Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Play reading explores screenwriter life

Express Staff Writer

John Carr Photo by

When Steve Shagan wrote "Save the Tiger," a film about the down trodden life of Harry Stoner, he created an Oscar award-winning lead role for Jack Lemmon. Shagan was also nominated for an Oscar for writing "Save the Tiger" and received a Writers Guild of America award for the script in 1974.

Shagan's Hollywood career as writer and producer spans over 30 years, and continues at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum with a play reading of his latest work, "Yokohama Seaweed" on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. The reading is free and open to the public.

"Steve and I worked in the business together," said long-time friend John Carr. "I was an editor and he was producing. Steve recently wrote 'Gotti' for HBO. He also wrote 'Formula' and 'Primal Fear' to which he gave a trick ending which was very Alfred Hitchcock."

Shagan loves to visit Sun Valley and has been part of the Sun Valley Writers' Conference. His brand new play is about a Hollywood writer who has been hired by three different people to do screenplays. The screenwriter has not had a hit in a while.

"It's clever," said actor and the nexStage Theatre marketing director Keith Moore. "There are a range of characters, and it's never been done before. This is the world premiere."

"The screenwriter is going under and going slowly mad," Carr said. "He lives with his characters as ghosts. The play has lots of feeling and all the characters are very intense. And, it has an uplifting and feel good ending."

The ghosts include a gorilla, the great grandson of King Kong, Raincoat, a blue-collar worker who has lost his job, and Adolph Eichman, a mass murdering führer.

Carr said a variety of directors have inquired about making the play into a film, but Shagan would like to make a play first.

"Steve has been up here with me, and he likes it up here" Carr said. He wanted to test the play here as opposed to Boston, New York or California. I love his writing and he is top in Hollywood."

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