Tom Kirdahy is a lawyer and five-time Tony nominated producer. He is the Vice Chair of the Broadway League’s Government Relations Committee and is a founding trustee of Berwin Lee London New York Playwrights, Inc., a not-for-profit committed to the art of playwriting.
He lives in New York City with his husband and his dog.
What first got you excited about The White Chip?
When I was first given the play I wasn’t interested because it had the word “chip” in the title and I thought that meant it was about computers. Wow, was I wrong! I read the first few pages and was riveted. I couldn’t put it down. The White Chip excites me because it’s a very funny play about a very serious subject. A subject that is near and dear to my heart.
You’ve been pretty open about your recovery from addiction—why do you think that openness is important?
I’m a gay man. I hate closets that enslave us. I was enslaved by my addiction. Coming out about my addiction liberates me, and I hope it serves to liberate others as well. If people who are struggling with alcoholism/addiction see others who are leading healthy, productive, happy lives, it is my hope that they will be inspired to get help.
Do you find that Sean’s stories are reflective of your own?
If I don’t see myself in Sean’s story, I’m not paying attention. Truthfully, EVERYONE who sees this play will find themselves in it. It’s not only about recovery; it’s about family and career and relationships and hope and change and determination. And it’s damn funny.
So what do you think comedy brings to the table on this subject?
Comedy demystifies everything. It reminds us that recovery isn’t drudgery. It’s joyful. We do seriously dumb, sometimes very amusing things when we drink and drug too much. We need to allow ourselves laughter, or else getting better wouldn’t be worth it.
Have you noticed the national conversation about addiction changing in recent years?
I think there’s a lot less shame around addiction. Addiction is a disease, not a moral weakness. Thank goodness more and more people are recognizing that truth. As a result, our efforts at treatment and care can be far more effective. I hope The White Chip plays its role in furthering the national conversation.
What are you most looking forward to as this production comes together?
Most importantly I want audiences to be entertained. I’m looking forward to hearing audiences laugh and possibly choke back a few tears. If we do our jobs right, people leaving the theatre will likely discuss the play and hopefully those conversations will lead to more healing.
The White Chip runs at Merrimack Repertory Theatre January 6-31.