100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

June 01, 1990 - Image 75

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-06-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ENTERTAINMENT

Wall Street Wit

No 'bull,' Jerry Sterner's
stock as a playwright is on the rise.

STEVE HARTZ

Staff Writer

all Street has Jerry
Sterner's grand-
mother to thank for
making it the laughing stock
of the theater world. Sterner's
grandmother was the one
who introduced him to the
smell of the grease paint and
the roar of the crowd.

"My left-wing grand-
mother came in from Florida
and shlepped me to see In-
herit the Wind," Sterner
said. "I left that theater say-
ing, "This is what I want to
do.' "

Today, Sterner, 51, has in-
herited more than the wind;
he's obtained a gift for com-
edic playwrighting. His
play, Other People's Money,
has blown in to Detroit's
Fisher Theater. The show
runs through June 10.

Jerry Sterner: playwright.

The play centers around
Larry Garfinkle, Larry the
Liquidator to his Wall Street
pals. He is a fat, greasy-
lipped corporate raider who
feasts on companies as well
as an occasional doughnut
here and there.
Sterner's inspiration for
writing Other People's
Money was the plight of a
small Michigan business
bought by a corporate raider
in a takeover struggle. On a
trip to Michigan in 1985,
Sterner stopped by the fac-
tory.
"It was eerily empty and
saddened me so much that I
wanted to write a play about
it," Sterner said.
The comedy opened off-
Broadway in February 1989
and last June in Chicago;
both productions have
unlimited engagements.
British theatergoers will get
their first glimpse of the

show when it opens in Lon-
don next fall.
Germany, Spain, Italy,
Australia, South Africa and
Israel have purchased the
rights to stage the play in
their native tongues.
"There's even interest in
the Soviet Union, but I don't
want it staged there," he
said. "Why kill capitalism
before it gets off the
ground?"
Hollywood has also been
bitten by the comedy. Dustin
Hoffman, Michelle Pfeiffer
and Gregory Peck are
Warner Brothers' top can-
didates to star in the
screenplay of Other People's
Money which begins rolling
this fall.
Starring in its road pro-
duction are Tony Lo Bianco
and Julie Boyd. Lo Bianco,
who will play Garfinkle, has
starred in several Broadway
productions, including Ar-
thur Miller's A View from
the Bridge. Boyd's Broadway
credits include Noises Off
Sterner did not begin to
write plays until he was in
his mid-20s.
"Like a good Jewish boy, I
went to college," he said.
"But after six years, I was
beginning to enter my junior
year. I said this is crazy, so I
got a job working the
graveyard shift selling
tickets for the New York sub-
way system."
It was in the small ticket
booth that Sterner wrote
plays. In the six years he
worked for the transmit au-
thority, he penned six plays.
His marriage to Jean
Rothstein, a computer
systems analyst, in 1967 and
the birth of his daughters,
Emily and a few years later
Kate, were the reasons
Sterner left the ticket booth
and landed a real estate job.
He realized he could make
more money writing leases
than writing plays. Sterner
also decided it was time to
invest money for his family's
future, so he began to shop
the stock market.
"That world is fascinating.
Money has a life of its own. If

"I'm at the theater more than any sane writer should be."

you know how people feel
about money, that's more
revealing than any other
single thing I know," he
said.
By the time Sterner was
42, his investments were
paying off so well that he
was able to quit his job as a
packager of real estate tax
shelters and resharpen his
pencils.
In 1986, his play, Be
Happy for Me, a comedy,
closed after one night off
Broadway.
"I still enjoyed it," he said
of the chance to see his play
staged. "The process of
working with the actors, get-
ting up to bat, made me
more determined to write
better." -
So, he began writing Other
People's Money. Shortly
after Sterner put the

finishing touches on Money,
he found out firsthand how it
felt to be a stock market
loser. When the market
crashed on Oct. 19, 1987, he
lost about $500,000.
"I don't think I ever felt
worse in my adult life," he
said.
Now that Other People's
Money has more than made
up for his financial losses,
Sterner frequently is found
at the off-Broadway theater
where his play, still splitting
shares, first opened 16 mon-
ths ago.
"I'm at the theater more
than any sane writer should
be," he said. "I'm the
shlumpy-looking one. You
show up, mingle, eavesdrop.
It's like your bar mitzvah,
except you don't have to pay
for it. I never get tired of
it."



THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

67

Back to Top

© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan