultimate goals for the piece is to educate and to entertain and to get his story out to as many people as possible. I mostly don’t want to lose any money on it(we won’t) and to make sure we tell the story in the best way possible.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Schwartz: Next up is a play about the Gun culture in America. And then I really want to bring the Bill Finger story about the creation of Batman to NYCC in 2020. Let’s do it.