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June 02, 2016 2 min read

Does the mere thought of Leona Helmsley lend itself to lovely music? The late hotelier -- whose tyrannical management style made her infamous and branded her as the boss from hell -- is on her way to the Broadway stage. Composer Ron Passaro, along with creator/writers Alex Lippard and David Lee, is in the process of bringing The Queen of Mean: The Rise and Fall of Leona Helmsley to life.

How exactly does inspiring creativity happen when you are on a strict deadline, with many people folding their arms and impatiently waiting for you to produce brilliance? Ron finds it ironic; he’s rarely creative without a deadline, so the intense pressure is a necessity in getting the job done. In fact, since his graduation from NYU’s Tisch Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program (where Ron met Alex and David), he’s rarely creative without that looming damn deadline hanging over his head.

Ron was inspired by one of his professors, Mel Marvin, who advised him to “just do it:” start working on the music -- you will be amazed at how inspiration tends to show up. In fact, it often helps to get away from your tiresome old tools (be it piano or laptop or spreadsheet) and rely only on your mind to create, so that you are completely free and uninhibited.

That’s cool, but what if the final result on paper does not live up to the awesome image that first impressed you in your mind? Ron finds that it usually comes down to two causes: either he came up with an idea or concept that he later realized couldn’t be executed in the real world as originally conceived, or he simply wasn’t able to translate a good idea accurately enough. The solution, according to Ron: never stop honing your craft and constantly learn from the masters.

Ron’s three words to live by: never give up.

Find out more about the progress of The Queen of Mean (most recently starring Tovah Feldshuh of The Walking Dead and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend).


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