WESTPORT, Conn. — Westporter Ed Katz caught the film and theater bug early and film became one of his two majors at Syracuse University.
But it was when, as newlyweds, his wife took him to see “Les Miserables” on Broadway that he truly became enamored with The Great White Way.
“After that I started to love musicals, too,” said the award-winning marketing guru. “Then I took her to see ‘The Who’s Tommy’ on Broadway and I was hooked.”
So it’s no surprise that Katz was WICC-AM 600’s choice to host Katz Reviews, a new morning drive-time feature covering both Broadway and the burgeoning local theater scene.
“Ed Katz tells it like it is when reviewing Broadway shows, as well as our local theater productions,” said Cumulus Regional Program Director Danny Lyons. “You won’t want to see a show until you hear Katz Reviews.”
Managing principal of Katnip Marketing LLC, Katz already had a deep understanding of the marketing side of the arts, entertainment, media and other sectors.
But his nights have been filled with theater, as an audience member, writer and producer.
"Along with my marketing work, this has been a passion of mine for a long time and people have been asking me for theater recommendations for years,” said Katz, whose reviews ait at 6:50 a.m. each Tuesday.
Want to get an idea of Katz’ tastes?
He’s a fan of classic musicals, including “Fiddler on the Roof,” “1776,” “The King & I” and “Chicago,” as well as more recent “Wicked” and “Spring Awakening.”
His top plays include “Rosencrantz and Guidenstern Are Dead,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Waiting for Godot,” “Copenhagen” and “Doubt.”
Katz has written a musical and is on the producing team for a play version of “The King’s Speech,” which is planning a run on Broadway.
A board member at The Klein in Bridgeport, he is a producer of an award-winning sci-fi rock comedy, “Save the Robots,” which is looking at a theatrical run in Greenwich Village this summer.
Asked what’s exciting about today’s theater scene, Katz is quick to mention the "Hamilton" Effect, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster play’s ability to energize the whole industry.
“And it was right on the heels of ‘Book of Mormon,’” he said. “Both shows broke many boundaries and, not only that, they were both huge hits.”
Locally, Katz was impressed by Downtown Cabaret’s inventive production of “In the Heights,” directed by Christy Macintosh-Newsom, and Westport Community Theater’s “Moon Over the Brewery,” starring Stratford High School freshman Katelyn Ferrari.
So who are his picks for the Tonys on June 11? Katz sees the coveted Best Musical coming down to “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Come From Away,” with Ben Platt and Andy Karl vying for Best Actor in a Musical and Bette Midler likely a shoo-in for “Hello, Dolly.”
“For all others, I will wait a little longer to make predictions,” he said. “You may just have to tune in to hear them!”