Q: Do the characters and situations in your plays—as farcical as they may be at times—have a basis in real life, specifically in your real life?
Ken Ludwig: Absolutely. But I didn’t always know it when I was first writing the plays. Take Lend Me a Tenor. When I first wrote it, I thought it was a kind of fantasy about the people I would like to live with. Then, as more and more friends saw it, they said, “Ken, it’s you. Max is you. Don’t you get it?” If you don’t know the play: it’s about a young man who wants to be an opera star and believes he has certain talents inside him that no one else can see. In the course of the play he proves to the world that he does have the talent he believes in—and he proves it to himself as well.
When I wrote Lend Me a Tenor, I was a young playwright with no real successes behind me. In fact, I went to law school because I thought I needed something to fall back on. And so I spent time practicing law as sort of my day job, and at the same time I wanted to write for the theatre. I thought I had it in me. I had strong beliefs about art—and especially about the theatre—and I wanted to express them. I wanted to convey my belief in self-worth and a shared humanity. And that’s what mattered to me and I thought I could convey.
Excerpted from an interview by Ron Ziegler.