Episode 021 – Scott Baker – Actor, Bally Master, Santa


Scott_Baker_Bally_Master_02Scott Baker is truly one of a kind on this earth.  He is the barker or bally master for the Coney Island Freak Show in the summers.  In the winters he is often (when not acting in films or plays) Santa Claus in one of the big department stores.  He was in the legendary show Oh! Calcutta! for 12 years on Broadway, and he also did some porn acting in the 70s-80s!  Quite an amazing and varied life!

He and I met doing theatre Off Off Broadway at the Drilling Company years ago, and he was my muse there in the beginning when I was writing a lot of bizarre comedies for which he was so perfectly suited.  He added his unique stamp to all of those short plays.

Interestingly the interview took a dark and serious turn when we talked about his experiences being mugged in NYC.  NYC is a safer city now, but the area where he’s lived (and in other areas around the 5 boroughs) the city has gone through some major changes through the years.

I promise you will enjoy this talk with Scott Baker!

Topics covered in the interview:

  • Intro  (0:00)
  • Hello Scott! How we met — Two Eggs and La Mouche (3:49)
  • Bally Master a short documentary film about Scott Baker  (8:17)
  • The Coney Island Freak Show — three kinds of freaks (12:00)
  • Early inspirations, Frank Lentini and Gilbert Mysto Magic Set (16:30)
  • How to learn how to pound a nail into your head or eat fire, Coney Island Side Show School (20:32)
  • Winter job, Santa Claus (24:56)
  • How Scott got to New York (25:51)
  • Scott performs in adult films – “Rupert!” (27:23)
  • Oh! Calcutta! on Broadway (33:12)
  • How Times Square has changed, being mugged by gunpoint (37:30)
  • “Bizarre, Interesting or Horrible Audition Stories” (44:00)
  • Kitschy interests and new project: Elvis, Santa, John Wilkes Booth, Frankenstein (50:43)
  • Cancer survivor — of the soft palette (55:16)
  • Remembering director, Richard Harden (59:29)

As usual my buddy Sal Clemente (of Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra) who wrote the podcast theme song, “Here We Go Again,” plays us out.  URO has a concert coming up.  Click the link to find out more!

Episode 013 – Hamilton Clancy of The Drilling Company – part 1


Stephen Bittrich & Hamilton Clancy on stage of The Drilling Company Theater

In 2000 I was introduced to a theatre company called The Drilling Company which at that time produced new one-acts in themed evenings.  They’ve since branched out into full-lengths, play development and even Shakespeare in the Parking Lot on the Lower East Side.

I can’t think of many plays I’ve written in the past 14 years which have not been in some way inspired or nurtured by The Drilling Company, which is helmed by my friend, Artistic Director, Hamilton Clancy.

In part 1 of this two part interview, Hamilton and I talk about the history of the company as they begin their 16th season.

Don’t forget that Drilling Company is now running The Norwegians by C. Denby Swanson.  Go to the website for more info:  www.drillingcompany.org.

Topics covered in the interview:

  • Welcome Hamilton and audience  (1:49)
  • How the company began, and the first show (7:00)
  • Second show Neighbors and how I met Drilling Company (12:59)
  • Company member Scott Baker’s Kringled (15:15)
  • The one-act evenings and the themes (18:58)
  • The Drilling Company Theater space on 78th Street (22:12)
  • Why is the company called The Drilling Company (25:08)
  • Political theatre, George Bush years (27:53)
  • A man of many hats, including writer (31:27)
  • Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, crap on the moon (37:33)
  • Dave Marantz’s story about the sword/knife fight in the parking lot (45:53)
  • In the Car stories, the birth of the read-aloud (49:48)

As usual my buddy Sal Clemente (of Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra) who wrote the podcast theme song, “Here We Go Again,” plays us out.