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Ask Bob Blume – Column #36- Directing for Television vs Theatre with guest Steve Zuckerman (Part 1 of 2)

Ask Bob Blume – Column #36- Directing for Television vs Theatre with guest Steve Zuckerman (Part 1 of 2)

Happy New Year!, this is ASK BOB BLUME – a twice weekly visual column with summary discussing issues pertinent to the entertainment industry and appearing exclusively here on Times Square Chronicles. I am your Host and president of Step Forward Entertainment, a Talent Management and Production company located in both New York and Los Angeles. I am currently in New York.

Our column is also a benefit for The Actors Fund Covid 19 relief effort and I ask you to go to the link below on your screen and donate if you are in position to do so. They are most grateful to accept donations from $25 to whatever you want and this money is used to help out all eligible members of the entertainment community as a stimulus while in the pandemic.

Steve Zuckerman (with L to R) William Shatner, Jonathan Sadowski,  Will Sasso (back) and Nicole Sullivan of CBS sitcom, $#*! My Dad Says

The subject of today’s column #36 is Directing For Television vs Theatre with guest Steve Zuckerman. Zuckerman is a major director in both mediums. Part 1 has Steve taking us on his journey from college, the NY theatre to directing soap operas prior to move to LA.

Steve Zuckerman with Darlene Kaplan (wife and Talent Manager)

“I am asked all the time is “how do you get to be a director?” My response is to quote the great Mike Nichols who said: “Call yourself a director and then spend the rest of your life proving it to everyone!” Being a director is not cookie cutter as it is very individual. A director should have a quality that when he/she walks onto a stage, everyone, without any introduction, will know that you are the director. It is a confidence that needs to be developed.”

“My first directing job was in college. Although I went to University of Michigan to be a doctor, after being an actor in high school. I dropped out of med school because it just did not interest me. I then went to New York.
While working as part of the Guest Relations Staff at NBC, which is where I met Bob Blume, I landed a job directing radio at WNBC radio, which was a talk radio station at the time.”

After that was phased out, I petitioned Univ of Michigan to come back as a TV/Film/Theatre student and returned to college until I graduated. Then I attended Yale Drama School. From there I returned to NYC and went into the theatre working as a stage manager, doing production jobs, etc. until I found a theatre that let me direct”. 

“One of the most difficult lessons I learned, which affects both theatre and TV, is that you must fire an actor who is not connecting. The director is responsible and replacing an actor for the good of the production, is difficult.

“To succeed, as a director, whether it be TV or theatre you need first talent, but also confidence, persistence and luck. Sometimes you get lucky early on with a hit but that can be a problem down the line, whereas, working for that hit could make you a better director.”

“I directed many plays in New York including shows at The Impossible Ragtime Theater. However, many of those works were revivals or interpretations of known plays, which rarely gets you anywhere. To get noticed is to direct new plays. To facilitate this, I left The Impossible Ragtime Theater and became part of the literary department of Circle in the Square Theater and read plays and put on readings. There I found Nuts, a play I loved. After offering it to Ted Mann and Paul Libin at Circle in the Square and being turned down, I took Nuts to the WPA where it was a hit and moved to Broadway and made my career. Now I am a theater director regularly directing new plays at the very prestigious WPA theater in NY.”

“The difference between being a theatre director and TV director has to do with reinventing yourself. As both an actor and director, you must always be ready to reinvent yourself.”

“As a followup to Nuts, I did a play with Broadway aspirations, that never got realized. I knew then it was time to reinvent myself and took up an offer to direct soap operas, mostly Another World on NBC. During the next few years I continued to direct both theatre and soap operas.”

“I have found that many actors, do not really read the play or script thoroughly, but just skip through to work on their lines. The director’s job is to read the script, understand the entire script and help them understand the big picture. To be continued…..

Steve Zuckerman’ website

Steve Zuckerman’ IMDB

Bob Blume’s company site is 

To Donate to The Actors Fund:

To Send in a question:

To see ALL of the prior columns: ASK BOB BLUME columns


Ask Bob Blume is a new twice-weekly Video Column giving career advice to actors/performers of all ages, who are either current professionals or looking to enter show business. The column will offer free advice, and answer questions from viewer emails by Robert R Blume (aka Bob) a respected veteran entertainment talent manager and producer. As the President of the bi-coastal talent management and production company Step Forward Entertainment, Bob currently oversees the careers of professional actors/singers/dancers/reporters, as well as serving as an Executive Producer of the Annual DRAMA DESK AWARDS (the “Golden Globes” of theatre) from 1999 until 2018. To submit questions: For information on Bob: /

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