Larry Todd Johnson
Writer - Director - Producer - Now in Chicago!
In August 2009, I left a 13-year position as a line producer at Walt Disney Television in Los Angeles to relocate to Chicago. What causes a lifelong So Cal resident to uproot himself and start over in the Midwest? Well, at the risk of ‘over-sharing’ on my home page... let’s just say that I came to Chicago because it is exactly the right city to start a new chapter in my life. The warm and genuine people, the feeling of home and community, and the rich cultural heritage that Chicago offers were all immediately apparent to me.
Here is what I left behind in sunny SoCal:
As a Line Producer for Disney, I managed the development, pre-production, and post-production for numerous animated series and video release projects, including My Friends Tigger and Pooh, Yin Yang Yo!, American Dragon, House of Mouse and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. I created and maintained detailed budget plans and schedules, interfaced between the subcontractors and Disney to ensure proper budgeting and scheduling guidelines were maintained, traveled internationally to oversee multiple subcontractor studios, and managed in-house artistic and administrative staffs of up to 60 persons. In addition to these duties, I also worked as a freelance writer on numerous animated series, including Yin Yang Yo!, The Care Bears (2009), and Angela Anaconda.
On top of all of this, I also spent a great deal of time over the last 20 years honing my skills as a bookwriter/lyricist for musical theatre. My musical theatre career began in college, with a B.A. in Theatre Arts from UCLA and a Master’s in Playwriting from Cal State Fullerton. My master’s thesis, a musical drama called All That He Was (with composer Cindy O'Connor), won the Kennedy Center National Student Playwrighting Award and the KC/ACTF Musical Theater Award. In February 2010, I attended a very exciting and experimental new student production of All That He Was at the Tisch School of the Arts in NYC.
My historical-fiction musical, The Last Princess, with composer Alan Hong, was featured in the Disney/ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles.
More recently, I am the bookwriter/lyricist on a project titled Now and Then a Hero, with composer Jake Anthony, which was developed as a collaboration between the Colony Theatre in Burbank, CA, and the Academy for New Musical Theatre in North Hollywood, CA, and is currently in development. Now and Then a Hero had its most successful reading in July, 2010, at the Montana Rep. Colony in Missoula.
I am also the bookwriter/lyricist on 40 is the New 15, again with Cindy O'Connor, which had a six-week workshop production opening July 22nd 2009 at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood, CA. It was a critical and commercial success, nominated for a 2010 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre, and was chosen by Stephen Schwartz for the ASCAP/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop in Burbank on February 2 and 18, 2010. A new 'full-scale' production ran from July 16 to August 22, 2010, at the NoHo Arts Center in North Hollywood, CA.
On the horizon, I'm writing lyrics for a new musical adaptation of Hedda Gabler called Beautiful, with book by Adrian Bewley and music by Cindy O'Connor. Still much work ahead for us, but that's the exciting part... right? I just completed a draft of Mercy: Variations with composer Mike O'Mara, and readings are planned in Los Angeles and Chicago.
-Larry Todd Johnson