John Cullum tells Emily about a chat that he overheard on a break during rehearsals. Two men, who have created successful Broadway musicals, were discussing some of their other projects.
The men were Harvey Schmidt, who created the longest running musical in theater history, "The Fantasticks," with Tom Jones, and John Kander, who created "Scottsboro Boys" with the late Fred Ebb. (Kander and Ebb are the longest creative partnership in musical theater.)
Kander and Schmidt were discussing the huge efforts that had to be made in order to get the rights for a project, and then, begin selling it to producers. Sometimes, the initial effort took a few years, and required many preliminary readings of the script and trial performances of the lyrics and music.
John Cullum is amazed and taken aback, as these very grown-up, successful authors tell about how they've goofed -- lost wonderful projects because they didn't take care of some of the absolutely essential preliminaries.