THEATER TALK: Full Interview With Joe Iconis | Neon Tommy
Katie Buenneke, Neon Tommy: Hi! I’m Katie.
Joe Iconis: Hello, nice to meet you, I’m Joe.
NT: Nice to meet you too! I guess we’ll just go ahead and get started.
NT: What made you want to become a composer?
Iconis: What did make me want to become a composer? I am from New York, originally from Long Island, and I saw the original production of “Little Shop of Horrors” when I was six years old, for my sixth birthday. It was kind of that, you know, it was the first musical that I ever saw, and I was very immediately hooked on musical theater from seeing that. And so yeah, it was kind of that, and I was so into it, and then it was the kind of thing where every holiday or birthday, what I would ask for as a present was going to see a show. And so from a young age, I just got really into theater, musical theater in particular. When I was like, little little, I’d be in shows cause that’s the way you can participate in theater when you’re that small, and I always was really terrified of being in the shows and I knew I wasn’t good, but I loved being a part of it, and then as soon as I was old enough to realize that there were people who wrote the shows, that was what I wanted to do, and I became totally obsessed with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Sondheim and just about their lives and their work and all that sort of stuff. And so yeah, that was just kind of it, as long as I ever had to answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” it was like, “I wanna write musicals!”
NT: That’s awesome! So now you’re living the dream.
Iconis: Yeah, sorta, sorta, yeah.
NT: So, besides the people you mentioned, who are some of your favorite musical theater composers, past & present?
Iconis: Oh my goodness. I love Stephen Sondheim, is probably the big one. I love him very much. I love Kander and Ebb, also, “Cabaret” is my favorite musical, I love it a lot. I love, who else? William Finn, who wrote “Falsettos,” and “Spelling Bee,” yeah. And sort of, as far as musical theater goes, my taste runs the gamut, I love classic musical theater, like Rodgers and Hammerstein, but I also love stuff like “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” Stephen Trask, and stuff like that, so yeah, it’s kind of all over the place.