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American Theatre Wing - Podcasts
ATW - Downstage Center
The American Theatre Wing presents Downstage Center a weekly theatrical interview show, featuring the top artists working in theatre, both on and Off-Broadway and around the country.

  • Katie Finneran and Anthony Warlow (#356) - January, 2013
    In the latest Downstage Center, "Annie" stars Katie Finneran (Miss Hannigan) and Anthony Warlow (Daddy Warbucks) discuss the current revival, James Lapine, past roles, the audition process, reputation, and awards, among other topics.

  • Bill Berloni -Encore (#355) - January, 2013
    (A Special encore edition) Broadway’s premier animal trainer Bill Berloni got his foot in the door in 1976 as a teenager when he rescued and trained the original Sandy for the Goodspeed Opera House original production of "Annie." Sandy went to Broadway in 1977 and so did Mr. Berloni, and he never left. Michael Price, Goodspeed Musicals Executive Director, interviews the 2011 Special Tony Award winner and friend Mr. Berloni about his career in the theater: from "Annie" to "Camelot" (with Richard Burton) to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "Woman in White"; the work he’s most proud of; and the special pride he takes in being an advocate for his four legged co-stars.

  • Beth Leavel, Adam Heller, and Mark Jacoby - (#354) - December, 2012
    Downstage Center celebrates the season with cast members from the hit holiday musical, "Elf." Cast members Beth Leavel, Adam Heller, and Mark Jacoby discuss the play, the adaptation from the film, tap dancing on stage, music in plays, other roles, and their lives in the theatre.

  • Pia Lindstrom and Phyllis Jeanne Creore - (#353) - December, 2012
    In this special Downstage Center, we celebrate the legendary Stage Door Canteen (a war relief effort founded by early members of the American Theatre Wing). Opened on March 2, 1942 in the 44th Street Theatre, the New York Stage Door Canteen serviced an average of 3,000 servicemen a night as a recreation center before many of the soldiers went off to war. In all, eight Stage Door Canteens throughout the United States as well as in London and Paris served soldiers. Theatrical luminaries gave of their time (as volunteers) and talents (singing, dancing) in the Canteens. Listen now as Pia Lindstrom talks with one of the original Canteen volunteers, Phyllis Jeanne Creore.

  • Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen - (#352) - November, 2012
    "Ten years after its New York premiere, The Exonerated still has the power to unsettle." - NY Times. Celebrating the ten year anniversary of their ground-breaking and thought-provoking docu-play, its writers, Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, talk about its creation, style, relevance, cast, and the latest production at NYC's Culture Project.

  • David Henry Hwang - Encore (#351) - November, 2012
    Currently in residence at the Signature Theatre, playwright (and Wing board member) David Henry Hwang is a recent winner of the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award. This edition of Downstage Center was originally recorded in 2007. Playwright David Henry Hwang talks about putting a version of himself -- and his father -- onstage in his new play "Yellowface" and why he doesn't want to reveal what in the play is fact and what is fiction; recalls his extraordinary leap from having his first play produced in his college dorm to having a series of plays done at The Public Theatre only a short time later; explains the origins of his award-winning Broadway hit "M. Butterfly"; reflects on his role in the controversy over the hiring of Jonathan Pryce to appear in "Miss Saigon"; shares his thoughts on the failure of his farce "Face Value"; describes his work on the musicals "Aida", "Flower Drum Song" and "Tarzan", and contemplates what he hopes to explore next on stage.

  • Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti (#350) - October, 2012
    Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti from "Once" talk about their Tony Award-winning musical and the successful run its enjoyed since its beginnings at the New York Theatre Workshop, their favorite songs, staying focused, and, what other Broadway shows they want to see.

  • Rob McClure and Christiane Noll (#349) - October, 2012
    In the latest Downstage Center, actors Rob McClure and Christiane Noll discuss "Chaplin", from the research they put into their roles (Mr. McClure as the legendary silent film actor and Ms. Noll as his mother) to the audience and Chaplin family reaction to the production. They also discuss past roles: Mr. McClure in "Avenue Q" and Ms. Noll in "Ragtime" and "Jekyll and Hyde," and the special moment when Mr. McClure met his hero, Anthony Warlow, backstage.

  • David Cromer and Jeff Still (#348) - September, 2012
    The latest edition of Downstage Center goes backstage with "Tribes", the provocative new play written by Nina Raine. Director David Cromer and actor Jeff Still discuss the play and the challenges they faced with the subject matter, deaf theatre, their friendship, and the Chicago theatre scene, among other topics.

  • Hunter Bell and Jenn Harris (#347) - September, 2012
    In the latest Downstage Center, "Silence! The Musical" writer Hunter Bell and actress Jenn Harris discuss the show The NY Post called "Gleefully submissive" and The NY Times "a hilarious take down." From its premiere at the 2005 New York International Fringe Festival to its current home off-Broadway, the uproarious show continues to keep its audience in stitches!

  • Hallie Foote and Andrew Leynse (#346) - August, 2012
    Downstage Center goes to Texas. Listen as Primary Stages Artistic Director Andrew Leynse talks with actress Hallie Foote about her father Horton's work, world, and new Primary Stages production "Harrison, TX," three plays by Horton Foote. In addition to discussing the current production directed by Pam McKinnon, Ms. Foote discusses acting, the family history, and her father's legacy.

  • William Ivey Long - Encore (#345) - August, 2012
    Five time Tony-winner and new ATW Chairman William Ivey Long talks about his extensive career as one of Broadway's top costume designers, from his earliest days on stage -- living in a dressing room at the Raleigh Little Theatre in North Carolina -- to his upcoming projects "9 To 5" and "Dreamgirls". Along the way, he describes how shocked he was by the first thing he saw on stage at the Yale School of Drama; how his career developed largely thanks to the support of his drama school friends; how he came up with Anita Morris' iconic body suit for "Nine" -- and how it resulted in his never working with Tommy Tune again; whether there's a difference between designing musicals and plays; how the paintings of Gauguin influenced his designs for "Guys And Dolls"; what its like to revisit the "Chicago" costumes for a variety of different actresses; and why he chooses to wear a largely unvaried "uniform" every single day. Original air date - August 22, 2008.

  • Patrick Page and Isabel Keating (#344) - August, 2012
    "Spider Man: Turn Off The Dark's" Patrick Page and Isabel Keating go one-on-one about Broadway's favorite super hero and his nemesis, Page's Green Goblin. The actors talk dialects, quick changes, character development, improvising and background stories they create for their roles in the play. It's not ALL Spidey; the duo discuss acting techniques, other favorite roles, and Judy Garland, among other topics.

  • Martin Pakledinaz -Encore (#343) - July, 2012
    Martin Pakledinaz passed away on July 8th, 2012. This edition of Downstage Center was recorded in 2010. Costume designer Martin Pakledinaz talks about creating the clothes for the recent Broadway revival of "Lend Me A Tenor", the commencement of planning for the spring 2011 production of "Anything Goes" and the revival of "Oklahoma!" that will be part of Arena Stage's opening of its furbished and expanded venue. He also talks about his early thoughts of acting and who finally disabused him of that notion; his early working doing sketches for the legendary Theoni V. Aldredge and how he ultimately had to rediscover his own voice instead of speaking through hers; his very early - and short-lived - Broadway experiences with "Inacent Black" and "I Won't Dance"; developing his skills through productions at The York Theatre, the New York Shakespeare Festival; the McCarter Theatre; and the Roundabout Theatre Company; why he tried to costume the kids from the 2007 "Grease" without using leather jackets - and how long that idea lasted; the differing production timetables of theatre and opera and how each effects his work; and how much of his designs rely on the particular actor cast in a role. Original air date - August 18, 2010.

  • Donna Hanover and Jefferson Mays (#342) - July, 2012
    Originally performed on Broadway in 1960, Gore Vidal’s "The Best Man" returns to Broadway with an all star cast and a Tony-nomination for Best Revival of a Play. In the latest Downstage Center, two of the shows stars, Donna Hanover and Jefferson Mays, go behind the scenes of the topical political barnburner and dish the dirt on their characters, co-actors, and the view from the wings of the star–studded cast. In addition, they discuss their careers, acting process and other roles.

  • Andrew and Celia Keenan-Bolger (#341) - June, 2012
    The latest Downstage Center features a Broadway sibling rivalry as Andrew Keenan-Bolger from the Tony-nominated musical "Newsies" takes on his sister, Tony-nominated actress Celia Keenan-Bolger from "Peter and The Starcatcher." The duo discuss their star turns on Broadway, the development of their plays and characters, childhood in Detroit, being in plays vs. being in musicals, and the Tony nominations, among other topics.

  • Jeremy Shamos and Annie Parisse (#340) - June, 2012
    This week Downstage Center gets ready for the Tonys with the 2012 Tony nominated, Pulitzer Prize winning play "Clybourne Park". Stars Jeremy Shamos (also nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role) and Annie Parisse discuss the racially charged play that has had the theatre world buzzing since it opened; from its beginnings at Playwrights Horizons to its current home on Broadway. The two talented actors also expound on their complicated Clybourne characters, the acting process in general, Shakespeare, collaboration, and other memorable roles.

  • Christian Borle and Will Chase (#339) - May, 2012
    The "Smash" season may be over but in the latest Downstage Center two of its stars talk about its cast, plots, and everything else you want to know about the hit show. Christian Borle and Will Chase certainly wax "Smash," but primetime TV isn't all these working actors are known for: Borle is currently starring in "Peter and The Starcatcher" on Broadway, a performance for which he is Tony nominated, and Chase was recently in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Pipe Dream" at New York City Center. Listen now to the two actors talk about their careers and craft from the little screen to the stage.

  • Elizabeth Marvel and Stacy Keach (#338) - May, 2012
    Being in "the moment" is every good actor's mantra. In the latest Downstage Center Stacy Keach and Elizabeth Marvel talk about that moment, professional training, and Shakepeare, among other topics. Of course, the "Other Desert Cities" stars also discuss their Tony nominated play through its development, the characters they portray, and the emotional power behind Jon Robin Baitz's script.

  • Bruce Dow and Josh Young (#337) - April, 2012
    Where do the stars from Broadway’s biggest shows stop before the curtain? The Wing’s Downstage Center. From the Stratford Shakespeare Festival to the La Jolla Playhouse to Broadway, the current revival of "Jesus Christ Superstar" has the theatre world buzzing. In the latest Downstage Center, two of the shows stars, Bruce Dow and Josh Young, discuss the origins of the current revival, roles, dramaturgy, the script, and surprise visits early on from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

  • David Zayas and Stephen Adly Guirgis (#336) - April, 2012
    From NYC police officer to Broadway, actor David Zayas has had an interesting journey from the street to the stage. In the latest Downstage Center, the accomplished actor joins his fellow LAByrinth Theater member and friend, the playwright/actor Stephen Adly Guirgis. The duo speak candidly about the beginnings, body of work, and mission of LAByrinth, Mr. Zayas’ process and life, and finish sharing tales of memorable auditions.

  • Bobby Lopez (#335) - March, 2012
    Where are Broadway's biggest talents? Downstage Center. The latest sits down with Tony Award winner ("Avenue Q", "The Book of Mormon") Bobby Lopez. The composer and lyricist talks to Ted Chapin (American Theatre Wing Chairman of the Board and President and Executive Director of The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization) about his inspiration, the Sondheim influence, finding the comedy, and, of course, "The Book of Mormon", from its inceptions to its "I Believe" ode to "The Sound of Music."

  • Bill Berloni (#334) - March, 2012
    Broadway’s premier animal trainer Bill Berloni got his foot in the door in 1976 as a teenager when he rescued and trained the original Sandy for the Goodspeed Opera House original production of "Annie." Sandy went to Broadway in 1977 and so did Mr. Berloni, and he never left. Michael Price, Goodspeed Musicals Executive Director, interviews the 2011 Special Tony Award winner and friend Mr. Berloni about his career in the theater: from "Annie" to "Camelot" (with Richard Burton) to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "Woman in White"; the work he’s most proud of; and the special pride he takes in being an advocate for his four legged co-stars.

  • Montego Glover and Adam Pascal (#333) - February, 2012
    Where are Broadway’s hottest stars? Downstage Center. The latest episode heads down south as Memphis’ Montego Glover plays the role as interviewer to her co-star Adam Pascal. The versatile duo expounds on, among other topics, their experience in "Memphis", the skill sets needed to be a working actor, and some of the other roles they may be known for: Mr. Pascal in "Rent" and "Aida", and Ms. Glover in "The Color Purple."

  • Nina Arianda (#332) - February, 2012
    Nina Arianda’s star has never shone brighter. Recreating the off-Broadway role that her made a name to watch, the actress returns to Broadway in "Venus in Fur" in what the New York Times called "the first, must see performance of the Broadway season." Downstage Center, with NY1’s Frank DiLella, sits down with Ms. Arianda to discuss, among other things, the acting process, family, her Tony nomination for "Born Yesterday", working in Woody Allen’s "Midnight in Paris", seeing Meryl Streep in "Mother Courage", theatre education, and her dream roles.

  • Andrew Rannells (#331) - February, 2012
    Go backstage with one of Broadway's hottest actors from Broadway's biggest show. NY1's Frank DiLella interviews "The Book of Mormon" star Andrew Rannells in the latest "Downstage Center". From "Hairspray" and "Jersey Boys" to "The Book of Mormon"'s Elder Price, Oklahoma native Mr. Rannells relishes his time in the hottest show in town. Inspired by "Into the Woods" and "The Who's Tommy", he somehow found a way to keep a straight face during each hilarious performance on his way to his first Tony Award nomination in 2011. Listen to how he ended up in the current production and pranks his co-star Josh Gad on stage, what real Mormons think of his work, working with Trey Parker and Matt Stone and the sometimes controversial subject matter of their humor, and what happens when Oprah visits him after the show. Original air date - February 1, 2012.

  • Marlo Thomas and Lisa Emery (#330) - January, 2012
    Marlo Thomas and Lisa Emery share the stage in Broadway's "Relatively Speaking" (an evening of one-acts written by Elaine May, Woody Allen, and Ethan Coen). In the Wing's latest "Downstage Center" they get together to swap stories on the craft they love and how they got where they are today. Ms. Thomas begins as the interviewer but soon a conversation ensues about mutual director horror stories, women in the theatre, pre-show rituals, the inspiration they receive from hearing the audience entering the empty space, and, of course, "Relatively Speaking" and working with Elaine May's words and John Turturro's direction. They wrap it up discussing their "big breaks" - Ms. Thomas with Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park" and Ms. Emery with Lanford Wilson's "Burn This". Original air date - January 18, 2012.

  • Elaine Paige and Ron Raines (#329) - January, 2012
    What happens when "Follies" star Elaine Paige sits down to interview her co-star Ron Raines? Listen now to the lively discussion about everything "Follies" and Sondheim: his lyrics, Sondheim as teacher, and the difficulty in performing "Sweeney Todd", among other topics. Sondheim isn't the only show in town. Paige and Raines also talk about balancing life and art, musical theatre vs. opera, the economics of Broadway, career longevity in the theatre, "The King and I", transitioning from film/television acting to acting on the stage, and Paige's most embarrassing stage moment while performing in "Evita". Of course, it all goes back to "Follies" and its cast and why it's so hard for Raines to follow Paige's showstopper "I'm Still Here!" Original air date - January 4, 2012.

  • Eugene Lee (#328) - July, 2011
    Eugene Lee, resident designer for Rhode Island's Trinity Rep since 1967, set designer for "Saturday Night Live (SNL)" since its inception, and three-time TONY Award winner, talks about the realistic set of "Sweeney Todd"; growing up in Wisconsin and his early theatre memories and experiences; why he dislikes proscenium stages; what led "SNL"'s Lorne Michaels to hire him; working with Hal Prince on "Sweeney Todd", "Candide", "Merrily We Roll Along", and "Showboat"; how he got involved in "Wicked"; working with Gordon Edelstein at Long Wharf Theatre; working with playwright Athol Fugard; and his love of teaching. Original air date - July 27, 2011.

  • Lois Smith (#327) - July, 2011
    American actress Lois Smith, whose career in theatre, film, and television spans five decades, talks about her experience of playing the originally male role, Alcandre, in the Signature Theatre production of Tony Kushner's "The Illusion", an adaptation of Pierre Corneille's "L'Illusion Comique". She also talks about her upbringing in Kansas; experience in working on the film "East of Eden"; working with Helen Hayes on "The Wisteria Trees" and "The Glass Menagerie"; working with Andre Gregory at the Philadelphia Theatre of the Living Arts at the beginning of the regional theatre movement; doing Chekhov; her experience as a company member of Steppenwolf and performing "The Grapes of Wrath" as the first American theatre company to play The Royal National Theatre in London; her experience in playing Halie in Sam Shepard's "Buried Child"; and working with playwright Horton Foote on "The Trip to the Bountiful" again at Signature Theatre. Original air date - July 13, 2011.

  • Angela Lansbury (#326) - June, 2011
    Returning to Downstage Center five years after a 2006 conversation, the legendary Angela Lansbury talks about her most recent Broadway roles, in Terrence McNally's "Deuce", Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" and Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music". She also discusses her experiences with artists with whom she's frequently worked - Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Arthur Laurents and Edward Albee; her foray into Shakespeare, playing Gertrude opposite Albert Finney's "Hamlet" in London; why her career began on film rather than on the stage, her first love; and her opinions about the necessity of training and young people entering the acting profession to become celebrities, rather than excellent actors. Original air date - June 29, 2011.

  • John Guare (#325) - June, 2011
    John Guare talks about his two Broadway plays of the past season: considering how the world has caught up with and changed audience responses to "The House of Blue Leaves" and which portion of the play is drawn directly from his own life, as well as the origin of "A Free Man of Color" and whether it's his practice to write plays based on ideas suggested by others. He also discusses his development as a playwright while at Georgetown University and the Yale School of Drama; why being an Aquarius was instrumental in the start of his professional career; his never-completed collaboration with Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein; how "Two Gentlemen of Verona", a musical with 37 songs, was never meant to be a musical; finding a home at The Public Theatre and his conflicted emotions about being a part of the institution at that time, where such plays as "Landscape of the Body" and "Marco Polo Sings a Solo" premiered; how place affected his writing of the "Lydie Breeze" plays and why he chose to revisit and rework them 20 years later; when he first learned of a con man pretending to be Sidney Poitier's son and when that blossomed into "Six Degrees of Separation"; the impact of his work with Signature Theatre Company in New York, including the premiere of "Lake Hollywood", which incorporated a play he'd written 39 years earlier; and why he agreed to adapt "The Front Page" and its gender-shifted remake "His Girl Friday" for the stage. Original air date - June 22, 2011.

  • Jenny Gersten (#324) - June, 2011
    Just as she departed for Massachusetts and her first season as the Williamstown Theatre Festival's first female artistic director Jenny Gersten discussed her plans for the company under her leadership and tells the story of how she sold herself as Associate Producer to prior artistic director Michael Ritchie, which resulted in her nine year tenure in that previous position at WTF. She discussed WTF's relationship both to its local audience, those who summer in the Berkshires and visitors from New York, as well as how she's reconfigured the season to allow for longer runs, but fewer productions, on the mainstage. She also talks about growing up in a performing arts household (as the daughter of Lincoln Center Theater's Bernard Gersten and The New 42nd Street's Cora Cahan, both previous Downstage Center guests); her post college job with the the highly praised 52nd Street Project; her time as artistic director of New York's Naked Angels as they began their renaissance; and her work as Associate Producer for Oskar Eustis at The Public Theater prior to getting the Williamstown gig. Original air date - June 15, 2011.

  • Tony Sheldon (#323) - June, 2011
    "Priscilla Queen of the Desert"'s Tony Sheldon talks about his six year journey with the show, from his dislike of the original film on which it's based to his transcontinental success as Bernadette in Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada and now the United States. He also talks about growing up in a multi-generational show business family in Australia (including his mother Toni Lamond, who's still performing at age 79, and his aunt Helen Reddy) which saw him working professionally at age 7; his performing hiatus from age 12 to 17, after which he rebelled against his family's singing and dancing tradition by embarking on work in plays; his youthful roles as Alan Strang in "Equus" and Tom in "The Glass Menagerie" (as well as the hit show "Hamlet on Ice"); his first exposure to Shakespeare; his success -- after a shaky start -- as Arnold in the Australian debut of "Torch Song Trilogy"; how the burgeoning Australian film industry and resident theatre movements ran in parallel, rather than intertwined, paths; his dual career as writer and director of cabaret vehicles for many of Australia's best known performers, including his mom; his profound unhappiness at being cast as Roger De Bris in "The Producers"; and whether -- after working outside of Australia for the first time in Priscilla -- he'd like to work again in London or New York. Original air date - June 8, 2011.

  • John Weidman (#322) - June, 2011
    Bookwriter John Weidman talks about creating a new book in the 1980s with Timothy Crouse for the 1930s musical "Anything Goes", now playing in revival at Roundabout Theatre Company in New York, and how their version of the oft-revised musical became the now-standard script. He also talks about growing up as the son of novelist and sometime Broadway librettist Jerome Weidman; his academic career at Harvard and then Yale Law School (though he's never practiced law); his part in the creation of the highly influential "National Lampoon" magazine in the 70s; how his law school-era fascination with the opening of Japan to the West ultimately became his first Broadway musical, "Pacific Overtures"; the true origins of his second collaboration with Stephen Sondheim, "Assassins"; why he was dissatisfied with his work on the musical version of "Big"; how one writes a dance musical that is largely told without words, namely "Contact"; and whether the long-aborning "Road Show" (aka "Bounce" aka "Wise Guys") is finished, or if further changes will be seen at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London this summer. Original air date - June 1, 2011.

  • Marc Kudisch (#321) - May, 2011
    Marc Kudisch, currently appearing in "A Minister's Wife" at Lincoln Center Theater, talks about performing in a musical where the transitions between speaking and singing are instant and fluid, how the show, based on Shaw's "Candida", focuses its emphasis on the romantic triangle at its core, and the similarities between his character of Morrell and his early role as Conrad Birdie. He also talks about discovering himself as a performer as a senior in high school and then more fully in college; why he has always considered himself to be a character actor and how he defines that term; his performances as The Devil (in both "The Apple Tree" and "The Witches of Eastwick"), as comic villains (Franklin Hart in "9 to 5", Baron Bomburst in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"), comic foils (playing Count Carl-Magnus in four productions of "A Little Night Music", including the depth he finds in a character described by others as "an idiot") and leading man (as Jeff Moss in "Bells Are Ringing"); his admiration for directors George C. Wolfe, Tina Landau and Joe Mantello; why he has to work to get himself considered for roles in plays, when plays were what he first did when coming to New York; and the positive and negative uses of a healthy ego. Original air date - May 25, 2011.

  • Joe Mantello (#320) - May, 2011
    Joe Mantello talks about returning to the Broadway stage as an actor after a 17-year hiatus to play the role of Ned Weeks in Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart" -- and what it's like to play a role that the play's author has based on himself when the author is at the theatre nightly. He also talks about his acting days in school and community theatre in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois (with classmates that included Marin Mazzie); his training at North Carolina School of the Arts and why he had to relearn his idiosyncrasies when he got to New York; his work with playwright Peter Hedges and actress Mary-Louise Parker in the self-founded Edge Theatre; the opportunities offered to him by the Circle Repertory Company; why he decided to stop acting after making his Broadway debut in "Angels in America"; the development of his directing career, including the highs and lows of his first two Broadway assignments, Terrence McNally's "Love! Valour! Compassion!" and Donald Margulies' "What's Wrong With This Picture?"; his collaborations with playwrights including Jon Robin Baitz, David Mamet, Richard Greenberg, Neil Simon and Craig Lucas, among many others; the challenge of taking on a project on the scale of "Wicked" with only one previous musical directing credit and how much he remains involved with the show's many productions nationally and internationally; why he enjoys working on intimate shows; and the irony behind "Other Desert Cities'" plans for Broadway in the fall. Original air date - May 18, 2011.

  • Jason Robert Brown (#319) - May, 2011
    Jason Robert Brown, who prefers the title "songwriter" over "composer," talks about why he spends so much time performing his own material and engaging directly with his fans. He discusses writing all of his songs "in his own voice"; his short time at Rochester's esteemed Eastman School of Music; coming to New York, getting work in piano bars and how that led to rehearsal pianist jobs; the evolution of "Songs for a New World" and whether it began as a collection of existing songs or whether the material was newly created for the show; the nature of his collaboration with William Finn on the vocal arrangements for "A New Brain"; how he got hired for "Parade" after Stephen Sondheim passed, having the opportunity to choose his collaborators when the musical team was assembled for "Parade", and the changes he has made more recently to move the show away from Hal Prince's vision; how the origin of "The Last Five Years" began out of a desire to be free of collaborators and how it fuses "Songs for a New World" and "Parade"; why he enjoys writing incidental music for plays; his sojourn in Europe and his decision to return to the U.S. by moving to Los Angeles; the origin of "13" in a handful of songs that he happened to share with Michael Ritchie of the Center Theatre Group, the "trauma" of Broadway and subsequent revisions to musical; and the status of upcoming projects including the film version of "The Last Five Years", the "difficult, scary" chamber musical "The Connector", his collaboration with Marsha Norman on "The Bridges of Madison County", and the long-aborning stage adaptation of the film comedy "Honeymoon in Vegas". Original air date - May 11, 2011.

  • David Lindsay-Abaire (#318) - May, 2011
    Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire talks about returning to his South Boston roots with the play "Good People", how the characters are amalgams of the people he grew up with in that private neighborhood and why he chose it as the setting for a play about the class system in America. He also talks about moving beyond his "Southie" roots as early as seventh grade, when he received a scholarship to a private school and how he had to learn to fit in there; his earliest plays, written for his classmates at that same private school; his theatrical studies at Sarah Lawrence College and later at The Juilliard School; his professional "Plan B", a career in arts administration, fostered by his work at New York's Dance Theatre Workshop; his excitement at his first New York production, "A Devil Inside", at SoHo Rep, which began his long collaboration with (and perpetual atonement for) actress Marylouise Burke; how Manhattan Theatre Club, now his longtime creative home, showed early interest in, and then almost passed on, his breakthrough play "Fuddy Meers"; the origin of "Kimberly Akimbo" in a chance comment by a friend about his infant daughter; his candid thoughts on "Wonder of the World" and why it shouldn't have too elegant a production; his experience with writing musicals, including "High Fidelity" and "Shrek", and why he'll always write both the book and lyrics for any future musical projects; his shift to naturalism with "Rabbit Hole" and how the film differs from the play; why he's still part of a writer's group and how the group helped him to strengthen one particular character in "Good People"; and how he has always followed Marsha Norman's advice to write about "the thing that frightens you most." Original air date - May 4, 2011.

  • Laurie Metcalf (#317) - April, 2011
    Laurie Metcalf talks about her role in Sharr White's play "The Other Place" at MCC Theater, and the challenge of playing someone whose mental faculties are diminishing in a non-linear play, requiring her to constantly leap between varying states of mind. She also talks about her embrace of theatre during her college years at Illinois State University, where she first studied German, then anthropology, before settling on theatre; being one of the original company members of the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre and her satisfaction with her day job during those early years; her Chicago breakout role in "The Glass Menagerie" and how that production fit with the company's reputation for "rock and roll theatre"; her participation in both the Chicago and New York productions of Lanford Wilson's "Balm in Gilead", and how she is still approached on the street by people recalling that show 25 years later; her regular returns to the Steppenwolf stage throughout her television run on "Roseanne" and other TV and film work; her opportunities to play Kate Keller in "All My Sons" twice -- both at London's National Theatre and Los Angeles' Geffen Playhouse; how The New Group's production of "A Lie of the Mind" "saved" her after the brief run of "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and the failure of its companion piece, "Broadway Bound", to open; her affinity for the play "Voice Lessons", which she'll be returning to for a third time; and the appeal of Steppenwolf's "Detroit", scheduled for Broadway in the fall. Original air date - April 27, 2011.

  • Casey Nicholaw (#316) - April, 2011
    Co-director and choreographer of Broadway's "The Book of Mormon", Casey Nicholaw, talks about his initial reaction on reading the irreverent new musical and how it was to work with Matt Parker and Trey Stone, heretofore most experienced with work in animation for "South Park". Nicholaw also talks about his early work at the San Diego Junior Theatre, his decision to leave California at age 19 and embark on a career in New York without even a completed college degree under his belt; his early acting gigs regionally and his later New York appearances in the original companies of "Crazy for You", "The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public", "Victor/Victoria", "Steel Pier" and "Seussical"; how he gathered his friends to start building piece to showcase his choreographic skills; how a gig as a replacement choreographer for Encores! 2004 "Bye Bye Birdie" led directly to his Broadway choreographic debut with "Spamalot" and how that immediately led to his directing debut with "The Drowsy Chaperone"; his work on the still developing "Minsky's" and "Robin and the Seven Hoods" back in California; and what he might have up his sleeve for the stage adaptation of Disney's "Aladdin", debuting this summer in Seattle. Original air date - April 20, 2011.

  • Nicholas Hytner (#315) - April, 2011
    From London, National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner talks about his tenure leading that influential institution, including whether, as some have said, it was always his career goal; why he thrives on the need to embrace a general audience for the organization's survival; the impact of the £10 (now £12) Travelex season on the company and why he prefers to work under the budgetary rigor it imposes on the theatre's staff; his commitment to seeing new, "muscular" work by young playwrights on the National's large stages; and his assessment of the success of the NT Live screenings of the National's stage productions in international cinemas. He also talks about growing up in Manchester and later returning there as artistic associate of the Royal Exchange Theatre; his apprenticeship under great directors at a time when there was little director training in England -- and his bad early work in regional rep companies; why he thinks the British "megamusicals" are actually popular opera in the European tradition -- and how the "completely crazy" idea of "Miss Saigon" appealed to him; the pleasure he took in directing "The Wind in the Willows" at the National and how it began his ongoing collaboration with playwright Alan Bennett, including "The History Boys" and "The Habit of Art", which he considers the most important feature of his directing career; what drew him to "Carousel" and how it ushered in the British era of reexamining the musicals from Broadway's Golden Age; why he thinks the musical of "Sweet Smell of Success" is deserving of rediscovery; and why the National's production of "His Dark Materials" will never transfer to a commercial run and how he would do that enormous hit differently if he had the chance to do it over again. Original air date - April 6, 2011.

  • Margaret Colin (#314) - April, 2011
    "Arcadia"'s Lady Croom, Margaret Colin, discusses grappling with the intellectuals concepts in the play, the experience of spending several days having Tom Stoppard explain them, and what it's like to do a show in which she never shares the stage (or the green room) with half the cast once the curtain goes up. She also talks about growing up and performing in Baldwin NY, where her school shows included a production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", directed by her classmate, noted producer Scott Rudin; her intermittent studies at Hofstra University and why never quite managed to get a degree; the challenges she had finding stage work after first achieving success in soap operas; playing the not-so-long-deceased Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis in her Broadway debut, "Jackie: An American Life"; the opportunities she had with Manhattan Theatre Club ("Aristocrats", "Psychopathia Sexualis") and Roundabout; working on such plays as "Sweet Bird of Youth" and "Six Degrees of Celebration" at the accelerated production pace of the Williamstown Theatre Festival; playing Queen Gertrude in "Hamlet" in Central Park, her first Shakespeare since playing Desdemona as a teen in community theatre; and why she felt the central relationship in "Old Acquaintance" never quite came together. Original air date - April 13, 2011.

  • Janet Suzman (#313) - March, 2011
    Royal Shakespeare Company veteran Janet Suzman discusses her early years with the company, including her daunting audition for for Peter Hall, John Barton and Peter Brook; her repertory roles of Portia, Rosalind and Ophelia; opening the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles in "The Taming of the Shrew"; and her career defining role as Cleopatra in "Antony and Cleopatra". She also discusses her upbringing in cultural limited Johannesburg, South Africa; her student years at a highly politicized university where she began an interest in theatre because that's where she found the best parties; her decision to "get the hell out" of South Africa and its position as "a hectic in her blood" calling her back; her early exposure to theatre upon her move to London, including "West Side Story", Paul Scofield in "King Lear" and Vanessa Redgrave in "As You Like It"; her early work at the Library Theatre in Manchester alongside Patrick Stewart; her professional return to South Africa for the opening of the integrated Market Theatre; her decision to become a director after deciding that John Kani needed to play "Othello" under the apartheid government; her experience doing comedy in the West End in Wendy Wasserstein's "The Sisters Rosensweig"; and her recent return to "Antony and Cleopatra" as a director, leading Kim Cattrall into her former role. Original air date - March 30, 2011.

  • Michael Frayn (#312) - March, 2011
    Acclaimed for his works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and theatre, Michael Frayn discusses how he determines when an idea is right for the stage when he has multiple forms to choose from. He also recalls writing and performing childhood puppet plays; the reason why his edition of Cambridge's "Footlights Revue" was the only one not to be seen in London; his days as a newspaper columnist, during which he frequently mocked and parodied the popular theatre of the day -- and whether he later regretted some of his jabs at theatre; his first invitation to write a one-act play; the play he wrote that producer Alexander H. Cohen found 'filthy'; whether his comedy "Alphabetical Order" was directly based upon his journalistic experiences; the plays of his that have never been seen in America; his longstanding professional association with director Michael Blakemore and why he value's the director's "stupid questions"; whether he fully visualized the madcap frenzy of "Noises Off" as he wrote it -- and why he's still prepared to tinker with the end of that highly successful play; why he only does English versions of French and Russian plays; how "Copenhagen" required him to do massive research, although his background in philosophy had given him a foundation in quantum mechanics; whether American audiences were less familiar than English audiences with the story of Willy Brandt as told in "Democracy"; what attracted him to the story of German director Max Reinhardt for "Afterlife"; and why it's easier to write about the distant past as opposed to the recent past. Original air date - March 23, 2011.

  • Austin Pendleton (#311) - March, 2011
    Austin Pendleton, director of the recent production of "The Three Sisters" at Classic Stage Company in New York, talks about the many Chekhov productions he's appeared in and directed over the years, including five "Uncle Vanya"s and four "Three Sisters". He talks about falling in love with theatre via his mother's involvement in community theatre in his hometown of Warren, Ohio; writing original musicals while an undergraduate theatre student at Yale; being directed by Jerome Robbins in his first two major shows after college, "Oh, Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad" and "Fiddler on the Roof"; how he began his directing career with "Tartuffe" at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and his long association with that company; and why unlike many directors who begin as actors he has never given up performing. He also considers the evolution of his writing career, starting with the elongated development of "Booth", which began as a college musical and ultimately made it to New York 34 years later as a play; why he wrote "Uncle Bob", his most produced play, for actor George Morfogen out of guilt; his hesitancy about showing "Orson's Shadow" to anyone and how Steppenwolf Theatre, where he is a company member, lured it away from him; and why he agreed to write the book for the musical "A Minister's Wife" for Chicago's Writer's Theatre. Original air date - March 16, 2011.

  • Barry Grove (#310) - March, 2011
    Barry Grove, Executive Producer of the Manhattan Theatre Club, talks about his three-and-half decades of partnership with Lynne Meadow at the top of one of New York's largest not-for-profit theatres. He recalls about his introduction to theatre while growing up in Madison CT; his college experiences at Dartmouth and his participation in the very first semester of The O'Neill Theatre Center's National Theatre Institute; his earliest experiences working in New York Theatre while still a student; coming to MTC when there was only a staff of six in a theatre complex on the east side that they couldn't afford to fully use; the company's transition from neighborhood venue to midtown mainstay at City Center; the long search for a permanent Broadway home; and explains how he's still energized by work at the same company after so long, and the challenges still ahead. Original air date - March 9, 2011.

  • Elizabeth Marvel (#309) - March, 2011
    Elizabeth Marvel talks about whether being "a bad kid" has influenced her more daring stage performances, and discusses the challenges of remaining alienated from her on stage family in Jon Robin Baitz's "Other Desert Cities" while she grows ever closer to her castmates. She also discusses how she was drawn to theatre after a small town upbringing, including the moment when she knew she had to act; the influence of her Juilliard mentor, the late Michael Langham, both on her craft and her career; how she managed to get jobs at Canada's Stratford Festival, The Guthrie and A.R.T in her first year out of school; what it was like to switch between Mark Ravenhill's "Shopping and Fucking" and Wendy Wasserstein's "An American Daughter" in the same year; why she is so drawn to work with director Ivo van Hove on such classic plays as "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Little Foxes", and how that work has expanded her range as an actor; how her pregnancy informed her performance as a lizard in Edward Albee's "Seascape"; what it was like to work with playwright and director Woody Allen; how violence has been a recurring theme in her performances, including Michael Weller's "50 Words"; and how she handled the decidedly mixed response from audiences to Caryl Churchill's "Top Girls". Original air date - March 2, 2011.

  • Stephen Schwartz (#308) - February, 2011
    Interviewed at the keyboard, composer Stephen Schwartz chronicles his career from college to "Wicked" and beyond. He explains how "Pippin" began as a college musical based on one paragraph in a history book and a deep love of "The Lion in Winter", and how the show that ended up as the Broadway version was completely different; tells the story of being asked to write songs for "Godspell" with only five weeks until the show's first rehearsal; plays and sings his first song ever to be heard on Broadway, from the play "Butterflies are Free"; talks about structuring a musical around a lead actor who didn't sing at all, for "The Magic Show", and whether he's disappointed that the show's technical demands have limited subsequent productions; describes how he developed and directed "Working", and why he made the decision to invite other composers onto the project; shares his feelings about the original productions of "The Baker's Wife", "Rags" and "Children of Eden", and why they met with greater success after their first incarnations; reveals that he has gone back and rewritten some of the lyrics for Leonard Bernstein's "Mass" -- with utter fidelity to every note that Bernstein wrote; gives his opinion on whether writing songs for animated films such as "Pocahontas" and "Prince of Egypt" is just like working on a Broadway show; relates how he began seeking to option "Wicked" even before he'd read the book; recounts his involvement as a producer on the musical "The Blue Flower", written by others, at American Repertory Theater -- and why he won't be producing again; and talks about what he's learned about writing for the musical theatre from his 15 years running the ASCAP Musical Theater Workshop. Original air date - February 23, 2011.

  • Everett Quinton (#307) - February, 2011
    While playing both a farmer and his wife in Red Bull Theatre Company's "The Witch of Edmonton", Everett Quinton talks about appearing in Jacobean drama and getting to watch the rest of the company at work when he's not on stage. He also talks about studying theatre at Hunter College after a stint in Thailand during the Vietnam War; meeting Ridiculous Theatrical Company founder Charles Ludlam without really understanding who Ludlam was; becoming Ludlam's life partner and a member of the Ridiculous Company's "outer circle" of artists; becoming an actor under the tutelage of Ludlam; coming into his own as a performer in such pieces as "Galas" and "The Mystery of Irma Vep", confessing he only really came to understand "Vep" 14 years after its debut, when he directed it in revival, even though he'd performed in it 331 times; how Quinton came to be a leading actor and the costume designer for the Ridiculous; the challenge of sustaining the troupe after Ludlam's death from AIDS in 1987, when he assumed the mantle of artistic director; whether he was able to expand his own theatrical horizons after Ludlam's passing; what it meant to become a working actor when the Ridiculous closed in 1997; having the opportunity to do work in regional theatres such as McCarter and The Shakespeare Theatre; and the experience of auditioning to play the Wicked Stepmother in a tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" when all of the other finalists were women. Original air date - February 16, 2011.

  • Fiona Shaw (#306) - February, 2011
    During her visit to the Brooklyn Academy of Music with the Abbey Theatre's production of Ibsen's "John Gabriel Borkman", Fiona Shaw discusses taking on one point of this lesser-known play's unromantic triangle and links her work with co-stars Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan back to their membership in the Royal Shakespeare Company 25 years ago. She also talks about having to get a degree in philosophy before she was allowed to enroll at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; her quick leap from RADA to the stage of the National Theatre in "The Rivals" -- and why she stayed too long; the unique confluence of talents that came together at the RSC during her time there; her ongoing collaboration with director Deborah Warner and the uproars that accompanied their productions of Beckett's "Footfalls" and Shakespeare's "Richard II"; why she spent a lot of time as "Hedda Gabler" rearranging the furniture; how she finds modern equivalencies in the great tragedies like "Medea" and "Electra"; her first encounter with Chekhov, doing "The Seagull" under the director Peter Stein, and how the rehearsal process at Stein's Italian home influenced the production; how she and Warner were permitted to do Beckett's "Happy Days" after being "banned for life" from Beckett's work 13 years prior; how she approached T.S. Eliot's poem "The Waste Land" as a theatrical text; and the great fun she had throwing off her tragedian's mantle to appear in "London Assurance" with Simon Russell Beale. Original air date - February 9, 2011.

  • Stockard Channing (#305) - February, 2011
    Stockard Channing discusses her work in Jon Robin Baitz's new play "Other Desert Cities", acknowledging the ambiguity of the character for the audience and explaining whether she has defined her character's secret motivations with certainty. She also talks about her years breaking into theatre at Harvard, alongside other students like John Lithgow and Tommy Lee Jones, and her subsequent work around Boston before coming to New York and getting her increasingly bigger break in the Broadway musical "Two Gentlemen of Verona", which also began her association with John Guare; her years in Los Angeles, including a film gig she did simply because she needed money, namely "Grease"; her return to the stage in successive productions of "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg" at Williamstown, Long Wharf, Roundabout and finally Broadway; being given the opportunity to choose between playing Bunny and Bananas in the Lincoln Center Theatre revival of "The House of Blue Leaves"; how it felt, as a native Upper East Side New Yorker, playing an Upper East Side New Yorker in "Six Degrees of Separation", and how her performance had to change when she acted in the film version; whether she knew how divided response would be to Guare's "Four Baboons Adoring the Sun"; why she wasn't daunted about stepping into the shoes of Rosemary Harris or Katharine Hepburn for "The Lion in Winter" in 1999 -- and what about doing the show did give her pause; what it was like to do "Pal Joey", her first musical in over two decades (having previously followed Liza Minnelli into "The Rink"); and how she approached the role of Lady Bracknell in "The Importance of Being Earnest" for a production at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, Ireland last year. Original air date - February 2, 2011.

  • Molly Smith (#304) - January, 2011
    From Arena Stage's newly opened Mead Center for American Theater, artistic director Molly Smith discusses the development and construction of the new building, which encompasses the company's original theatres and adds a third stage, and how the plans for the venue began during her interview process by the board back in the late 1990s. She also talks about her connection to theatre in her youth, first in Washington State and then in Juneau, Alaska; her theatre studies and 7-year residency in Washington DC in the 70s, when she had the opportunity to see the early work of Arena Stage; her return to Juneau to found the Perseverance Theatre, which she led for 19 years, and how that company operated within the geography and frontier spirit of Alaska; how she managed to get the Arena job without a more traditional artistic resume; the theatrical scene she found in Washington upon her return, and how that led her to focus Arena Stage on American works, both new and classic; and what her personal focus on classic American musicals over the past decade has meant to her creatively. Original air date - January 26, 2011.

  • George C. Wolfe (#303) - January, 2011
    Playwright/director Geroge C. Wolfe discusses the seven year development of John Guare's "A Free Man of Color", from approaching Guare with the idea of merging Restoration comedies and life in New Orleans leading up to the Louisiana Purchase, to receiving a script that would have run some five hours, to the just-finished production at Lincoln Center Theater. He also recalls his earliest directing urges as a child in Frankfort KY; provides the details of the first play he ever wrote, "Up for Grabs", while a student at Pomona College; recounts the "horror" of his first professional productions, his musical "Paradise!" in both Cincinnati and New York; describes the sudden success of "The Colored Museum" and the subsequent development of "Spunk", the latter being the first time he directed his own work; explains who he sees as his collaborators when he's both writing and directing; recounts his combative but ultimately fruitful work with Gregory Hines on "Jelly's Last Jam"; lays out the whirlwind of work that surrounded the Broadway production of "Angels in America" and his concurrent hiring as artistic director of New York's The Public Theater; acknowledges that his role as The Public's producer forced the artist in him to take a back seat; considers his ongoing artistic relationship with actor Jeffrey Wright; reveals the conceptual work that animated the household objects that were so integral to the story of "Caroline, or Change"; and answers the question of whether he will ever write another play. Original air date - January 19, 2011.

  • Natasha Katz (#302) - January, 2011
    "The Addams Family" and "Elf"'s lighting designer Natasha Katz talks about the path of her career, beginning with a high school community service requirement that saw her volunteering at a (now-defunct) Off-Broadway theatre and her semester away from Oberlin College as an intern/observer of designer Roger Morgan on the musical "I Remember Mama" which brought her into immediate contact with such notables as Liv Ullmann and Richard Rodgers. She discusses her on the job training (sans graduate school) with such figures as special effects whiz Bran Ferren and lighting designers Marcia Madeira and Ken Billington; explains why she thinks it takes longer now to mount a musical than it did when she began; how a tumultuous relationship with director Clifford Williams led to her Broadway debut at a very young age; what she learned from her work Off-Broadway and in regional theatre, including some 30 productions at the Dallas Theatre Center; why her task is to focus on two key elements -- people and sets -- and to both separate and unite them; how she comes to love a show that she didn't necessarily enjoy reading simply by virtue of working on it; when she joins the creative process with the director and other designers -- and whether that's always at the right time; how she constantly references and stays familiar with lighting in other shows and even other mediums; what it was like to be part of a triumvirate of designers for "The Coast of Utopia"; and why she thinks lighting design was initially very open to female designers and why she believes it's headed in the wrong direction today. Original air date - January 12, 2011.

  • Sir Alan Ayckbourn (#301) - January, 2011
    From his home base in Scarborough, England, playwright and director Sir Alan Ayckbourn makes a return visit to "Downstage Center" during the run of his 74th play, "Life of Riley". He discusses why he chooses to mention his parents' unhappy marriage in his program biography; why so many of his plays involve infidelity; his feeling about happy endings; the challenge and opportunity of creating characters who never appear on stage, but are often spoken about, as is the title character in "Riley"; whether as a director of his own plays he enjoys the benefit of knowing what every character is thinking; the advice he gives to other directors who are tackling his plays and seek him out; his feeling about star casting and how it influenced his early hit "How The Other Half Loves"; why he imposed a moratorium on his plays being done in the West End for several and why it remains in place for his new plays; the experience of bringing work to New York to critical acclaim ("Private Fears in Public Places", "Intimate Exchanges" and "My Wonderful Day") and why he's content to have it seen for a limited run in a small venue; why he called off plans for "Private Fears" to be remounted with an American cast; whether he can still create "event theatre" along the lines of "The Revenger's Comedies", "The Norman Conquests" and "House and Garden"; and whether he misses being the artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, his primary occupation for the better part of four decades. Original air date - January 5, 2011.

  • John Kander (#300) - December, 2010
    Composer John Kander talks about his decades-long collaboration with Fred Ebb, with particular focus on the four projects that were not fully completed before Ebb's death in 2004: "The Scottsboro Boys", "The Visit", "All About Us" (aka "Over and Over") and "Curtains", speaking directly to the issues of utilizing the minstrel show construct for "Scottsboro". He recalls his first meeting Ebb and their earliest, never produced collaboration, "Golden Gate"; beginning work on "Cabaret", at the behest of Hal Prince, the morning after "Flora the Red Menace" opened; what factors resulted in "Chicago" being only a moderate success in the 70s but a smash in the 90s; why he thinks musicals are best written at a certain "remove" from their subjects; whether he believes there is a "signature" Kander and Ebb writing style; how he, Ebb and and their collaborators spent a great deal of time talking, asking "what if," long before any writing began; whether any of the more than 60 songs written for "Cabaret", most unused, will ever escape his "trunk"; what it was like to write for the particular voices of Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera; whether he thinks writing teams benefit from working in the same room, as he and Ebb did throughout their career together; and what he's working on now. Kander also demonstrates how the same melody can be used to change tone over the course of a show, using examples from "Cabaret" and "The Visit". Original air date - December 29, 2010.

  • David Esbjornson (#299) - December, 2010
    Having recently steered "Driving Miss Daisy" to Broadway, director David Esbjornson discusses what it's like to direct a "brand," why he thinks older actors can play younger much more easily than the other way around, and what it was like to work with powerhouse actors like Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones. He also talks about growing up as the child of a high school drama teacher in Minnesota and how The Guthrie Theatre developed theatrical influence and inspiration among audiences in a five-state area during his formative years; reflects on working with his grad schoolmate Tony Kushner on the very first production of "Angels in America" at Eureka Theatre; explains how he came to collaborate with Arthur Miller on "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan" and "Resurrection Blues", and with Edward Albee on "The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?"; considers the different experiences of being artistic director at Classic Stage Company in New York and Seattle Repertory Theatre, and how they compare to being a freelance director; and ponders what challenges he'd most like to tackle in the coming years. Original air date - December 22, 2010.

  • Robert Brustein (#298) - December, 2010
    Founding artistic director of both the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven and the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Robert Brustein discusses how each of those organizations came into being, including the circumstances surrounding his departure from Yale which led him to take the company to Harvard. He also discusses his early years as an actor, in academia and as a critic; how he managed the dual rules of being the head of an artistic institution as well as a working critic commenting on the work of others - including why he took a hiatus during most of the Yale years but returned to the critical role while at A.R.T.; whether he has any regrets about his debate with August Wilson over the role of African-American plays and theatres; his many books on theatre thus far as well as several coming up; and his recent turn to play writing, with a focus on stories about William Shakespeare. Original air date - December 15, 2010.

  • Stephen Ouimette (#297) - December, 2010
    Stephen Ouimette, who plays Bejart in the current Broadway revival of "La Bête", talks about what it takes to hold the stage, with little dialogue, throughout the show's fabled 30 minute opening monologue -- especially after having played the voluble role of Valere himself almost 20 years ago in his native Canada. He also discusses his acting training at the University of Windsor; joining The Young Company at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario immediately after graduation; his 17 (soon to be 18) seasons with Canada's famed Stratford Festival, where his roles have included Mozart in "Amadeus", Hamlet and Richard III; how he has kept himself fresh by alternating work at Stratford with work at many of Canada's major companies; his prior forays to the U.S., including plays at Chicago Shakespeare and a run at City Center in New York in 1998; how he feels about Stratford's "The Importance of Being Earnest", in which he played Rev. Chasuble, coming to New York without him; his rare forays into musicals, notably "Oliver!" in Edmonton and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" in Stratford; what it has been like to make his Broadway and West End debuts in a single year; his anticipation of appearing with Brian Dennehy in both "Twelfth Night" and "The Homecoming" in summer 2011 at Stratford; and the singular experience of playing Oliver Welles in the television series "Slings and Arrows", which afforded him the opportunity to work one last time with his early mentor, legendary Canadian actor William Hutt. Original air date - December 8, 2010.

  • Teresa Eyring (#296) - December, 2010
    Executive Director of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), Teresa Eyring, talks about the work of the 50 year old service organization which boasts membership if some 500 of the country's professional theatres. She talks about her own professional journey in theatre, including her youthful encounter with Orson Welles, her college studies in international relations; her job in the very early days of Washington DC's Woolly Mammoth Theatre, "where everyone did everything" and her graduate work at the Yale School of Drama; the work of TCG on fostering professional growth for the next generation of leaders, both artistic and managerial, through a mentorship program; the challenge of keeping people in the field, which despite growing "against all odds" has more artists seeking work than there are jobs; whether she perceives a difference in the institutional theatres as they move far beyond their founders; how TCG responds to criticism of its member theatres, such as the book "Outrageous Fortune" and the monologue "How Theatre Failed America"; TCG's efforts to foster artistic relationships beyond the U.S. borders; and as she travels the country, what message she wants to bring to U.S. theatres -- and what in turn she's hearing from them. Original air date - December 1, 2010.

  • Judith Light (#295) - November, 2010
    "Lombardi"'s leading lady Judith Light talks about her research into both the role and the real-life Marie Lombardi, and whether she thinks "Lombardi" is a "football play." She also talks about her early training at Carnegie Mellon University; her first professional job, touring European military bases in "Guys and Dolls" during the Vietnam War; shuttling between regional theatres, particularly Milwaukee Rep and Seattle Rep in the early 70s; what she learned from comedian Pat Paulsen when she appeared with him in "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers"; playing small roles in the New York Shakespeare Festival's productions of "A Doll's House" and "Measure for Measure" and a major role on Broadway in the short-lived "Herzl"; why she took a 22 year hiatus from the stage -- and then chose to return in a role as challenging as Vivian Bearing in "Wit"; the opportunity to work with playwright and director Athol Fugard on "Sorrows and Rejoicings" in both New York and Los Angeles; and her appearance as Joanne in "Company" for Reprise! -- and whether there are more musicals in her future. Original air date - November 24, 2010.

  • Alison Fraser (#294) - November, 2010
    "The Divine Sister"'s Teutonic nun Alison Fraser talks about her role, her prior work -- and sharing a dressing room -- with playwright/actor Charles Busch. She also discusses her musical theatre roots in high school in Natick MA, where she met prior graduate William Finn, leading to her creating the role of Trina in both "In Trousers" and "March of the Falsettos"; how being cast in "Beehive" gave her her first opportunity to show she could be funny; the pleasure of performing in the two one-act musicals known as "Romance, Romance"; how having her own child informed her role as Martha in "The Secret Garden"; her longstanding connection with David Saint and his George Street Playhouse; the experience of working with Arthur Laurents on shows both old (the most recent Broadway "Gypsy") and new ("Come Back, Come Back, Wherever You Are"); and she reveals, despite her oft-stated affinity for creating roles in new works, the roles from the classic musical theatre canon she'd most like to play. Original air date - November 17, 2010.

  • Howard Panter (#293) - November, 2010
    Called "the most powerful man in English theatre" by "The Stage", co-CEO (with his wife, Rosemary Squire) and creative director of the Ambassador Theatre Group, Howard Panter, talks about the impact of his company's recent purchase of the Live Nation venues in the UK (giving the company 40 theatres and 400,000 seats a week to sell) and how he sees the company being "vertically integrated," not unlike the way in which, he says, Shakespeare worked. He talks about his own early love of theatre and being drawn to the visual and physical aspects initially, as a result of what was later diagnosed as mild dyslexia which rendered him a problematic student; how he managed to do, at one point of another, just about every job in theatre except for acting; his transition from stage manager, director and set builder into theatrical impresario; the differences he sees between producing in England, Australia and on Broadway, notably in regards to theatre ownership, unions and critics; how he happened into becoming the caretaker of "The Rocky Horror Show" for the past 21 years, and the network of theatres he hopes to forge internationally in the coming years that would allow productions to play for several years without ever needing to set down on Broadway. Original air date - November 10, 2010.

  • Jim Simpson (#292) - November, 2010
    Jim Simpson, artistic director of New York's Off-Off-Broadway The Flea Theater, charts the company's 15 year journey from a collective meant to last for only five years to an ongoing institution on the verge of moving to a home that they own. Along the way, he tells about his years as a child actor in Honolulu appearing in touring musicals with stars such as John Raitt; his teenage summer spent studying with landmark Polish director and theorist Jerzy Grotowski; the highly politicized spirit of the Boston University theatre program during his time there; bridging the Robert Brustein and Lloyd Richards eras while in graduate school at Yale, including Richards' quashing of Simpson's all-male "Hamlet"; his ongoing development of the play "Benten Kozo" across multiple productions; his years as a freelancer at theatres including Williamstown and Hartford Stage; his forays into commercial runs both successful ("Nixon's Nixon") and incomplete ("Citizen Tom Paine"); why The Flea's central tenets included clean dressing rooms for the actors and bathrooms for the patrons; the company's ongoing relationship with playwrights, notably A.R. Gurney; and how the 9/11 tragedy nearly closed the theatre and then, largely thanks to "The Guys", spurred it into a new era; whether the presence of stars at The Flea, including Simpson's wife Sigourney Weaver, as well as John Lithgow and Marisa Tomei, has given them a profile beyond that of the customary downtown house; and why The Flea's resident young company, The Bats, forces the theatre to keep moving on to new challenges. Original air date - November 3, 2010.

  • Athol Fugard (#291) - October, 2010
    South African playwright Athol Fugard discusses his newest work, "The Train Driver", during rehearsals at the Long Wharf Theatre, and explains why this play marks the end of a stage in his writing -- but promises that he'll die with a fountain pen in one hand and a blank sheet of paper in the other. He also talks about the artistic collaborators who have been so important to him -- actors Zakes Mokae and Yvonne Bryceland, author/actors John Kani and Winston Ntshona, and designer/co-director Susan Hilferty; explains why guilt has been such a driving force behind his work; considers why he has on occasion been actor and director in his own work; defines the effect of his recent U.S. residency on his playwriting; considers the effect that the official end of apartheid has had on him and his work; and emphatically addresses recent comments both made by and attributed to him regarding the state of political playwriting in the world today. Original air date - October 27, 2010.

  • Sir Ian McKellen (#290) - October, 2010
    One of the greatest classical actors of his generation, Sir Ian McKellen reflects on his more than 50 years on stage, explaining that he's really only qualified to voice his opinion on two topics: gay issues and theatre. He talks about the recent production of "Waiting for Godot" in which he played opposite Patrick Stewart in London, then Roger Rees in both London and Australia, and which he'd happily perform in yet again (and wonders what the production would have been like had director Sean Mathias have received approval for McKellen's originally proposed co-star, Dame Judi Dench); why he feels that despite performing it in venues around the world, he never really "cracked" the role of "King Lear" and would like to try again; offers his first thoughts on recalling such roles as Iago, Macbeth, Richard II and Richard III; explains the British system which allowed him to move into a professional career quickly after his university days despite having no formal acting training; how he found himself on Broadway with Ian McShane and Eileen Atkins -- only six years after graduating from university -- in a Russian play that was a big English hit but a U.S. flop; explores the experience of playing the leading role in "Bent" in both the original production, prior to coming out publicly, and playing it again 10 years later after he had declared his sexuality; and why without his Broadway performance in "Amadeus", which was entirely the result of Paul Scofield declining to play it in the U.S. and McKellen having gone to school with Peter Hall, he might not even be sitting for a Downstage Center interview. Original air date - October 20, 2010.

  • Alfred Uhry (#289) - October, 2010
    Playwright Alfred Uhry recalls the original production of "Driving Miss Daisy" in 1987 at Playwrights Horizons, lists the actresses he's had the opportunity to see play the title role - based directly on his own grandmother - and discusses the cast of the play's Broadway premiere. He also talks about his Atlanta upbringing and being the beneficiary of his mother's love of the stage; moving to New York after graduating from Brown University and his apprenticeship under the great Frank Loesser; the Broadway musical he regularly leaves out of his bio and resume, which featured a book by another novice, Terrence McNally; the good fortune that smiled on "The Robber Bridegroom", which featured Raul Julia, Kevin Kline and Barry Bostwick in successive New York incarnations; how the failure of his Al Capone musical "America's Sweetheart" led him to shift away from musicals towards playwriting with "Daisy"; drawing once again on his own family for "The Last Night of Ballyhoo"; collaborating with director Hal Prince and one living composer (Jason Robert Brown) and one deceased (Kurt Weill) for the musicals "Parade" and "LoveMusik"; and how his fact-based drama "Edgardo Mine" has now become "Divine Intervention". Original air date - October 13, 2010.

  • Jules Feiffer (#288) - October, 2010
    Playwright Jules Feiffer, perhaps best known as a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, explains why he sees little difference between his comic work, screen work and stage work, as well as why he has no issue with his 42-year-legacy of provocative work in the "Village Voice" being called, simply, a comic strip. He also talks about his early involvement in moving from the comics to the stage, including Paul Sills' adaptation called "The Explainers" and his own "The World of Jules Feiffer", which featured the first "Passionella" musical, with a score by Stephen Sondheim; how he feels about the "Passionella" segment in "The Apple Tree" and whether he prefers the original production or the recent revival; the journey of "Little Murders" from Broadway flop to London award-winner to Off-Broadway success -- all in a two-year span; how "The White House Murder Case" started off a hit and why the audiences suddenly stopped laughing; how he came to contribute to the infamous revue "Oh! Calcutta"; what shifted his play "Carnal Knowledge" from the stage to the screen before it was ever produced, and what prompted him years later to resurrect the stage script; how his troubled personal life yielded the comedy "Knock Knock"; why "Elliot Loves" drove him from the theatre for over a decade, and why he came back with perhaps his most personal play, "A Bad Friend"; and what's happening with his long-aborning collaboration with Andrew Lippa on a stage musical of his children's book, "The Man in the Ceiling". Original air date - October 6, 2010.

  • Daniel Sullivan (#287) - September, 2010
    Veteran director Daniel Sullivan talks about his suddenly busy 2010-11 Broadway season, which will see transfers of his productions of "Time Stands Still" from Manhattan Theatre Club, "The Merchant of Venice" with Al Pacino from The Public's Delacorte Theater, as well as the premiere of David Lindsay Abaire's "Good People" for MTC. He also talks about getting his start as an actor and his early experiences with the San Francisco Actors Workshop, run by Herbert Blau and Jules Irving; moving to New York with the Workshop when it became the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center; working as Stage Manager and Assistant Director on the original production of "Hair", and why he had to restage the show almost every night; getting his first directing opportunity with the debut of A.R. Gurney's first play, "Scenes From American Life"; how quitting his first directing job at Seattle Rep (a production of "The Royal Family") didn't impede his becoming Resident Director there, and two years later, Artistic Director, a post he held for 16 years; why his greatest disappointment at Seattle Rep was ultimately the inability to create a full resident company of artists; how it felt to embark on a freelance career again in 1997; and his thoughts on the playwrights with whom he's most associated: Herb Gardner, Wendy Wasserstein, Donald Margulies, Charlayne Woodard, Jon Robin Baitz and David Lindsay Abaire. Original air date - September 29, 2010.

  • Elaine Paige (#286) - September, 2010
    West End musical theatre star Elaine Paige discusses her three month sojourn in New York, including the recording of a new album of duets with artists ranging from Paul Anka to Sinead O'Connor, as well as her ongoing BBC2 program, "Elaine Paige on Sunday" and what it's like to be the interviewer instead of the guest. She also talks about having her first show, the original production of "The Roar of the Greasepaint", "The Smell of the Crowd" close during its pre-London tour; her early roles in the original London companies of "Hair" and "Jesus Christ Superstar"; how she managed to secure the coveted role of Evita and why she had to live like a nun just as she attained stardom; the accident that led to her being cast in "Cats" at the very last minute; the holiday musical "Abbacadabra" that prefigured "Mamma Mia!" and led to her role in the premiere of "Chess"; why she signed on to produce "Anything Goes" in the West End; her experience succeeding Betty Buckley in both the London and New York productions of "Sunset Boulevard"; and her mystification over the brief run of "The Drowsy Chaperone" in England. Original air date - September 22, 2010.

  • Moisés Kaufman (#285) - September, 2010
    Director, artistic director and playwright Moisés Kaufman discusses his newest project, the U.S. premiere of the 1940s opera "El Gato con Botas (Puss in Boots)", a collaboration between his Tectonic Theater Project, Gotham Chamber Opera and London's Blind Summit Theatre puppet troupe, debuting at The New Victory Theater -- whether it's an opera meant for children and why it fits into the Tectonic aesthetic. He also talks about his youth and schooling in Caracas, Venezuela and how an annual festival bringing in work by such artists as Peter Brook and Pina Bausch turned him on to theatre; why he felt he needed to come to the U.S. to become a director; why he was done with his schooling at NYU's Experimental Theater Wing but never actually finished; how and why he came to create the Tectonic Theater Project so quickly after leaving school; the development of "Gross Indecency", "The Laramie Project" (and its epilogue), "I Am My Own Wife" and "33 Variations", including his evolution as a writer; why, as someone who has had such success creating his own works, he also enjoys directing existing texts as well; and the reason he listed "Pixar" as his religion on Facebook. Original air date - September 15, 2010.

  • Marin Mazzie (#284) - September, 2010
    Marin Mazzie talks about taking on the role of Diana Goodman in Broadway's "Next to Normal" and whether she and her co-star/husband Jason Danieley take their work home with them after the show. She also talks about her early professional experiences, including The Barn Theater in Michigan and An Evening Dinner Theatre in Westchester NY; appearing in the ultimately truncated national tour of "Doonesbury"; stepping into roles in the original productions of "Big River", "Into The Woods" and "And The World Goes Round"; her first opportunity to create a role, Clara in Sondheim and Lapine's "Passion", and having it created around her; the journey of "Ragtime" from Toronto to Broadway; her foray into the classics with Charles Mee's version of "The Trojan Women" for the site-specific company En Garde Arts; the differences between appearing in both "Kiss Me, Kate" and "Spamalot" in New York and London; and her forays into non-musical roles with "A Streetcar Named Desire" at Barrington Stage and "Enron" on Broadway -- and why she wants more opportunities to do more than just musicals. Original air date - September 8, 2010.

  • Cora Cahan (#283) - September, 2010
    Cora Cahan, president of The New 42nd Street in New York, discusses her 20 years in the role of recapturing what was once the epicenter of Manhattan sleaze for theatre and family audiences. She talks about her early work as a professional modern dancer; her shift into management with the Feld Ballet, having had no prior experience whatsoever in management (despite being married to the Associate Producer of The Public Theater); her discovery of what became Michael Bennett's fabled 890 Studios; her dual position as the head of the Feld Ballet and the Joyce Theatre, which she and Eliot Feld conceived as a home for dance companies at a time when New York didn't have an appropriate small venue; the Joyce's brief effort in the mid-80s to curate an annual festival of the best work from America's regional theatres -- and why it didn't work; why her first act upon arriving at her 42nd Street job in 1990 was to rename the organization; the chronology of how 42nd Street shifted from Triple XXX to G-rated; the development of The New Victory Theatre as a home for innovative children's and family programming, and why she felt that was a gap in New York's cultural life that needed to be filled; what's on tap for The New 42nd Street now that the environment has changed, the theatres are reclaimed, the rehearsal studios are always filled and even the long-delayed commercial buildings now anchor the corners of the stretch between 7th and 8th Avenues; and what she thinks of nostalgia for the former grit and danger for the street she has reclaimed. Original air date - September 1, 2010.

  • Kate Mulgrew (#282) - August, 2010
    Downstage Center welcomes its second starship captain as actress Kate Mulgrew visits during her stint in the Off-Broadway comedy "Love, Loss, and What I Wore". She talks about being raised in an Iowa household that groomed her for an acting career, even though she saw little theatre and had no TV growing up; getting her big breaks in theatre and TV simultaneously, playing Emily in "Our Town" at the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford CT and debuting on "Ryan's Hope"; her participation in the first workshop of Wendy Wasserstein's "Uncommon Women and Others" at the O'Neill Theater Center; playing Desdemona in Stamford CT and Tracy Lord in Anchorage AK; why "Hedda Gabler" was the hardest role she's ever tackled, why she wishes she could do it again, and why it was a relief to be performing it in rep with "The Real Thing" at L.A.'s Center Theatre Group; the particular challenges of the "stew" that is "Titus Andronicus", which she did in Central Park; the lonely but rewarding experience of playing Katharine Hepburn in "Tea At Five" around the country; her joy at having Marian Seldes play her mother in "The Royal Family"; her feelings about having only appeared on Broadway twice in her 35 year career; and her excitement at finally playing the queen in "Antony and Cleopatra", her dream role, this coming season at Hartford Stage. Original air date - August 25, 2010.

  • Martin Pakledinaz (#281) - August, 2010
    Costume designer Martin Pakledinaz talks about creating the clothes for the recent Broadway revival of "Lend Me A Tenor", the commencement of planning for the spring 2011 production of "Anything Goes" and the revival of "Oklahoma!" that will be part of Arena Stage's opening of its furbished and expanded venue. He also talks about his early thoughts of acting and who finally disabused him of that notion; his early working doing sketches for the legendary Theoni V. Aldredge and how he ultimately had to rediscover his own voice instead of speaking through hers; his very early - and short-lived - Broadway experiences with "Inacent Black" and "I Won't Dance"; developing his skills through productions at The York Theatre, the New York Shakespeare Festival; the McCarter Theatre; and the Roundabout Theatre Company; why he tried to costume the kids from the 2007 "Grease" without using leather jackets - and how long that idea lasted; the differing production timetables of theatre and opera and how each effects his work; and how much of his designs rely on the particular actor cast in a role. Original air date - August 18, 2010.

  • Lucie Arnaz (#280) - August, 2010
    Lucie Arnaz, the daughter of television legends Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, talks about how Angela Lansbury and Vivian Vance prompted her towards a career on the stage. She recalls her earliest appearances in regional productions of such shows as "Cabaret" and "Once Upon A Mattress", done while on hiatus from "Here's Lucy"; some pointed direction she received from Michael Bennett during the national tour of "Seesaw"; how she, Sandy Duncan and Stockard Channing mirror the characters they played in the west coast premiere of "Vanities"; getting her first Broadway musical "They're Playing Our Song" and the fun and challenges of acting with Robert Klein, then best known for his stand-up comedy; why she turned down a chance to audition for "City of Angels"; how Hugh Jackman caused her to be the only American cast in the West End musical "The Witches of Eastwick" and why she thinks that production didn't cross the Atlantic; her rewarding and ultimately problematic relationship with the Coconut Grove Playhouse; the many hats she wore in creating her recent concert tribute to her father, "Babalu", seen so far in New York and Miami; and how she came to choose "Baby June" Havoc as a surrogate grandmother for her children. Original air date - August 11, 2010.

  • Jerry Zaks (#279) - July, 2010
    Veteran director Jerry Zaks talks about his role as Creative Consultant on "The Addams Family" since joining the production after its opening in Chicago and the work he has planned for "Sister Act" as a result of seeing its current London staging. He also talks about his introduction to theatre while a student at Dartmouth; his early years as an actor in productions including "Grease" and "Tintypes"; his role in the founding of Ensemble Studio Theatre; finding Christopher Durang's "Sister Mary Ignatius" and why a nice Jewish boy was drawn to a play about a nun; how he fully made the shift from acting to directing; his relationships with playwrights Durang ("Beyond Therapy", "Baby With the Bathwater", "The Marriage of Bette and Boo"), Larry Shue ("The Foreigner", "Wenceslas Square") and John Guare ("The House of Blue Leaves", "Six Degrees of Separation"); how he approached productions of such revered classics as "Guys and Dolls" and "Anything Goes"; why he likens his relationship with actor Nathan Lane to that of orchestra conductor and concertmaster; his plans for the new revue of Randy Newman songs "Harps and Angels"; and why he's always hoping to provide his audience with an "ecstatic experience." Original air date - July 28, 2010.

  • Penny Fuller (#278) - July, 2010
    While playing the "anchor role" in Off-Broadway's "Love, Loss and What I Wore", actress Penny Fuller talked about her wide-ranging career, noting (even to her own surprise) how many times she got roles because someone else dropped out or was let go fairly late in the production process. She recalls her first Broadway break, understudying Elizabeth Ashley (who would later play her mother in "Dividing the Estate") in the original production of "Barefoot in the Park"; standing by for Jill Haworth and going on more than 100 times in the original "Cabaret", performing "Henry IV Parts 1 and 2" in repertory in Central Park with Sam Waterston as Prince Hal and Stacy Keach as Falstaff; playing the world's most infamous understudy, Eve Harrington, opposite Lauren Bacall in "Applause"; the challenges that faced the ill-fated musical "Rex"; the thrill of appearing in William Finn's "A New Brain"; playing Mrs. Kendal both on stage and on TV in Bernard Pomerance's "The Elephant Man"; and why she's a leading lady in the theatre but a character actress on television. Original air date - July 21, 2010.

  • Charles Busch (#277) - July, 2010
    As his play "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom" marks the 25th anniversary of its opening at the Provincetown Playhouse, playwright and actor Charles Busch recalls the circumstances surrounding the play's production and the evolution of his career as a writer and performer, including his years as a solo artist and his transition to writing for other actors -- and himself, as his own leading lady. He also talks about his theatregoing experiences growing up in New York and his study at Northwestern University; explains that despite frequent declarations that his work is rooted in classic films, he believes them to be based more in his knowledge of theatrical history and style; wonders whether he could achieve success today, now that Off-Broadway has become relatively inhospitable to commercial productions of plays; ponders why his forays into musical theatre, including "Taboo", haven't been entirely successful; describes the ups and downs of his relationship with his "co-muse" Julie Halston, including its inauspicious beginning; makes clear why he never had any intention of playing the title role in "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife"; describes the challenges he faced getting the rights to perform a role he's now done several times, "Auntie Mame"; and reflects on why he's inexorably drawn back to Theatre for the New City, most recently with "The Divine Sister", even after success in larger, more upscale environs. Original air date - July 14, 2010.

  • Katie Finneran (#276) - July, 2010
    "Promises, Promises" scene stealer Katie Finneran talks about creating the character of Marge McDougall for only two scenes and why she had to be "the anti-Kristin," what it's like having so much free time during the course of a performance and what's beyond the secret door in her dressing room's bathroom. She also talks about why she left Carnegie Mellon's theatre program after a short stay; how she came to New York intent on studying with Uta Hagen and managed to do so, on and off, for some 15 years; why we've only seen her in three musicals over the course of almost two decades of Broadway gigs; how instrumental Lincoln Center Theater has been in her career, providing her with parts in such shows as "Two Shakespearean Actors", "The Heiress" and "My Favorite Year"; what it has been like working with Neil Simon on the "Promises" revival and, earlier, on his new play "Proposals"; how she handled performing in the lengthy "The Iceman Cometh" -- and why she compares that experience to "Love, Loss and What I Wore"; and the often dangerous experience of appearing in the 2001 revival of "Noises Off". Original air date - July 7, 2010.

  • Ruthie Henshall (#275) - June, 2010
    Trans-Atlantic star of "Chicago" Ruthie Henshall discusses her 14 year history with the show, from creating the role of Roxie in the original London company (opposite Ute Lemper) to subsequently playing Velma in both London and New York to her current stint on Broadway as, once again, Roxie; she also reveals her favorite co-star, the inevitable competition between the women playing those two roles, and which role she prefers. She also discusses her early work in the West End in "Cats" and "Miss Saigon"; the experience of creating a role for the first time in "Children of Eden"; her apprenticeship in plays at the Chichester Festival; her breakout success in the London production of "Crazy for You" followed quickly by plaudits for "She Loves Me"; her decision to move to New York and "start again" without any immediate prospect of work; how her "godfather" Cameron Mackintosh continued his support of her career by casting her in Broadway's "Putting It Together", where she appeared with Carol Burnett; what she thinks of the musical "Peggy Sue Got Married" and why it didn't move beyond the West End; the extraordinary collaboration she had with Schönberg, Boublil and Legrand on the musical "Marguerite"; the book she's writing about the craft of musical theatre; and her real first name and whether she'll ever grow up and become just plain Ruth. Original air date - June 30, 2010.

  • Tony Shalhoub (#274) - June, 2010
    "Lend Me a Tenor"'s Tony Shalhoub talks about the challenge of playing farce, including the shifts from rehearsal room to theatre to playing in front of a live audience, how you can suddenly "lose" a consistent laugh, whether the actors ever crack each other up on stage, and why he's lost 20 pounds since starting the run. He also talks about his journey from Green Bay, Wisconsin to the University of Maine to -- with considerable prodding -- the Yale School of Drama; the experience of working in both student productions and with professional actors at Yale Rep during his Drama School days; his continuing education over four years as a member of the company at Cambridge's American Repertory Theatre, under the leadership of his former Yale dean Robert Brustein; his Broadway debut in Neil Simon's gender-reversed "The Odd Couple" -- and why he turned down the role that ultimately went to Kevin Spacey in "Lost in Yonkers"; how he healed after the loss of his own father by playing a yearning son in Herb Gardner's "Conversations with My Father"; why he has appeared twice in "Waiting for Godot", at A.R.T. as Pozzo and for CSC in New York as Didi opposite John Turturro, and why he'd like a chance to do the play yet again; and the continuing "problem" that prompts him to pick up stakes every so often and put himself in the position of starting over again as a novice. Original air date - June 23, 2010.

  • Sarah Ruhl (#273) - June, 2010
    Playwright Sarah Ruhl, whose "Passion Play" made its New York City debut with the Epic Theater Center, talks about the roots of that play during her graduate work at Brown University, what initially got her musing on the story of the people who appear in passion plays, and why she wrote a third act for its production at Arena Stage more than a decade after its debut in Trinity Rep's New Play Festival. She also talks about growing up in a household that was intellectually and theatrically oriented; her days at the Piven Theater Workshop while in her teens; why she thinks that everyone has an "opera inside"; the visual images that become the starting point for her plays, and whether starting a play, "Dead Man's Cell Phone", in which the title character is deceased at the start, was a handicap; the impact of receiving a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" on her life and career; the unorthodox gift that gave rise to "In The Next Room or the vibrator play" and why she chose to subtitle the play; and she responds to the suggestion that as her career has progressed, her plays have contained their flights of fancy more with each successive work. Original air date - June 16, 2010.

  • Douglas Hodge (#272) - June, 2010
    Douglas Hodge, who appears as Albin in the current Broadway revival of the musical "La Cage aux Folles", explains what appealed to him about the story and character, which he did not know, when he was first approached to play it at London's Menier Chocolate Factory, and how the show has changed around him as it progressed from that small venue to a West End house to Broadway, notably the impact of his "trois Georges": Philip Quast, Denis Lawson and Kelsey Grammer. He also discusses his earliest days with England's National Youth Theatre; his first failed attempts to enter drama school and his successful efforts just a year later; why he left the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts before completing their program; his early work in regional theatres -- as well as his early London roles as "Coriolanus" for director Deborah Warner at the Almeida and Edmund opposite Anthony Hopkins in "King Lear" at the National; how he found himself acting opposite Harold Pinter in the noted playwright's "No Man's Land" and the professional relationship and personal friendship that led to him appearing in and directing numerous Pinter plays; how as a noted Pinter interpreter he suddenly became a musical comedy star in a "Guys and Dolls" revival opposite Jane Krakowski; and what it was like to play "Titus Andronicus" at London's Globe Theatre -- including how many people fainted from the gore at every show. Original air date - June 9, 2010.

  • Christine Jones (#271) - June, 2010
    Scenic designer Christine Jones, a Tony nominee for "American Idiot", discusses the development of the project from album to Broadway musical, including when she came into the creative process and how her ideas influenced the piece. She also talks about her youth in Canada, including her original plans to be a professional dancer, her flirtation with acting and her shift into the visual medium of scenic design; why she moved to the United States to train; how she got her first design jobs, at Hartford Stage and The Public Theatre; her work on the musical "Spring Awakening", including the genesis of the onstage seating and how the show managed its shift from the Atlantic Theatre Company to its Broadway berth; whether she thinks the Great White Way is hospitable to female set designers; and how she developed "Theatre for One," her unique hybrid of theatrical performance and peep show booth that recently finished a high-profile residency in Times Square. Original air date - June 2, 2010.

  • Kenny Leon (#270) - May, 2010
    "Fences" director Kenny Leon discusses his long association with August Wilson, both personally and professionally, dating back to Leon's 1987 NEA Directing Fellowship which first introduced him to Wilson and continuing through his direction of nine of the ten plays in Wilson's "Century Cycle" -- including five separate productions of "Fences" -- as well as the Broadway debuts of "Gem of the Ocean" and "Radio Golf". He also discusses his rise from an impoverished childhood in Florida to his high school rebellion against a drama club which only cast African-Americans in subservient roles to his pursuit of a political science degree in college; how he rose to the position of artistic director of Atlanta's Alliance Theatre and his efforts there to integrate the audiences and the artistic work; his decision almost immediately after leaving the Alliance to found his own company, True Colors, in Atlanta which would dedicate itself to diversity but with African-American dramatic literature at its center; whether despite his acclaimed work on Broadway he feels that he's not in the running for work beyond the African-American canon; and what projects he'll be working on next, notably Katori Hall's Olivier Award-winning play about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "The Mountaintop", and why he expects and hopes it will generate controversy over its portrayal of the famed civil rights leader. Original air date - May 26, 2010.

  • Linda Lavin (#269) - May, 2010
    "Collected Stories" star Linda Lavin discusses why she's playing the role of Ruth Steiner in Donald Margulies' play for a fourth time, likens the two-character play to a duet that changes with each new co-star, and explains why she turned the role down the first time she had the opportunity to play it. She also talks about her musical heritage growing up in Maine; how she got her Equity card after her freshman year studying drama at the College of William and Mary; how a chorus role in her first Broadway show, "A Family Affair", grew to afford her four character roles by opening night; the unexpected success of "The Mad Show", which was originally planned for a two-week holiday run; the experience of creating roles in two Neil Simon plays, "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers" and "Broadway Bound", including the story of how swiftly Simon wrote her impressive act two monologue for the latter; whether it was tough for her to be considered for stage roles after nine seasons on TV's "Alice"; how she saw the character of Mama Rose when she took over for Tyne Daly in "Gypsy"; what she thinks prompted Charles Busch to create the title role in "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" with her in mind; and why when she's not busy with professional acting roles she spends her "spare time" running the Red Barn Theatre, a community theatre in Wilmington NC. Original air date - May 19, 2010.

  • B.H. Barry (#268) - May, 2010
    Progenitor of fight direction in America and 2010 Tony Honor recipient B.H. Barry talks about his decades of developing and staging fights across the country, starting with "Hamlet" in 1978 at Arena Stage and continuing with countless productions for the New York Shakespeare Festival, such Broadway shows as the fabled 1981 "Frankenstein", "City of Angels", "My Favorite Year", "An Inspector Calls" and most recently "Dividing the Estate". He discusses his upbringing and education in England, his early days as an actor and how he was drawn into fight directing, his role in establishing the Society of British Fight Directors -- and his lack of participation in its American counterpart, how he develops fights by probing the director's vision of the characters participating in the fight, why his fights are rooted more in acting then athleticism, and what it was like to be part of a tabloid saga when actors famously strayed from his direction in Broadway's "I Hate Hamlet". Original air date - May 12, 2010.

  • Betty Buckley (#267) - May, 2010
    While appearing the new comedy "White's Lies", Betty Buckley talks about the career that has taken her from Texas to New York to London and back many times over. She discusses why she chose to play her current supporting role in an Off-Broadway comedy by a first-time writer for her first stage role in New York in seven years; how being discovered while still a Texas teen led to her Broadway debut, fresh off the bus, as Martha Jefferson in "1776" -- and what it was like to be one of only two women in a cast of 30 men; how she quickly followed that debut with her West End debut in the leading role of "Promises, Promises"; the professional challenges she faced in even getting seen for a role in "Pippin", where she ultimately replaced Jill Clayburgh; her bi-coastal stints in "I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road"; how she convinced Trevor Nunn that she should play Grizabella in "Cats" and when she realized that the role wasn't really very big; what it was like to appear in the solo musical "Tell Me On a Sunday" as part of "Song and Dance"; the circumstances surrounding her succeeding Barbara Cook in the role of Margaret White in the now-legendary musical "Carrie" -- and why she believe the show should have gone the "Rocky Horror" route; why she considers Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard" to have been her most fulfilling acting challenge; her affinity for the role of Mama Rose in "Gypsy" and the main reason that her performance was never seen in New York; and why she has taken so enthusiastically to Twitter. Original air date - May 5, 2010.

  • Shirley Knight (#266) - April, 2010
    During her month in the cast of the Off-Broadway comedy "Love, Loss and What I Wore", Shirley Knight discusses the appeal of the "stool and music stand" style of presentation while pointing out that she had the only continuing narrative among the many interwoven stories. She also explains why she considers her every appearance on stage to be a rehearsal, not a performance; her attraction to the groundbreaking play "Dutchman" by LeRoi Jones (now Amiri Baraka), which she did in Los Angeles and on film; how she shifted from a planned career in music to acting and her trek out west to the Pasadena Playhouse to pursue that new goal; the extraordinary experience of appearing as Irina in "The Three Sisters" in her Broadway debut, with Geraldine Page and Kim Stanley as her siblings under the direction of Lee Strasberg -- and why she chose that role over playing Ophelia to Richard Burton's "Hamlet"; her years working in England, notably in plays by her husband John Hopkins, which she continued to perform upon their return to the U.S.; her memorable role in Robert Patrick's "Kennedy's Children"; what it was like to have Tennessee Williams write a role expressly for her in "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur"; her affinity for the plays of fellow Kansan William Inge and her role in creating the ongoing Inge Festival; and her affection for the work of Horton Foote, which marked her most recent Broadway appearance, in the Pulitzer-winning "The Young Man from Atlanta". Original air date - April 28, 2010.

  • Janet McTeer (#265) - April, 2010
    Janet McTeer talks about her experiences in "God of Carnage", having starred in the play's London premiere (where the characters were still French) and now playing it on Broadway (as an American) and whether there are differences between her performances as Veronique and Veronica. She also shares her highly fortuitous experience of applying to the top English acting schools, with virtually no prior stage experience; the shock of moving from her hometown of York to London and the emotional crisis that hit her while attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; her first jobs out of school, including the Nottingham Playhouse, the Royal Exchange in Manchester and, after only two years, the Royal Shakespeare Company (in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as Hippolyta and Titania); her participation as more than simply a performer in the development and production of "A Doll's House" -- and why the role ultimately caused her to take a four year hiatus from the stage; why working on Broadway is such a thrill even after her great acclaim in England; the fun she had playing Petruchio in an all-female "The Taming of the Shrew" at London's Globe Theatre; and how she made the choice between playing Elizabeth or Mary in the acclaimed revival of "Mary Stuart". Original air date - April 21, 2010.

  • David Cromer (#264) - April, 2010
    Director David Cromer discusses his most recent New York project, Andrew Bovell's "When The Rain Stops Falling" at Lincoln Center Theater, and how even he had to be reassured that the play's intertwining timeline does grow clearer to the audience as the show goes along. He also recounts the story of how he came to direct and appear in "Our Town", and what it's been like to "put in" actors to replace himself multiple times during the play's lengthy New York run; talks about the series of schools he attended without ever finishing; explains how Columbia College launched him into a successful acting career in Chicago, despite his lack of a degree, and how the size of, and fluidity between, Chicago theatre companies fostered his career as a director; shares what he considers the pinnacle of his acting career; reveals how most of his directing projects all stem from a single book; describes what it was like to work with playwright Austin Pendleton on the premiere of "Orson's Shadow" after years of working almost exclusively without an author in residence; considers his feelings about his new-found New York success, and why he'll always go back to Chicago; and reflects on the unfortunate circumstances that surrounded "The Neil Simon Plays" earlier this season, particularly not being able to open "Broadway Bound". Original air date - April 14, 2010.

  • Hallie Foote (#263) - April, 2010
    Hallie Foote, perhaps the leading interpreter of the works of her father, the late Horton Foote, talks about her past year of work on "The Orphans' Home Cycle", the epic compilation of nine of her father's plays into a theatrical triptych spanning nine hours of performance. She discusses the process of condensing the plays to in order to find their central storyline; how far work had progressed before her father's passing in early 2009; how the plays have created their own repertory company, with actors even playing different roles in different plays in a single evening; and how it feels to now be playing a character based upon her great-grandmother, having originated the role based on her grandmother in the premieres (and films) of the original plays. She also discusses how she finally came around to a career in theatre after first pursuing music; why she has spent most of her professional life performing in her father's plays; what it has been like to also appear in plays by her sister, Daisy, once under the director of her father, in addition to often appearing with her husband (including playing his aunt in "Dividing The Estate"); the importance of her father's artistic homes at Signature Theatre and Hartford Stage, and their directors James Houghton and Michael Wilson; and her plans for her acting career now that she is also the literary executor of her father's more than 60 plays. Original air date - April 7, 2010.

  • Marsha Mason (#262) - March, 2010
    During rehearsals for Keen Company's revival of "I Never Sang For My Father", Marsha Mason talks about the differences between playing in a Broadway house and a small Theatre Row venue. She also talks about her Broadway debut in "Cactus Flower" after countless auditions; her unique experience of appearing in the only plays written by two famed novelists, Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut; appearing on a one-act double bill -- where the other play featured Al Pacino and John Cazale; how she found herself in San Francisco appearing at the American Conservatory Theatre in "Private Lives" -- directed by Francis Ford Coppola; her long-standing partnership with director Jack O'Brien, spanning from ACT's 1972 "You Can't Take It With You" to 2009's "Impressionism" on Broadway; how she met and married her husband, playwright Neil Simon, in only three weeks and why he only wrote movies, not plays, for her, even when "Chapter Two" was based on their life together; what prompted her to buy a farm in New Mexico 17 years ago; her extensive work with L.A. Theatre Works doing plays for radio in front of live audiences; and her efforts to duplicate elements of the British actor training tradition here in the U.S. Original air date - March 31, 2010.

  • Jordan Roth (#261) - March, 2010
    Jordan Roth, President of New York's Jujamcyn Theatres, discusses his ascension to the top spot running a quintet of Broadway houses, which makes him one of the handful of people who can decide what is (or isn't) a Broadway show. He talks about his lifelong love of theatre; how he grew to be dissatisfied with performing while still a student at Princeton; his wholly unplanned evolution into the producer of "The Donkey Show" and the freedom on that production to create new ways of putting on a theatrical production; his move into Broadway producing and how he worked to push beyond conventional boundaries with the revival of "The Rocky Horror Show"; the profound impact closing of "The Mambo Kings" out of town had on him; how he came to produce "A Catered Affair" and why he bridles at the show being considered a more conventional work than his previous efforts; and, six months in, how he's enjoying his new role, the difference between being "the producer" and "the house," and how he hopes to achieve artistic goals while operating the theatres. He also explains his new role moonlighting as a moderator for the 92nd Street Y's new "Broadway Talks" series and his role in creating Givenik.com, which merges ticket selling with philanthropy. Original air date - March 24, 2010.

  • Jessica Hecht (#260) - March, 2010
    Jessica Hecht, now on Broadway as Eddie Carbone's long-suffering but cleared-eyed wife Beatrice in the Broadway revival of "A View From The Bridge", talks about her role in the play's tragic love triangle and why her preparation for this performance was so different than her usual practice. She also discusses how she began studying at Connecticut College, only to have the famed actor Morris Carnovsky send her off to New York to study at New York University; her earliest roles, including an appearance in "Hamlet" at Hartford Stage, near her hometown of Bloomfield CT, as a silent lady-in-waiting to Pamela Payton-Wright as Gertrude; her Broadway debut in "The Last Night of Ballyhoo" where, after being raised in an observant Jewish home, she appeared as part of a Southern family disconnected from their Jewish roots; how she handled portraying a character alternating between dawning love and heart-rending tragedy in the non-linear "Stop Kiss"; working on "After The Fall" at the Roundabout with Arthur Miller and her interaction with the legendary playwright; playing in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" with Denzel Washington -- and how that yielded the greatest entrance ovation she's ever experienced; the joy and pain of opening in "Brighton Beach Memoirs" but never being able to perform for an audience in the prematurely closed "Broadway Bound"; and why she's drawn back to the Williamstown Theatre Festival year after year. Original air date - March 17, 2010.

  • Rondi Reed (#259) - March, 2010
    The "resident character woman" of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Rondi Reed, talks about her current stint as Madame Morrible in the Broadway juggernaut "Wicked", a role she originated in the musical's Chicago company, including why we're suddenly seeing her in a big Broadway musical for the first time, after 30 years in Chicago's best-known theatre ensemble. She also discusses her college years at Illinois State University, where she first met the team who would become the founders of Steppenwolf; why after graduation she decamped for Minnesota; when the invitation to join Steppenwolf actually came; why she didn't journey to New York for the famed production of "Balm in Gilead"; her directing debut with John Guare's "Lydie Breeze"; her extended tenure in the original production of "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" and the brief Broadway run of "The Rise and Fall of Little Voice"; whether she has the opportunity at Steppenwolf to ask for plays to be done specifically based on her interest; why the company seems to have so many meetings and how they've sustained that over the years; her reasons for initially declining the role of Mattie Faye, written by Tracy Letts with her in mind, in "August: Osage County", as she sets the record straight about whether or not the company resisted bringing the show to New York; the remarkable experience of returning to "August" for its final performance at the last minute, playing the role she created for a single performance with a company of actors she didn't know, including Phylicia Rashad, why she's only in recent years begun appearing in roles outside of Steppenwolf; and how long we can expect her to stay in the magical world of "Wicked". Original air date - March 10, 2010.

  • Howard Sherman (#258) - March, 2010
    Turnabout is fair play, as actor Richard Thomas is the guest host for a conversation with Howard Sherman, Executive Director of the American Theatre Wing. The longtime friends discuss the changes in the Wing since Sherman arrived in 2003, the unifying idea beyond the program expansion that has taken place since that time, and how ATW has evolved repeatedly over its 70 year history to meet the changing needs of the theatre community. Sherman also talks about his high school and college years as a performer; his eight years of "graduate school" at Hartford Stage under the mentorship of artistic director Mark Lamos and managing director David Hawkanson; the celebrity who helped to ease his parents' minds about his choice of a risky career in theatre; how Goodspeed Musicals' executive producer Michael Price gave him the opportunity to move beyond p.r. and into management; his stints at Geva Theatre in Rochester, NY and the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut; how personal priorities rather than professional ones led him to the Wing; and what has always motivated him throughout his career. Original air date - March 3, 2010.

  • Gregory Mosher (#257) - February, 2010
    Gregory Mosher, director of the current Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge", talks about how he initiated the production himself, personally approached Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson about appearing in it, then brought the project to a producer after 17 years away from directing on Broadway. Mosher also discusses his journey through three institutions of higher education, including the acting program at The Juilliard School -- all without once graduating; his failed efforts post-college to even get unpaid employment in New York or at the country's major regional theatres; his migration to Chicago, where as assistant to William Woodman at The Goodman Theatre, he did everything from casting to producing their Stage 2 season; his ascension to artistic director and the challenges he faced securing the rights to new plays at a time when Chicago theatre wasn't yet "on the map"; his working relationship with David Mamet on the original production of "American Buffalo" and other plays -- as well as the one Mamet play he rejected and how that turned out; his tenure as artistic director of the new regime at Lincoln Center Theater beginning in 1985, including his early pilgrimage to meet with Peter Brook to understand how to make the Beaumont stage "work" and the LCT show that proved most surprising and rewarding in its success; what prompted his departure from LCT in the early 90s; his unsuccessful attempt to revitalize Circle-in-the-Square in 1997 and the 1998 season that was planned but never produced; and his leadership of the Columbia University Arts Initiative, how that program came to be and how to measure its success five years in. Original air date - February 24, 2010.

  • John Lee Beatty (#256) - February, 2010
    Veteran scenic designer John Lee Beatty, currently represented in New York by "Time Stands Still", "A View from the Bridge" and "Venus in Fur", talks about why he thinks all American drama is about real estate, making set design particularly integral to every work. He also discusses how he was instantly drawn to set design (as well as flying) when he first saw "Peter Pan" as a child; his self-education in set design through his college years -- and what he discovered when he entered the graduate design program at the Yale School of Drama; his extensive work with not-for-profit companies including the Manhattan Theatre Club, Mark Taper Forum, Goodspeed Musicals, Circle Repertory Company and Lincoln Center Theater -- plus 50 shows for City Center's Encores! series; his affinity for the Victorian era; why he hasn't done many designs for musicals -- and the musical he'd most like to tackle; how he feels about being "typecast" for his interiors and exteriors of homes through the years -- and costume designer Jane Greenwood's sage advice on Beatty's particular specialty; how he chooses his projects -- and the kinds of shows he doesn't like to do; what it was like to imagine different parts of the Talley family property in different eras in Lanford Wilson's famed trilogy; and how the design of "Proof" was actually based on an old sweater. Original air date - February 17, 2010.

  • Christine Lahti (#255) - February, 2010
    One of "God of Carnage"'s current combatants on Broadway, Christine Lahti, talks about playing the range of emotions that consume her character over the course of the play's mere 80 minutes, and how the new ensemble developed the rapport for such a physical and intimate work. She also discusses her college years, including the dual lures of social activism and theatre performance; her experience understudying Madeline Kahn and Sigourney Weaver in the premiere of John Guare's "Marco Polo Sings a Solo"; her early Broadway work in plays by Michael Weller and Steve Tesich; being directed by and co-starring with the legendary George C. Scott in "Present Laughter", along with Broadway newbies Nathan Lane and Kate Burton; how studying with another iconic figure, Uta Hagen, taught her how to be "director-proof"; her multiple appearances in Jon Robin Baitz's monologue-driven "Three Hotels"; and her great affinity for the work of Wendy Wasserstein, evidenced by her performances in "The Heidi Chronicles" (on Broadway), "Third" (at the Geffen Playhouse) and "An American Daughter" (for television). Original air date - February 10, 2010.

  • Andre De Shields (#254) - February, 2010
    The multi-talented Andre De Shields describes the development of his new one-man show, "Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance", and why it may be a work-in-progress for several years to come. He also talks about growing up in a family of 11 children in Baltimore and why he was unexpectedly the one to make a career in entertainment; his undergraduate years at the University of Wisconsin, including an infamous production he described as "the nude Peter Pan," directed by Stuart Gordon (who would later create the Organic Theatre in Chicago and direct the film "Re-Animator"); why he had to sleep in a public park in order to secure his first professional role in a show he'd never seen -- "Hair"; why he can lay claim to being the man who made Bette Midler's back-up singers, The Harlettes, dance; how the process of elimination ended up yielding him the title role in "The Wiz"; why it was Jackie Onassis who revealed to him and his castmates in "Ain't Misbehavin'" that they were in a hit; whether he'd tackle the multiple roles of director, choreographer, bookwriter, songwriter and star of "Harlem Nocturne" if he had to do it all over again; his thoughts on African-American actors taking on traditionally Caucasian roles, having had the opportunity to play Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman" and "Our Town"'s Stage Manager; why he feels that the musical "Play On!" was misunderstood; and the incredible liberation of his big number in "The Full Monty". Original air date - February 1, 2010.

  • Doug Wright (#253) - January, 2010
    Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award honored playwright Doug Wright discusses his virtually genetic passion for theatre and how that matched up with his conservative Texas childhood; his escape to New Haven and later New York for college and grad school; his early work at the O'Neill Theatre Center and the Yale Repertory Theatre; why he describes his early plays, including "Interrogating the Nude" and "Watbanaland", as having been fueled by rage; how "Quills" was inspired in part by the political culture wars of the mid-90s; where he found inspiration for the macabre and comic one-acts collected as "Unwrap Your Candy"; how he feels about having personally revealed himself in his writing, both as a character in "I Am My Own Wife" and in his essay for the book "The Play That Changed My Life"; why he signed on to collaborate with Scott Frankel and Michael Korie on the musical of "Grey Gardens" after the failure of his only prior musical, "Buzzsaw Berkeley" with Michael John LaChiusa; what drove him to actively lobby for the position of bookwriter on Disney's "The Little Mermaid"; and whether he plans to do more directing after adapting and staging Strindberg's "Creditors" at the La Jolla Playhouse in the summer of 2009. Original air date - January 25, 2010.

  • Emily Mann (#252) - January, 2010
    As she celebrates her 20th season as artistic director of Princeton's McCarter Theatre, Emily Mann recalls the factors she considered when taking on the job; counsel she received at the time from directors Peter Hall and Mark Lamos; how she has evolved the McCarter audience in the direction of the work that most appeals to her; and her unique role as artistic director, director and playwright - including whether each of those roles ever gets in the way of the others. She also talks about making her way in the theatre as a female director and playwright coming up in the 1970s; her breakthrough as the first woman to direct on the mainstage of the Guthrie Theatre during Alvin Epstein's brief tenure leading the company; the development of her own playwriting style of documentary theatre through such acclaimed plays as "Still Life" and "Execution of Justice"; sharing a toast with Harold Pinter just after President Obama's election; working with Edward Albee on several plays, notably his newest, "Me Myself & I"; and why she chose to revisit "Having Our Say" at McCarter 14 years after its original Broadway success. Original air date - January 18, 2010.

  • Scott Ellis (#251) - January, 2010
    With Theresa Rebeck's "The Understudy" soon to close at the Roundabout and Douglas Carter Beane's "Mr. and Mrs. Fitch" beginning rehearsals at Second Stage, director Scott Ellis discusses his attraction to both projects and the delays and opportunities that caused each of them to land in New York a bit later than originally expected. He also discusses his early and absolute conviction that he was destined for a career as an actor, and how quickly that changed; how his friendship with John Kander and Fred Ebb from his acting in "The Rink" helped him to land his very first directing job, a revival of "Flora the Red Menace" at the Vineyard Theatre; the enormous opportunities afforded to him by artistic director Todd Haimes at the Roundabout, where Ellis is Associate Artistic Director; how and why he and Susan Stroman came to devise "And The World Goes Round"; his early work on the plays "Picnic" and "A Month in the Country" after his successes with "A Little Night Music" at the New York City Opera and "She Loves Me" -- Roundabout's first musical; the opportunity to collaborate on the creation of "Steel Pier" and the challenges of opening an original book musical in New York without benefit of an out-of-town tryout; why he feels "The Look of Love", his Bacharach and David revue didn't succeed -- and why he thinks it was always meant to be done "drinks in hand"; and how he tackled "Twelve Angry Men", a seemingly familiar work which had never been produced professionally in New York. Original air date - January 11, 2010.

  • Stephen Sondheim (#250) - January, 2010
    Legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim is the guest for the 250th "Downstage Center" interview. He discusses a wide range of topics, including whether, as many have asserted, he actually dislikes giving interviews and why; his experiences doing Q&A sessions with Frank Rich around the country; how the upcoming "Sondheim on Sondheim" is developing and how he feels about being the central character in a Sondheim show; his process in preparing the forthcoming two-volume, annotated edition of his complete lyrics, to be titled "Finishing the Hat"; his reaction to seeing his work done in scaled down versions; how involved get gets with major revivals of his works and whether he makes adjustments to shows long after their original productions; whether he ever gets the urge to write songs outside of the context of musical theatre; why he considers his work on the films "The Last of Sheila" and "Stavisky" the two happiest working experiences of his life; who originated the many projects he's undertaken over the course of his career and how he's worked with such collaborators as Arthur Laurents, John Weidman, George Furth, James Lapine and Harold Prince; what he thinks about seeing opera companies produce some of his shows; why he was moved to found Young Playwrights, Inc. and why it's not Young Composers instead; if he has had the opportunity to mentor young composers, just as Oscar Hammerstein has mentored him; and whether of all of his songs, all written for specific characters in specific situations, there are any that most reflect him personally. Original air date - January 3, 2010.

  • Beth Leavel (#249) - December, 2009
    "Mamma Mia!"'s newest leading lady, Beth Leavel, talks about slipping into the polyester disco gear of Donna Sheridan, describing the rare opportunity of joining a long-running production and still getting a full rehearsal period, as well as the benefit of coming in with an almost entirely new set of leading actors. She also talks about one of her earliest professional experiences, understudying Lynn Redgrave in "The King and I" at the St. Louis MUNY; snagging a role in the first national tour (and later joining the Broadway cast) of the original "42nd Street", even though she hadn't studied tap dancing since childhood; originating the role of Tess -- initially a two-line part -- in the original production of "Crazy for You"; taking over the role of Dorothy Brock after first standing by for Christine Ebersole in the 2001 Broadway revival of "42nd Street"; how playing Vera in "Mame" and the Countess in "A Little Night Music" informed her Tony-winning performance as "The Drowsy Chaperone"; why she loves playing Miss Hannigan in "Annie" (including the time she appeared with some 70 orphans at once); her work in the new musicals "Dancing in the Dark" and "Minsky's" on the west coast and the recent workshop of "Elf"; and how she managed to research one of her roles at a diner in New Jersey. Original air date - December 28, 2009.

  • Bernard Gersten (#248) - December, 2009
    Bernard Gersten, Executive Producer of Lincoln Center Theater, takes listeners on a highly condensed tour of his 60-year career in the theatre, including his joining Maurice Evans' US Army Special Services Unit while stationed on Hawaii during World War II; his subsequent New York debut as assistant stage manager, ensemble member and understudy in Evans' "G.I." "Hamlet"; his years as a stage manager, including the threat to his job at the American Shakespeare Festival in Connecticut after he was called before the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee; how he met and came to work with Joseph Papp at the New York Shakespeare Festival, a tenure that included the construction of the "temporary" Delacorte Theatre, the opening of The Public Theater on Astor Place with the original "Hair", and the phenomenal success of "A Chorus Line"; his work with Frances Ford Coppola on four films, including the oft-discussed but little seen "One From the Heart"; how he signed on at the inception of Lincoln Center Theater in 1985 when the Vivian Beaumont was thought to be a highly undesirable venue; and his role in the selection of Andre Bishop as LCT's artistic director upon the departure of Gregory Mosher in 1991. Original air date - December 21, 2009.

  • Jim Norton (#247) - December, 2009
    Actor Jim Norton, Tony and Olivier Award winner for "The Seafarer" and now on Broadway in the notably sunnier current revival of "Finian's Rainbow", discusses how the Irish view that Irish-inflected musical; how he wasn't entirely unprepared to appear in a musical, even though he's done extremely few in a 50 year career (despite an early appearance as Lt. Cable in "South Pacific"); and why appearing in a Broadway musical is unlike anything he's ever done before. He also takes us through his days as a child actor on radio; his emergence in the Irish theatre community in the 1960s and his subsequent decision to move to London at the decade's end, resulting in an exile from the Irish stage that would last 18 years; his quick discovery in London by noted director Lindsay Anderson; why he worked to keep the English theatre community from thinking of him as an Irish actor; why he made his American stage debut in California; how difficult he found it to perform in "The Pillowman"; what it was like to perform in "The Weir" in a variety of countries and venues; and his extensive work with a group of major playwrights over his career, including David Storey, Alan Ayckbourn, Tom Murphy, Sebastian Barry, Frank McGuinness and most notably, Conor McPherson. Original air date - December 14, 2009.

  • Hunter Foster (#246) - December, 2009
    "Ordinary Days"' Hunter Foster talks about performing a musical in such an intimate space (Roundabout Underground's black box) and why the unusually close proximity makes the audience into the fifth character in this new work. He also talks about his discovery of musicals in high school; his steady and successful acting gigs right after high school and why despite them he chose to enroll at the University of Michigan; how he came to New York not long after graduation and almost immediately got offers for a national tour of "Cats" and "Grease" on Broadway -- managing to take them both; how much he had to learn about discipline and professionalism while touring in "Cats"; how he kept himself challenged during more than three years (on and off) with "Grease"; his retrospective admiration for the musical "Footloose" -- where he received the famed "gypsy robe" because he was the company's ensemble veteran before turning 30; his complete surprise at the success of "Urinetown", which he joined beginning with its Off-Broadway incarnation at the American Theatre of Actors, and at finding himself sharing a stage with John Cullum; how he managed to get cast in the play "The Government Inspector" at The Guthrie Theatre when he was not a member of the company and best known for musicals; and his own work as a writer of musicals and plays, including "Summer of '42" and "Bonnie and Clyde: A Folk Tale" -- and whether he ever intends to write a role for himself. Original air date - December 7, 2009.

  • Anna Deavere Smith (#245) - November, 2009
    America's leading practitioner of "documentary theatre," Anna Deavere Smith, discusses her newest work, "Let Me Down Easy", and how it developed from its original commission by the Yale Medical School, through productions at Long Wharf Theater and American Repertory Theater, to its current Off-Broadway run at Second Stage. She also talks about making a career choice between being a social activist or theatre artist while in graduate school; how she began to create her unique works under the banner of "On The Road" in the early 80s and the process she has used to develop her plays; how she came to the decision to play all the roles in her multi-character works; whether she feels other performers can or should endeavor to mimic the original voices in her plays; why after tackling the Crown Heights riots in her breakthrough work "Fires in the Mirror" she next took up a thematically similar topic in "Twilight: Los Angeles"; what her role has been as an artist within think-tanks including Harvard's Institute for Arts and Civic Dialogue and Washington DC's Center for American Progress; why she felt compelled to write the book "Letters to a Young Artist: Straight Up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts"; and the reason she considers being called a "clown" the highest form of compliment. Original air date - November 30, 2009.

  • Robert Longbottom (#244) - November, 2009
    Guest host Ted Chapin, chairman of the board of the American Theatre Wing, talks with director Robert Longbottom about his current Broadway production of "Bye Bye Birdie" at The Roundabout, including the challenge of auditioning 1400 teenagers, as well as his new revival of "Dreamgirls", which like the story itself. starts its national climb to fame at New York's Apollo Theater, but only after a truly out of town tryout in South Korea. Longbottom also talks about how he managed to get his Equity card at age 10, despite being raised in Maine; his years as a dancer in Broadway ensembles and national tours; developing the piece that ultimately became "Pageant" while on tour with "42nd Street"; the joy of both workshopping and rehearsing "Side Show" directly on Broadway stages, as opposed to rehearsal rooms; his work on plays including "Hay Fever" and "Mr. Roberts" (asking when first approached about the latter, "Who wrote music for it?"); and why he thinks the "revisal" of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Flower Drum Song" was such a success in Los Angeles but didn't work as well in New York. Original air date - November 23, 2009.

  • Jayne Houdyshell (#243) - November, 2009
    "Bye Bye Birdie"'s domineering mom, Jayne Houdyshell, talks about finding the good in meddling Mae Peterson, who she calls "Archie Bunker in a mink coat" and whether she'd ever appeared in "Birdie" previously during her career, which has spanned some 300 shows (though only 15 in New York). She also describes growing up as a child on a Kansas farm; her first stage appearance as the mother in "Enter Laughing" (at age 14); finding her way to a conservatory in Detroit staffed largely by English acting teachers; starting her career by moving to Iowa where she was part of literally building the Old Creamery Theatre; her move to New York -- which precipitated a 20 year career working in regional theatres across the country, despite having no agent or manager; her sudden discovery by the New York theatre community in Lisa Kron's "Well"; how her appearance in "Hello Dolly" in the early 80s led to her appearance as Madame Morrible in "Wicked" on Broadway, what she thought when director Leigh Silverman asked her to play a child in "Coraline", and why she'd like to sing more on stage -- but we shouldn't be looking for her cabaret act anytime soon. Original air date - November 16, 2009.

  • Rosemary Harris (#242) - November, 2009
    "The Royal Family"'s own theatre royalty Rosemary Harris talks about her current role as Fanny Cavendish at Manhattan Theatre Club and her 1975 performance as Julie Cavendish with such costars as Sam Levene and Eva Le Gallienne (including what she's stolen from "Miss Le G"). She also takes us back to her childhood role as "The Queen" in a play written and staged by her older sister; her discovery by Moss Hart and her Broadway debut in an unsuccessful show that he both wrote and directed; her illustrious directors and leading men, including Laurence Olivier (who personally demonstrated how she was to play Ophelia's mad scene), John Gielgud (who fired her at one point), Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole, among many others; whether she agrees with the generality that she plays English roles in America and American roles in England; her participation in the founding of such influential theatre companies as the APA (later the APA-Phoenix), the Chichester Festival and the Royal National Theatre, and why she feels the disappearance of the company structure is such a loss for actors today. Original air date - November 9, 2009.

  • Tracy Letts (#241) - November, 2009
    "Superior Donuts" and "August: Osage County" playwright Tracy Letts. talks about writing "Donuts" as his first "Chicago" play in homage to his adopted home city. He also discusses his childhood with his mother and father, college professors who would forge second careers as novelist and actor respectively; his own dual career as actor and playwright and why he won't appear in one of his own plays; the impact of joining Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Company; how his early plays "Killer Joe" and "Bug", and their reception in England, included him in part of a mini-movement that included Mark Ravenhill and Sarah Kane; what he thinks of the film version of "Bug"; how much of "August: Osage County" is based on his family's own history; why he creates characters who have difficulty articulating their thoughts and feelings -- including the hyper-articulate ones; and whether after the avalanche of publicity in the wake of "August"'s international success, he thinks he has anything left to say. Original air date - November 2, 2009.

  • Anne Bogart (#240) - October, 2009
    Director Anne Bogart discusses the formation of her SITI Company and why, after 16 years of existence, they're only now staging their first New York season at Dance Theatre Workshop. She also talks about her family's heritage in the Navy and how theatre played a role in her life as she moved from school to school (including two years in Japan), and why theatre and the Navy are alike; her "All About Eve"-like assumption of the direction of her first show, while in high school in Rhode Island; the profound effect of seeing "Macbeth" at Trinity Rep; her journey through four colleges over five years on her way to a degree; her early work in New York, including sit-specific theatre on a shoestring; her time running the Experimental Theatre Wing at NYU, including her acclaimed production of "South Pacific" set in a veterans' mental institution; her "great and horrible" year as artistic director of Trinity Rep; how the SITI Company married the teachings of Tadashi Suzuki and the "Viewpoints" system of performance; and why she sees Violence, Terror, and Eroticism as central to the task of directing. Original air date - October 26, 2009.

  • Emanuel Azenberg (#239) - October, 2009
    Producer Emanuel Azenberg talks about the upcoming repertory production of "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "Broadway Bound", including the choice of David Cromer as director, whether the plays are being revised for the tandem run, and why he thinks they'll make audiences think of these plays -- and Neil Simon himself -- in a whole new way. He also discusses how he began his career as part of a group of softball and poker playing buddies that included Robert Redford, James and William Goldman, and on occasion Carl Reiner; how he came to be Neil Simon's exclusive producer on every play since 1972's "The Sunshine Boys"; how he's handled the challenge of dealing with shows that haven't succeeded, including "Fools", "Division Street" and "Einstein and the Polar Bear"; why he has dared to produce the supposedly cursed "Scottish Play" on Broadway not just once, but twice; what he sought to impart to his students at Yale and later Duke University about theatre over some 25 years and how he feels that students have changed over that time; shows he's done for love and shows he's done for money; what has drawn him to be involved in the upcoming revival of "Ragtime"; and why he thinks the much-admired "Side Show" didn't succeed on Broadway, and possibly never will. Original air date - October 19, 2009.

  • Charlayne Woodard (#238) - October, 2009
    Actress Charlayne Woodard (who declines to call herself a playwright) talks about the creation of her one-actor shows "Pretty Fire", "Neat", "In Real Life" and her newest, "The Night Watcher", currently in performance at Primary Stages in New York. And while she has chronicled segments of her life in plays, she further illuminates her career, discussing her leap from the church choir to performing theatrical works; her move to New York after college and the remarkable ease with which she got cast in the Broadway musical "Ain't Misbehavin'"--only to find she needed to develop a true work ethic to retain her role; her struggle to be thought of as something more than just a musical performer and the opportunities she was given by Joseph Papp and later George C. Wolfe at The Public Theater; how as a writer she interacts with other playwrights, such as Suzan-Lori Parks, when performing in their works; her efforts to master a South African dialect sufficiently to please playwright and director Athol Fugard; and whether she has ever seen anyone else perform in one of her own solo works. Original air date - October 12, 2009.

  • Daryl Roth (#237) - October, 2009
    Producer Daryl Roth, talks about her current and upcoming projects, including the Off-Broadway plays "Vigil", "The Temperamentals" and "Love, Loss and What I Wore". She also discusses how she plunged into producing with Maltby and Shire's "Closer Than Ever", after having been solely a member of the audience up to that point; her ongoing partnership with producer Elizabeth McCann on the plays of Edward Albee ("Three Tall Women", "The Goat", "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"); her relationships with a number of not-for-profit theatre companies, notably the Manhattan Theatre Club; how she finds plays and what factors into her decisions on what to produce; what it's like to be both a theatre owner and an independent producer; how she varies her role from being lead producer to being "part of the team" from project to project; the show she most wishes she'd been a part of; the impact of getting letters from members of the audience, and which show of hers generated the most mail; how "Wit" was prevented from playing on Broadway; the painful decisions that led to closing "The Mambo Kings" out-of-town; and how she feels about starting a theatrical dynasty now that her son Jordan is heading Jujamcyn Theatres. Original air date - October 5, 2009.

  • Adrian Bryan-Brown (#236) - September, 2009
    Veteran Broadway press agent Adrian Bryan-Brown ranges over his 30 year career as one of theatre's most successful "drumbeaters," from his first Broadway show, the 1979 "A Taste of Honey" through the 1985 "Big River" and 1992 "Guys and Dolls" to this season's most-discussed new musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark". He also discusses how the role of the press agent has changed as the media has evolved, how social networking has reestablished word of mouth as a key promotional tool, and why when Twittering he can be neither Perez Hilton nor Pollyanna; whether he invests emotionally in the shows he represents; what he has to say to critics after they've beaten up on one of his shows; if he's even been tempted to produce a show himself; how he works with actors facing the press and who he considers the real pros at that game; why he got a degree in zoology when he was planning to embark on a career in film -- and he reveals his special talent for making an iconic NYC-area ice cream cake character. Original air date - September 28, 2009.

  • Sergio Trujillo (#235) - September, 2009
    Choreographer Sergio Trujillo talks about the development of the new Broadway musical "Memphis" and how the dance styles he employs in it draw upon research he'd already done for several other musicals. He also talks about his childhood in Colombia and how music was part of the country's daily life; his discovery, while studying science at the University of Toronto, of his love and aptitude for dancing; his journeyman years as a Broadway dancer in shows including "Jerome Robbins' Broadway", the 1992 "Guys and Dolls" and "Fosse"; his transition into choreography at Canada's Stratford Festival and in London's West End; how he created dance moves for "Jersey Boys" when the original Four Seasons only stood and sang; why "The Mambo Kings" was vital to his career even though it was never seen in New York; his many collaborations with director Des McAnuff, including the 2009 "Guys and Dolls" -- where he took his inspiration not from Frank Loesser, but from Louis Prima; why his credit isn't "choreographer" on "Next to Normal"; his meticulous preparation, which includes already having all the choreography worked out for this spring's "The Addams Family"; and his plans for his directing debut in 2010 with "Havana", and whether he thinks that will cause him to ultimately leave choreography behind. Original air date - September 21, 2009.

  • Victoria Bailey (#234) - September, 2009
    Theatre Development Fund executive director Victoria Bailey talks about the newest icon of Broadway, the red steps of the redesigned TKTS Booth in Times Square, and talks about both how the lines at the booth have created a "town square for the casual theatregoer," as well as what TDF is doing to combat their discovery that many of the people lounging on the steps don't necessarily realize they can buy discounted theatre tickets directly below where they're seated. She talks about her own career in theatre, from her early days taking classes and performing in Washington DC and Minneapolis to her nearly two-decade long tenure at the Manhattan Theatre Club; what drew her to TDF and what she hopes the organization can focus on in the coming years; how TDF's subsidy program for theatre productions works; TDF's efforts to introduce students to theatre, with particular attention to the Open Doors program created by Wendy Wasserstein and boasting mentors including William Finn and Frank Rich; and identifies what she believes is perhaps TDF's least known but most influential program. Original air date - September 14, 2009.

  • Susan Hilferty (#233) - September, 2009
    With her Tony-winning costume designs for the hit musical "Wicked" virtually circling the globe, costume designer Susan Hilferty describes the detailed process by which the show's creative team conceived their own vision of Oz, and the level of work required to execute the show's distinctive costumes. She also talks about her initial interest in both fine art and scenic design, even as she worked in costume shops as an artisan; the lucky break that got her professional design credits while still an undergraduate; her decision to go to the Yale School of Drama after several years of working in New York and how that led to her 30-year collaboration with South African playwright Athol Fugard; her quick takes on the varying directorial styles of her most frequent collaborators, including James Lapine, Des McAnuff, Carole Rothman, Robert Woodruff and the late Garland Wright; her counsel to students, as the head of the graduate design program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts; and why she felt she was going to have to protect Frank Wedekind when she began work on the musical "Spring Awakening". Original air date - September 8, 2009.

  • Ken Davenport (#232) - August, 2009
    Multi-tasking multi-hyphenate producer (and more) Ken Davenport talks about his varied projects, from stage to computer screen. He recalls his childhood years performing in community theatre and his acting studies at NYU; how his interest in company management helped him to learn the ropes of the theatre business and gave him access to the creative talents behind major musicals including ""Ragtime and "Thoroughly Modern Millie"; the key message he got from a seminal meeting with the famed producer and director Hal Prince; the creative process behind his own shows "The Awesome 80s Prom", "Altar Boyz" and "My First Time"; his drive to blog and whether his strong opinions have ever provoked comment amongst his various collaborators; his belief in the power of social networking and viral marketing in the challenging climate facing Off-Broadway; how he came to be a producer on his first four Broadway shows, all in the past 12 months; and who he considers "The Trekkies of Broadway." Original air date - August 31, 2009.

  • Douglas Aibel (#231) - August, 2009
    Douglas Aibel, artistic director of New York's Vineyard Theatre, reflects upon the six year run and impending closing of the Broadway musical "Avenue Q", which made its Off-Broadway debut at the Vineyard and has been the company's longest-running commercial transfer -- out of a field that also includes "[title of show]", "How I Learned to Drive", "Three Tall Women", "Fully Committed", "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" and "Goblin Market", among many others. He also talks about his vision for the Vineyard and how it grew out of a 65-seat, multi-disciplinary performance space into a full-fledged theatre company; how his father's love of Broadway musicals, and incessant playing of cast albums, put him on the path towards a career in theatre; his early years doing five and six internships or part-time jobs at theatres around the city in order to break into the business and make connections; how a job in fundraising at Manhattan Theatre Club led him to work in film; how his dual career as theatrical artistic director and noted film casting director inform each other; and why he believe that people in theatrical chat rooms should be required to use their real names. Original air date - August 24, 2009.

  • Allison Janney (#230) - August, 2009
    "9 to 5" star Allison Janney talks about her transformation into a musical comedy performer, and why the dancing didn't worry her but the singing did. She also discusses her theatrical education at Kenyon College, the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts; what it was like to be directed in her very first college show by Paul Newman and her subsequent tutelage under mentor Joanne Woodward; her challenge in finding an agent; what an aptitude test said she was most suited for professionally; how the movie "Hoosiers" helped her conquer her fear of making her Broadway debut opposite Frank Langella in "Present Laughter"; why she's not a Shakespeare aficionado in general and why we'll never again see her performing in Central Park, where she starred in "The Taming of the Shrew"; how "The West Wing"'s "walk and talk" sequences reminded her of theatre; and "the truth" about how she scarred Anthony LaPaglia for life when they appeared on Broadway in "A View from the Bridge". Original air date - August 17, 2009.

  • Brian d'Arcy James (#229) - August, 2009
    "Shrek"'s big green hero, Brian d'Arcy James, talks about the opportunities and limitations of creating the title character in the Broadway musical drawn from the first of the blockbuster animated films. He also discusses his journey from Michigan to the New York stage and the two dominant strains on his resume - serious Irish plays (including "Public Enemy", "The Good Thief", "Port Authority" and "The Lieutenant of Inishmore") and serious new musicals ("Floyd Collins", "Titanic", Lippa's "The Wild Party", "Sweet Smell of Success" and the Off-Broadway production of "Next to Normal"). Along the way, he also touches upon his roles in the original Broadway production of "Blood Brothers", the directorial expertise of Nicholas Hytner and Tina Landau, the experience of replacing Norbert Leo Butz in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" -- and explains his familial bond to TV's most famous dolphin, "Flipper". Original air date - August 10, 2009.

  • Gregory Jbara (#228) - August, 2009
    Gregory Jbara traces his stage career from his first grade appearance as the title role in "Frosty the Snowman" all the way to his Tony Award-winning turn in the current Broadway musical "Billy Elliot". Along the way, he discusses a college career that began at the University of Michigan and wrapped up at the Juilliard School; his first significant role as The Monster in the campy "Have I Got a Girl For You (The Frankenstein Musical)"; chronicles the sudden acclaim (off-Broadway) and quick demise (on Broadway) of Caryl Churchill's "Serious Money"; his various appearances in "Forever Plaid" around the country -- and how he made more doing it in Washington DC than the original cast made in the New York company; what it was like to work with show business icons like Jerry Lewis (in "Damn Yankees") and Julie Andrews (in "Victor/Victoria"); how his role of André, and the songs, in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" were shaped as the show was being developed; and what's its like to play opposite a different actor as Billy every single night in "Billy Elliot" -- often not knowing who he'll be on with until moments before the curtain rises. Original air date - August 3, 2009.

  • SDCF Masters of the Stage also available - November, 2008
    If you enjoy Downstage Center you might be interested in our new program, SDCF Masters of the Stage.

  • Jan Maxwell (#227) - November, 2008
    Two-time Tony nominee Jan Maxwell talks about whether she's been influenced by Carole Lombard and Anne Bancroft, her film predecessors as the leading ladies of "To Be or Not To Be", as well as the difficulty of working in a new play when the author was on the other side of the ocean. She also relates a tale of how she managed her first visit to New York under the guise of a youth mission trip; her multiple experiences coming into shows with relatively little preparation, including "A Doll's House" and "The Dinner Party", and Neil Simon's withering assessment of her work at an early preview of the latter; literally getting lost backstage at City Center while running between the theatre's for Alan Ayckbourn's "House and Garden"; why she thinks she's being typecast as a child tormentor in such shows as "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Coram Boy"; her deep affinity for the work of playwright Howard Barker, and why we shouldn't expect to see her collaborating with her brother, noted downtown theatre artist Richard Maxwell, anytime soon. Original air date - November 7, 2008.

  • Tom Viertel (#226) - October, 2008
    Prolific producer Tom Viertel, who with his partners Richard Frankel, Steve Baruch and Marc Routh have been responsible for such shows as "The Producers", "Hairspray", and the John Doyle-directed "Company" and "Sweeney Todd", talks abut producing on Broadway and the pending closing of the long-running "Hairspray". He relates his own theatrical heritage -- his grandfather was a contractor who built the Mark Hellinger Theatre, among many others, and his father was a playwright -- and how he began his own theatrical career as a hobby while working at the family real estate concern. Among the shows he discusses are his first theatrical foray with two magicians he first saw in a 50 seat theatre in Los Angeles -- Penn and Teller; the extraordinary auditions of two now well-known actresses, Donna Murphy and Laura Benanti, for "Song of Singapore" and "The Sound of Music" respectively; the counterintuitive decisions that led him to produce Theatre de Complicite's "Mnemonic" as a commercial production and to revive "Gypsy" with Patti LuPone on Broadway only five years after the prior production; the travails of producing "Smokey Joe's Cafe"; and why in his spare time he's so committed to his volunteer role as chairman of Connecticut's Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Original air date - October 31, 2008.

  • James Naughton (#225) - October, 2008
    Two-time Tony Award-winner James Naughton explains why he's at home in the Irish Repertory Theatre's "The Master Builder" and why it's his three Broadway musical appearances which are really the anomalies in his long stage career. He also shares how a casual college audition launched him into acting; discusses his artistic homes at both Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Westport Country Playhouse; marvels at the good fortune of his early connection to composer Cy Coleman, first with "I Love My Wife" and later on "City of Angels"; recalls the excitement of being on stage with Elaine May as she improvised her way through Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"; relates a funny incident involving President Clinton and the chorus girls of "Chicago"; and confides why his next Broadway musical role should turn up very soon. Original air date - October 24, 2008.

  • Lanford Wilson (#224) - October, 2008
    Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson discusses the creation of his famed "Talley trilogy," including "Fifth of July", which stemmed in part from his equating an Eskimo folk tale with the war in Vietnam, and "Talley's Folly", now in revival at the McCarter Theatre, and how it grew out of an acting suggestion made to one of the original cast members of "Fifth of July". He also talks about his original aspirations of being an artist, with writing being simply something to fall back on; his move from Chicago to New York and his introduction to Off-Broadway's famed Cafe Cino in the mid-60s; the genesis of his landmark plays "Balm in Gilead" and "The Hot l Baltimore"; how he came to write "Burn This" to break away from his growing reputation as a "suburban" playwright and as the antithesis of "Talley's Folly"; and whether we'll be seeing new plays from him any time soon. Original air date - October 17, 2008.

  • Gregg Edelman (#223) - October, 2008
    Multiple Tony nominee Gregg Edelman describes about the creation of the new Broadway musical "A Tale of Two Cities", including a song that was cut and that he misses terribly, and explains to Dickens purists where the musical's plot diverges a bit from the novel. He also talks about his college years at Northwestern University, where his connection to theatre began not as an actor but as a songwriter, and how an excuse for skipping classes landed him in Chicago company of "Evita"; the challenges of appearing in revivals -- as he did in the 1987 "Cabaret" and the 1984 "Oliver!" -- where the goal seems to be recreating the original hit production, as opposed revivals open to new interpretations, such as "Wonderful Town" and "Into The Woods"; the thrill of creating roles in the original "City of Angels" and "Passion"; and how he tackled the role of Rutledge in the 1997 revival of "1776". Original air date - October 10, 2008.

  • Lynne Meadow (#222) - October, 2008
    Just after returning from a year-long sabbatical, Manhattan Theatre Club artistic director Lynne Meadow talks about what she did and didn't do during her hiatus and explains how she shared planning for last season and the coming year with interim artistic director Daniel Sullivan. She also recalls her childhood as a stage struck youth in New Haven, including her performance in a new Maltby & Shire musical when she was only 12 years old; her struggle to be accepted into the directing program at the Yale School of Drama; her first experience at the Manhattan Theatre Club and how she came to be named its artistic director; the play she couldn't get the rights to until Joseph Papp agreed to co-produce with MTC; the impact of MTC's successive venues (East 73rd Street, City Center and Broadway's Friedman Theatre) on the company's repertoire; and the company's long history with playwright Terrence McNally and the controversy that surrounded the late 90s production of "Corpus Christi". Original air date - October 3, 2008.

  • B.D. Wong (#221) - September, 2008
    Tony-winner B.D. Wong talks about his ongoing fascination with the 11-character, one-actor musical "Herringbone", from seeing the original production in 1981 through appearing in it for the third time, currently at New Jersey's McCarter Theater Center. He also recalls his earliest appearances on stage in high school musicals in San Francisco; his brief matriculation in college and how he forged a career without standard academic credentials; the personal and professional impact of landing the role of Song Liling in David Henry Hwang's "M. Butterfly" -- including how that famous story of identity led him to drop his own first name in favor of his initials and the problems it created when he sought subsequent roles; the travails of being brought in to play a role based on himself in Hwang's troubled "Face Value" -- and how he felt about being portrayed in the more recent "Yellowface"; the joy of being part of the ensemble of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown"; and his youthful connection to "Pacific Overtures", and how it came full circle when he appeared in the Broadway revival. Original air date - September 26, 2008.

  • Bernard Telsey (#220) - September, 2008
    Prolific Broadway casting director (and recent reality TV judge) Bernard Telsey discusses his parallel careers as the head of Telsey + Company and the artistic director of Off-Broadway's MCC Theater. He shares some tidbits about his own training as an actor, his few acting gigs (including understudying Matthew Broderick) and how that training effects his casting work; the impetus behind MCC Theater and what his plans are for the company; what he thinks of casting theatre by reality TV in general and the "Legally Blonde" program in particular; and he talks about the varied challenges of casting, with particular focus on the actor-musicians of both the John Doyle-directed "Company" and the original cast and many companies of "Rent" over its 12 year run, as well as the distinctive characters of "Wicked". Original air date - September 19, 2008.

  • Estelle Parsons (#219) - September, 2008
    Oscar-winner Estelle Parsons talks about taking on the role of the pill-popping Violet Weston in Broadway's "August: Osage County", noting that she's played many drinkers in her career but this is her first drug addict, and also describes the incredible challenge of joining members of the original cast in the midst of the run. She also recounts her earliest days in theatre and her original dreams of musical stardom, why she has directed but doesn't like directing, how she came to play her signature role in "Miss Margarida's Way", her experience creating the title role in Tennessee Williams' "The Seven Descents of Myrtle", her work with the famed Actor's Studio, and the job -- not on stage -- that first got her noticed when she came to New York in the early 50s. Original air date - September 12, 2008.

  • Diane Paulus (#218) - September, 2008
    Diane Paulus, director of the acclaimed 40th anniversary revival of the musical "Hair" in Central Park, talks about her long-standing love of the musical -- despite the fact that she'd never actually seen it -- and how she indoctrinated her youthful cast with the spirit of the 60s. Paulus also discusses her development as a theatre artist, from her collegiate days at Harvard to staging a show in a New York City community garden to her sojourn in Wisconsin to her return to New York for graduate school at Columbia; how she created "The Donkey Show" and why she often turns to Shakespeare for source material for her work; what she knew of Laura Nyro before directing "Eli's Coming"; and her plans for her new role as the artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre Cambridge. Original air date - September 5, 2008.

  • Michael Berresse (#217) - August, 2008
    Michael Berresse, director of the musical "[title of show]", talks about the show's journey from speed-writing exercise to Broadway hit and whether the self-referential story ever included the character of a director named Michael. He also talks about his evolution from gymnast to dancer to singer to actor, sharing stories about his early days performing at Disney theme parks; the notes he received from the legendary Jerome Robbins while making his Broadway debut in "Fiddler on the Roof"; the challenge of Christopher Chadman's choreography in the 1992 revival of "Guys and Dolls"; what Ann Reinking said to him about his work in the original cast of the "Chicago" revival; how he came to create his own spectacular acrobatic dance sequence for "Kiss Me Kate"; why he loved his ne'er-do-well character in "The Light in the Piazza"; and whether the actors had freedom to reinterpret their characters for the recent revival of "A Chorus Line". Original air date - August 29, 2008.

  • William Ivey Long (#216) - August, 2008
    Five time Tony-winner William Ivey Long talks about his extensive career as one of Broadway's top costume designers, from his earliest days on stage -- living in a dressing room at the Raleigh Little Theatre in North Carolina -- to his upcoming projects "9 To 5" and "Dreamgirls". Along the way, he describes how shocked he was by the first thing he saw on stage at the Yale School of Drama; how his career developed largely thanks to the support of his drama school friends; how he came up with Anita Morris' iconic body suit for "Nine" -- and how it resulted in his never working with Tommy Tune again; whether there's a difference between designing musicals and plays; how the paintings of Gauguin influenced his designs for "Guys And Dolls"; what its like to revisit the "Chicago" costumes for a variety of different actresses; and why he chooses to wear a largely unvaried "uniform" every single day. Original air date - August 22, 2008.

  • David Stone (#215) - August, 2008
    As "Wicked" approaches its fifth anniversary on Broadway, producer David Stone talks about the ever-expanding life of the international hit musical, including how the show first came into being, how the production quality is maintained across multiple companies, and whether the show has to be adjusted for local audiences when it plays in other countries. He also talks about how he came to produce his first Off-Broadway hit, "Family Secrets", and his first Broadway failure, "What's Wrong With This Picture?"; his relationship with not for profit theatres, including Barrington Stage Company and Second Stage, on "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" and "Next To Normal"; his particular pride in producing "The Vagina Monologues"; which show he produced for his mother; and why he'd rather create controversy than respond to it. Original air date - August 15, 2008.

  • Tony Meola (#214) - August, 2008
    Veteran sound designer Tony Meola talks about the many issues involved in designing such musicals as "Wicked" and "The Lion King" on Broadway and around the world, dissecting such issues as changes in technology over the course of his 30 year career, whether the theatre has lost something with the rise of the amplified voice, microphone placement at the hairline vs. the jawline, and why its hard to have two performers singing a romantic song face to face, only inches apart, on stage. He also describes his own growth as a designer, from his earliest days on the electrics crew at The Public Theater on a new show called "A Chorus Line" to his "big break" thanks to Jerry Zaks on the 1987 revival of "Anything Goes" to the nuances of sound in his design of the recent revival of "The Ritz" to what factors he uses to decide whether to sign on to design a production. Original air date - August 8, 2008.

  • John Glover (#213) - August, 2008
    Tony-winning actor John Glover talks about the revival of Christopher Durang's "The Marriage of Bette and Boo" at the Roundabout, and how he grappled with the distinctly unpleasant aspects of his character, based upon Durang's own grandfather. He also talks about why he found the prospect of teaching more daunting than acting; how he's managed to maintain a steady diet of theatre work throughout his years of television and film work; the pivotal role that director Harold Prince played early in his career; his memories of the legendary Broadway production of "Frankenstein", which closed on its opening night; how he came to the role of the Jeckyll twins in Terrence McNally's "Love! Valour! Compassion!"; his rare musical appearances in "Hans Christian Anderson" in San Francisco and "The Drowsy Chaperone" on Broadway; and why some four decades after his stage debut he decided to start taking acting lessons. Original air date - August 1, 2008.

  • Randy Graff (#212) - July, 2008
    Tony Award winning actress Randy Graff talks about her role as Meg Boyd in the current Encores! revival of "Damn Yankees", including what she learned from reading the novel on which the show is based and what she thinks of the enhanced intimacy between her character and the youthful Joe Hardy. She also talks about one of her earliest Broadway experiences, in the little-remembered flop "Sarava!"; the rehearsal process for the U.S. production of "Les Miserables", in which she was the original Fantine, as well as why she doesn't like to hear herself on the "Les Miz" cast album; how her show-stopping song in "City of Angels" came together; her experiences working with comedy legends Neil Simon and Carol Burnett on "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" and "Moon Over Buffalo"; how she felt about the change of director and choreographer midway through "High Society"; what it was like to be directed by and play opposite her close friend Lonny Price in "A Class Act"; and her special feelings for "Fiddler on the Roof". Original air date - July 25, 2008.

  • Todd Haimes (#211) - July, 2008
    25 years after coming to New York's Roundabout Theatre Company, artistic director Todd Haimes talks about the company's growth from a financially troubled Off-Broadway group into one of the country's largest not-for-profit theatres; his own transition from managing the business side to setting the artistic agenda; the relationship of the company to the world of commercial theatre, since both produce on Broadway; how he manages to attract top level artists to work at Roundabout for relatively minimal salaries; why he planned to leave the company 10 years ago -- and why he ended up staying put; and how the company expanded its repertoire from Ibsen, Shaw and Shakespeare into more modern works, musicals and even brand-new plays. Original air date - July 18, 2008.

  • Michael Yeargan (#210) - July, 2008
    "South Pacific"'s Tony Award-winning set designer Michael Yeargan discusses the visual approach taken for the first Broadway revival of this classic musical, including the negotiation behind the dramatic reveal of the show's orchestra, as well as the lessons he learned about working in the vast space of Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre on both "South Pacific" and "The Light In The Piazza". Yeargan also recalls his introduction to theatre and opera as a youth in Dallas; his studies -- and later his teachings -- at the Yale School of Drama; his early Broadway experiences with Terrence McNally's "Bad Habits" and "The Ritz"; and his sustained collaborations with directors Andrei Serban, Mark Lamos and Bartlett Sher. Original air date - July 11, 2008.

  • Michael Boyd (#209) - July, 2008
    Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Michael Boyd gives an overview of the company's work, including its acclaimed "Complete Works" Festival and the recent two-year journey of the "Histories" cycle. He also talks about his own evolution as a theatre artist, with significant stints in Moscow and Glasgow; the experience of joining the RSC as Associate Director and later rising to the artistic directorship; the work he had to do addressing the variety of troubles that surrounded the RSC as the time of his appointment; why he speaks of 'knocking Shakespeare off his pedestal'; the status of the rebuilding of the main theatre in Stratford; and what his plans are for the company in the next few years. Original air date - July 4, 2008.

  • Boyd Gaines (#208) - June, 2008
    On the eve of his fourth Tony Award win, actor Boyd Gaines talks about his busy year, including "Journey's End", "Pygmalion" and both the Encores and Broadway runs of "Gypsy". He also describes his early training and extensive work in regional theatre, both before and after his years on the sitcom "One Day at a Time"; his breakthrough role in Wendy Wasserstein's "The Heidi Chronicles"; his first Broadway musical experiences in the first Broadway revivals of "She Loves Me" and "Company"; how the dance musical "Contact" was developed; and what it was like to step into Henry Fonda's shoes in "12 Angry Men". Original air date - June 27, 2008.

  • Barbara Gaines (#207) - June, 2008
    Barbara Gaines, founder and artistic director of the newly Tony-recognized Chicago Shakespeare Theater, talks about the company's evolution from a classical acting workshop to a major institution with an impressive home on Chicago's Navy Pier. She discusses her own background, including training at Northwestern University and an acting stint in NYC, alongside her approach to classical theatre, the expanding repertoire of the company (including why their next production features Willy Wonka), the nature of the Chicago theatre community, the development of Chicago Shakespeare's international work, and her plans for the company's future -- including a 1,000 proscenium theatre to complement their current 500 seat thrust stage. Original air date - June 20, 2008.

  • Priscilla Lopez (#206) - June, 2008
    Tony-winner Priscilla Lopez talks about what drew her to the new musical "In The Heights" and talks about her patience and faith that by the time it reached Broadway, she'd have her own song in the show. She also talks about her early training, including additional details about her high school years that didn't make it into the song "Nothing" in "A Chorus Line"; both her attempted and actual Broadway debuts in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "Henry Sweet Henry"; her recollections of the workshop sessions that ultimately became "A Chorus Line"; how she came to channel Harpo Marx for the musical "A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine"; and how she came to make her Broadway dramatic debut in Nilo Cruz's "Anna in the Tropics", some 35 years after her musical debut. Original air date - June 13, 2008.

  • Harriet Harris (#205) - June, 2008
    Tony-winner Harriet Harris talks about being "the adult" in a company of kids in the Broadway musical "Cry-Baby" and reveals which of the musical numbers in the show convinced her that she needed to be in the production. She also talks about being sent to theatre school as a child in Texas to cure her shyness; her Juilliard auditions for formidable directors John Houseman and Michael Kahn; her touring years with The Acting Company; how she transitioned from classical to comic roles under the tutelage of Christopher Ashley and Paul Rudnick, who wrote her multiple characters in "Jeffrey"; her belated Broadway debut in 2000 opposite Nathan Lane in "The Man Who Came to Dinner"; branching into musicals with Broadway's "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and the Kennedy Center's "Mame"; and finding the humor in the character of Amanda in "The Glass Menagerie" at The Guthrie, as role she'd wanted to play since she was 13. Original air date - June 6, 2008.

  • Laura Benanti (#204) - May, 2008
    Broadway's newest Gypsy Rose Lee, Laura Benanti, talks about playing the title role in "Gypsy" both last summer at City Center and again this year on Broadway, including her thoughts on formidable author and director Arthur Laurents, as well as a few facts about the real Gypsy and Rose that didn't make it into the musical. Benanti also discusses her vocal training under the tutelage of her mother (who unlike Rose expressly forbid young Laura from turning pro in her youth); her big break understudying Rebecca Luker in "The Sound of Music" -- and playing a romantic role opposite someone 45 years her senior; how she handled her first professional disappointment, at the fate of the musical "Time and Again"; the serious injury -- and nasty rumors -- that plagued her during the revival of "Into the Woods" and nearly derailed her performance in "Nine"; and what it was like, after playing many period roles, for this Jersey girl to play a girl from New Jersey in "The Wedding Singer". Original air date - May 30, 2008.

  • Laura Linney (#203) - May, 2008
    Actress Laura Linney talks about returning to Broadway as the Marquise de Merteuil in the Roundabout production of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" and whether she thinks her character is truly evil. She also discusses her earliest theatrical experiences, including working on the stage crew at a summer theatre while still in her "tween" years; appearing in a play written by her father, inspired in part by their own relationship, while a student at Brown; battling back from stage fright while at the Juilliard School; her big break appearing in the original production of "Sight Unseen" in its Off-Broadway debut -- and what it was like to return to the play, in a different role -- in its Broadway debut a dozen years later; how she handles appearing in shows that -- both fairly and unfairly -- don't meet with critical and popular success; and taking on a much-read but not often-seen classic like Arthur Miller's "The Crucible". Original air date - May 23, 2008.

  • Sherie Rene Scott (#202) - May, 2008
    "The Little Mermaid"'s Sherie Rene Scott talks about creating the role of Ursula in the stage version of the beloved animated film, including what she believes the character thinks of herself. She also talks about her earliest dreams of being on stage while still a child in Kansas, her training at the Neighborhood Playhouse when she came to New York, her particular affection for Randy Newman's "Faust" and why it never made it to New York, working amidst the turmoil of the changing creative team of Disney's "Aida", how her family reacted when she got the title role in the stage version of "Debbie Does Dallas", creating the role of Christine Colgate in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and the future of her one-woman show "You May Now Worship Me". Original air date - May 16, 2008.

  • Patrick Stewart (#201) - May, 2008
    Shakespeare veteran Patrick Stewart talks about finally having the opportunity to play the title role in "Macbeth", some 50 years after he first memorized the play's great speeches, and chronicles the production's swift journey from Chichester to London to Brooklyn to Broadway. He also talks about his decades-long association with the Royal Shakespeare Company, including his appearances in multiple productions of such plays as "The Merchant of Venice", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Antony and Cleopatra" and "Titus Andronicus"; the impetus behind his one-man adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" -- including its interminable first performance; his enthusiasm for playing Prospero in "The Tempest" with an American cast in Central Park and on Broadway; the thrill of creating a role in Arthur Miller's "The Ride Down Mount Morgan"; why he's "finished" with certain roles and still hopes to play others yet again; and some of the plays he's looking forward to doing in the next few years, including a nascent project with his film nemesis Ian McKellen. Original air date - May 9, 2008.

  • Harold Prince (#200) - May, 2008
    Legendary producer and director Harold Prince surveys his career from his start in 1948 working for another legendary theatrical figure, George Abbott, to his newest project, the musical "Paradise Found", which was presented in a workshop in New York just last week. Over the course an hour, Prince talks about trends in the theatre and what has changed, both for better and worse; recalls working as a stage manager on the first show he produced, "The Pajama Game", so that he could collect a salary; describes his personal impact on the development of "West Side Story" and "Fiddler on the Roof", which he produced; reflects on his creative partnership and friendship with composer Stephen Sondheim, including how he got a handle on "Sweeney Todd"; explains his role in transforming "Evita" from a concept album to a stage musical; ponders the period in the 1980s when he had a string of commercially unsuccessful shows -- and which of those he feels is under-appreciated; marvels at the 22-year run of "The Phantom of the Opera"; and shares his thoughts about seeing revivals of musicals that he was so instrumental in creating. Original air date - May 2, 2008.

  • David Zippel (#199) - April, 2008
    Lyricist David Zippel discusses the development of "Pamela's First Musical", the challenges posed by the untimely passing of two of his collaborators on the project -- composer Cy Coleman and author Wendy Wasserstein, and the upcoming benefit performance which will mark the show's first public performance. He also talks about his earliest lyric writing efforts, including the pre-Broadway "Rotunda" and "Going Hollywood", an adaptation of "Once in a Lifetime" which is about to get a new workshop presentation 38 years after Zippel first thought to adapt it; how he came to collaborate with Coleman and Larry Gelbart on "City of Angels", before the show's acclaimed dual-story structure was even in place; what drew him to musicalize "The Goodbye Girl"; and the challenge of creating the lyrics his first through-sung musical "The Woman in White", a collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Original air date - April 25, 2008.

  • Paul Rudnick (#198) - April, 2008
    Playwright Paul Rudnick discusses his evening of one-act plays, "The New Century", currently playing at Lincoln Center Theatre, including how he came to combine characters originally written for separate plays into a single work and how he hopes they play against their stereotypes; how he announced his plans to be a playwright to his parents as a young child, before he'd even seen a play; the senior class project that he threw together at the last minute only to see it swiftly produced as a one-night-only event at Yale; the famously troubled Broadway run of "I Hate Hamlet"; the difficulty he experienced trying to get "Jeffrey", a comedy set in the era of AIDS, produced; and the story behind his longest-running character, film critic Libby Gelman-Waxner of "Premiere" magazine. Original air date - April 18, 2008.

  • James Earl Jones (#197) - April, 2008
    In a startlingly candid interview, actor James Earl Jones talks about what drew him to playing the role of Big Daddy in the current revival of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and his views on the play being performed by African-American actors. He also charts his journey from stuttering youth to acclaimed actor, including his early training (in part at the American Theatre Wing School), his appearance in the acclaimed 1960 production of Genet's "Les Blancs" with co-stars including Cicely Tyson and Maya Angelou, his years with the fledgling New York Shakespeare Festival, his landmark performances in "The Great White Hope" and "Fences", his experiences working with playwright Athol Fugard and director Lloyd Richards, and why he never wants to be anyone's mentor. Original air date - April 11, 2008.

  • Ken Billington (#196) - April, 2008
    Lighting designer Ken Billington, veteran of more than 80 Broadway productions ranging from the original "Sweeney Todd" to the current "Sunday in the Park with George", discusses the art of lighting design, including how lighting can be used to emotionally enhance the theatre experience, how he discovered his calling during a fourth grade play, what audience members might look for when assessing a lighting designer's work, the speed with which his design for "Sweeney" came together, how he collaborated with the English creative team of "Sunday", how rock and roll helped Broadway lighting, and how his career has encompassed work for performers as diverse as Liza Minnelli and Shamu the Killer Whale. Original air date - April 4, 2008.

  • David Ives (#195) - March, 2008
    Playwright David Ives talks about his many acts of "literary ventriloquism," channeling the voices of the authors of classic musicals for City Center's Encores series, including the current "Juno" and upcoming "No, No Nanette", as well as the distinctive voice of Mark Twain for the recent Broadway production of "Is He Dead?" He also describes the luck that led to his first play being produced at New York's famed Circle Repertory Company right after he graduated from college; explains why he enrolled at the Yale School of Drama only after his early successes; chronicles how his work for a theatre company that consisted of little more than a copy machine and an artistic director ultimately led to his success with "All In The Timing"; reflects on the role of pain in writing short comedies; considers whether he was typecast only as a writer of one-acts; and shares the genesis of his interest in the philosopher Spinoza, which led to his writing "New Jerusalem", seen Off-Broadway at CSC earlier this season. Original air date - March 28, 2008.

  • Leigh Silverman (#194) - March, 2008
    Director Leigh Silverman talks about the development of the Off-Broadway "Beebo Brinker Chronicles" and its transition from an Off-Off-Broadway space to a larger venue; how she juggles so many projects in a season where she has already staged "Yellowface" and "Hunting And Gathering" and is currently working on "From Up Here" at Manhattan Theatre Club and "Of Equal Measure" for the Center Theater Group in Los Angeles; the genesis of her involvement in the acclaimed play "Wit", as well as the sad circumstances that led her to direct the play's West End debut; and the impact of Lisa Kron's "Well" on her career, as it traveled from The Public Theatre to San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre then back to New York for the play's -- and her own -- Broadway debut. Original air date - March 21, 2008.

  • Michael Cumpsty (#193) - March, 2008
    "Sunday in the Park with George"'s Michael Cumpsty talks about the challenges of performing in the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical, how the script and score match the pointillism of George Seurat's paintings, and why he'd like to call in sick just one night during the show's run. He also recalls the single day in his youth when his family's theatrical heritage was fleetingly revealed to him; describes how his passion for theatre evolved from his upbringing in England and South Africa through his training in North Carolina; remembers being selected by Joseph Papp for the "Shakespeare core" at the New York Shakespeare Festival in the late 80s; shares an assessment of his own musical skills in shows including "42nd Street" and "1776"; considers his roles in the Michael Frayn dramas "Democracy" and "Copenhagen"; and chronicles his continuing work at New York's Classic Stage Company as both leading actor and director. Original air date - March 14, 2008.

  • Kathleen Chalfant (#192) - March, 2008
    Tony Award nominee Kathleen Chalfant talks about doing double duty on New York stages right now: as the mother of the title character in "Dead Man's Cell Phone" at Playwrights Horizons and as the latter of the two title characters in "Vita And Virginia" at the Zipper Factory Theater. Chalfant ranges over her extensive career, explaining why she took the role in "Cell Phone" without having even read the script and her heritage as an early staff member at Playwrights Horizons; what Harvey Fierstein taught her about "upstaging"; how "The Jack Benny Show" influenced an aspect of her performance in the landmark "Angels In America"; and how she coped with personal loss during the her acclaimed run in Margaret Edson's "Wit". Original air date - March 7, 2008.

  • Alice Ripley (#191) - February, 2008
    Alice Ripley, star of the new musical "Next To Normal" at New York's Second Stage Theatre, talks about the challenge of playing the emotionally disturbed mother of a "typical" American family and describes how the show's music drives both the character and her performance. She also talks about her parallel career as a rock singer and songwriter, her Broadway debut in "The Who's Tommy", the remarkable experience of appearing as one-half of the conjoined Hilton Sisters in "Side Show", the unique style of "James Joyce's The Dead", and the difficulty of playing a role while being doused by audience-wielded water guns in "The Rocky Horror Show". Original air date - February 29, 2008.

  • Nathan Lane (#190) - February, 2008
    Tony Award-winning actor Nathan Lane charts the course of his career, from touring New Jersey schools in the historical musical "Jerz" to starring on Broadway as the President of the United States in David Mamet's comedy "November". Along the way, he recalls losing out on the leading role in the original "Little Shop Of Horrors" and making his Broadway debut in George C. Scott's production of "Present Laughter"; discusses a few of the quirks of his next big show, the musical "Merlin"; considers his longstanding partnerships with both playwright Terrence McNally (revealing the only play that McNally specifically wrote for him) and director Jerry Zaks; chronicles his challenging and charmed experience as Max Bialystock in the musical "The Producers" on Broadway and in London; and reflects on the impact of "Butley" -- first when he saw it as a teenager, and later when he took on the title role in the play's Broadway revival. Original air date - February 22, 2008.

  • Michael Rupert (#189) - February, 2008
    "Legally Blonde"'s resident legal shark Michael Rupert talks about why his role as that musical's unsavory Professor Callahan is consistent with other roles he often plays and talks about being the senior member of a youthful company; recalls being cast at age 15 by Gower Champion in "The Happy Time" and what he learned from Robert Goulet, Charles Durning and Kander & Ebb in that production; describes working with Bob Fosse on two productions -- replacing John Rubenstein in the title role of "Pippin" (which Rupert says was Fosse's metaphor for the Manson Family) and later playing Oscar in the 1986 revival of "Sweet Charity"; reflects on the role of Marvin in the various incarnations of William Finn's "Falsettos" over more than a decade; and chronicles his parallel theatrical career as the composer of "3 Guys Naked Form The Waist Down", "Mail" and the upcoming "Streets Of America". Original air date - February 15, 2008.

  • Edward Albee (#188) - February, 2008
    Multiple Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward Albee talks about the "inadvertent festival" of his works in the New York area, explaining why he declined to allow any synopsis of "Me, Myself and I" for its production at Princeton's McCarter Theatre, whether "The American Dream" and "The Sandbox" at New York's Cherry Lane Theater will look any different than in their original productions, and why we won't see productions of "The Zoo Story" without its new first act, "Home Life". In a wide ranging conversation, he touches upon his approach to playwriting, what he looks for in students seeking to study playwriting with him, the effect of the fame that he achieved from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", the experience of being critically out of favor during the 80s and early 90s, the two-decade disparity in ages between the actors who played the leads in the original "Seascape" and those who took on those roles in the Broadway revival, why we have seen so few films based upon his plays, how he chooses when to direct one of his plays himself, and the unique quality that his two long-time producers share. Original air date - February 8, 2008.

  • Richard Easton (#187) - February, 2008
    Tony Award-winning actor Richard Easton talks about his role in David Ives' play "New Jerusalem" and why he didn't spend much time trying to parse Spinoza's philosophy in preparation for the show (and why audiences needn't either); recalls how an off-hand contest entry as a schoolboy set him off on a theatrical career; describes the very first season of Canada's famed Stratford Festival; chronicles his peripatetic journey from Canada to New York to San Diego to London and all points in between; remembers his unsatisfying years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, which nevertheless brought about his friendship with Kenneth Branagh; considers his appearances in Tom Stoppard's "The Invention of Love", "The Coast of Utopia" and "Every Good Boy Deserves Favour"; reflects on the health challenges that befell him over the past year; and offers some practical advice for actors just starting out on the stage. Original air date - February 1, 2008.

  • Tom Stoppard (#186) - January, 2008
    Multiple Tony Award-winning playwright Sir Tom Stoppard talks about his latest work to appear on Broadway, "Rock 'n' Roll", including why he feels the play's love story, not its intellectual themes, ultimately drove the shape of the story and whether there's truth to the rumor that he wanted to cut the play but was persuaded not to by director Trevor Nunn; recounts the development of his epic "The Coast Of Utopia" and the extraordinary experience of seeing the trilogy performed in Russia; considers whether there's any thematic link between "Utopia" and "Rock 'n' Roll", as bookends to the rise and fall of communism; recalls his overnight success (after seven years of writing) with "Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead"; reveals the play of his that he feels has perhaps not gotten its due before audiences; speaks out about those who claim viewers need to read up before seeing a Stoppard play; muses on the differences between theatre programs in the U.S. and Britain; and shares what rock and roll album is tops on his personal playlist right now. Original air date - January 25, 2008.

  • Frances Sternhagen (#185) - January, 2008
    Two-time Tony-winner Frances Sternhagen surveys her six-decade career in the theatre, ranging from her decision to stop teaching "dramatics" to schoolchildren to her most recent Broadway appearance in Edward Albee's "Seascape". In between she talks about her time in such illustrious theatre companies as Washington DC's Arena Stage and New York's APA; her Broadway debut in a revival of "The Skin Of Our Teeth" with Mary Martin, Helen Hayes and George Abbott; the wonderful experience of performing Chekhov by way of Neil Simon in "The Good Doctor"; her efforts to be cast in the U.S. production of "Equus" based solely on having read a review of the play's London debut; why she thinks Terrence McNally's "A Perfect Ganesh" is due for a revival; how she came to create the role of Ethel Thayer in "On Golden Pond" while she was still in her 40s; and why she works so steadily, at theatres large and small, after all these years. Original air date - January 18, 2008.

  • Norbert Leo Butz (#184) - January, 2008
    Tony Award-winner Norbert Leo Butz talks about his first reaction on being approached about appearing in a "new" Mark Twain play, "Is He Dead?", and about the construction of farce and how David Ives crafted the version of the play currently on Broadway; recalls his classical training at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival; marvels at the good fortune that landed him in the company of "Rent" only two weeks after moving to New York; considers the experience of appearing in the critically unpopular Harry Connick musical "Thou Shalt Not"; describes the feeling of playing a character in "The Last Five Years" based on composer Jason Robert Brown -- with Brown often directly behind him as he sang; recounts the loss of a song for Fiyero when "Wicked" was out of town in San Francisco and how he worked with Stephen Schwartz in choosing a replacement; and delineates the difference between performing in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" with John Lithgow and his successor, Jonathan Pryce. Original air date - January 11, 2008.

  • Tony Walton (#183) - January, 2008
    Designer turned director Tony Walton talks about his work directing the plays of George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward for New York's Irish Repertory Theatre; considers how his work as a designer influences his work as a director -- and vice versa; remembers his earliest days both at art school in England and as a fledgling designer in the U.S.; recounts anecdotes from his first major Broadway success, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", including a tension filled encounter between star Zero Mostel and show doctor Jerome Robbins; and shares stories about his work with such varied artists and collaborators as George Abbott, Bob Fosse, Boris Aronson, Stephen Sondheim, Mike Nichols -- and even Michael Jackson and Winnie-the-Pooh. Original air date - January 4, 2008.

  • John Cullum (#182) - December, 2007
    Actor John Cullum, currently appearing in the title role of Shakespeare's "Cymbeline" at Lincoln Center Theater, but better known for his musical performances, talks about his experiences in classical theatre -- from his current work with director Mark Lamos to his earliest New York auditions to being directed by John Gielgud in the Richard Burton "Hamlet"; recalls how he landed roles in such classic Broadway musicals as "Camelot", "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever", and "Shenandoah"; reflects on the much discussed quick departure of actress Madeline Kahn from the original production of "On The Twentieth Century"; and tells how he didn't understand "Urinetown" when it first came his way. Original air date - December 28, 2007.

  • Alan Menken (#181) - December, 2007
    Alan Menken, composer of both the film and Broadway musical versions of "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty And The Beast", talks about going "under the sea" with Ariel so many years after writing the score for the Disney film, reflects on the impact of puberty and The Beatles on his songwriting career, recalls his acceptance into the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop under the tutelage of the legendary Lehman Engel, describes his collaboration with lyricist, bookwriter and director Howard Ashman, recounts his parents' dismay over certain content in "Little Shop Of Horrors" -- and plays and sings bits of some of the new songs from "Mermaid" and songs that were cut from "Little Shop". Original air date - December 21, 2007.

  • Jack O'Brien (#180) - December, 2007
    Director Jack O'Brien announces his new title as Artistic Director Emeritus at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre and charts his quarter-century tenure as Artistic Director from his hiring in 1981; reveals his original plans to be a musical comedy writer and star; describes his apprenticeship as a director in the APA Repertory Company under such mentors as Ellis Rabb and John Houseman; remembers his final acting appearance -- opposite Christopher Walken -- and how that set him firmly on the directing path for good; discusses his emergence as an acclaimed director of both musical comedies (including "Hairspray" and "The Full Monty") and the plays of Tom Stoppard (including "Hapgood" and "The Coast of Utopia"); and shares the impetus behind the creation of the stage version of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas". Original air date - December 14, 2007.

  • David Henry Hwang (#179) - December, 2007
    Playwright David Henry Hwang talks about putting a version of himself -- and his father -- onstage in his new play "Yellowface" and why he doesn't want to reveal what in the play is fact and what is fiction; recalls his extraordinary leap from having his first play produced in his college dorm to having a series of plays done at The Public Theatre only a short time later; explains the origins of his award-winning Broadway hit "M. Butterfly"; reflects on his role in the controversy over the hiring of Jonathan Pryce to appear in "Miss Saigon"; shares his thoughts on the failure of his farce "Face Value"; describes his work on the musicals "Aida", "Flower Drum Song" and "Tarzan", and contemplates what he hopes to explore next on stage. Original air date - December 7, 2007.

  • André Bishop (#178) - November, 2007
    Lincoln Center Theater artistic director André Bishop talks about the selection of "Cymbeline" and "South Pacific" for the current season and the thread that unifies the work on the company's two stages; explains why its unlikely we'll see certain types of plays in their Lincoln Center complex; recalls his start in theatre and the ragtag early days of Playwrights Horizons, which he led for more than a decade; considers why he's perhaps less of a public figure than many artistic directors; and muses on why he's starting to feel like King Lear. Original air date - November 30, 2007.

  • Shuler Hensley (#177) - November, 2007
    Shuler Hensley, the creature from "Young Frankenstein", talks about the development of his character in the new Mel Brooks musical, as well as his seeming affinity for playing monsters; sings a bit from "The Phantom Of The Opera" in German, recreating the role he played in Hamburg a decade ago; recalls the experience of playing Jud Fry in "Oklahoma", contrasting the London and New York runs; describes the cast's training in simian mannerisms and theatrical flying for "Tarzan"; and draws an unexpected parallel between "The Great American Trailer Park Music" and a Jessye Norman recital. Original air date - November 23, 2007.

  • Terrence McNally (#176) - November, 2007
    Terrence McNally talks about "The Ritz" then (1975) and now (the current Roundabout revival) and reveals his own cameo performance at the show's first opening night; describes his emergence as a playwright in the Off-Off-Broadway scene of the 1960s; considers the extraordinary run of productions he had at Manhattan Theatre Club from the mid-80s to mid-90s, as well as their culmination in the controversial production of Corpus Christi; remembers his work on such musicals as "The Rink", "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and "Ragtime"; and explains the difference between writing musicals and opera, specifically his adaptation of "Dead Man Walking". Original air date - November 16, 2007.

  • Judy Kuhn (#175) - November, 2007
    Judy Kuhn reflects on returning to the cast of "Les Misérables" 20 years after appearing in the original Broadway cast and how her perspective has changed now that she's playing Fantine, the mother of her original character Cosette; recounts her Broadway debut in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood", including living through every understudy's nightmare; describes the challenges of the fabled but troubled production of "Rags"; explains how "Chess" was restructured between its London and New York debuts; and talks about her affinity for the work of songwriter Laura Nyro. Original air date - November 9, 2007.

  • Kevin Chamberlin (#174) - November, 2007
    Kevin Chamberlin talks about his role in the Roundabout Theatre revival of Terrence McNally's "The Ritz", including whether his "midwestern" looks match up to his character of Gaetano Proclo; how his seasons in the acting company at the McCarter Theatre led to his first New York gig Off-Broadway in "Smoke on the Mountain"; why the Drama Department's "As Thousands Cheer" was his happiest time in the theatre ; what his experience was creating the role of Horton in "Seussical"; how Claudia Shear created a role for him in "Dirty Blonde"; and why he's skeptical of the workshop process, following stints in William Finn's "Muscle" and Stephen Sondheim's "Wise Guys". Original air date - November 2, 2007.

  • Christopher Ashley (#173) - October, 2007
    The new artistic director of California's La Jolla Playhouse, Christopher Ashley, talks about his plans for the theatre, including whether he sees himself continuing or departing from the repertoire of his predecessor, Des McAnuff; explains how he found himself with an agent by age 22; describes his long-standing working relationships with playwrights Douglas Carter Beane and Paul Rudnick; considers the process of creating new musicals out of existing songs and how audience expectations are heightened for that music; and describes the evolution of of "Xanadu" the musical from social commentary to comic love story. Original air date - October 26, 2007.

  • F. Murray Abraham (#172) - October, 2007
    F. Murray Abraham talks about his role as a dangerous yet avid stamp collector in Theresa Rebeck's "Mauritius", a role he compares to Shakespeare's Mercutio; describes his transition from gang punk to aspiring actor in his Texas youth -- including the accent he had to lose; remembers his audition for Harold Pinter for what became his Broadway debut; clarifies his unique connection to a famous ad campaign; considers his experiences playing countless classical roles; and recalls his appearances in many early works by Terrence McNally, including creating the role of Chris in the original production of "The Ritz". Original air date - October 19, 2007.

  • Kristen Johnston (#171) - October, 2007
    Kristen Johnston talks about her nightly mantra that prepares her to go on stage in the current Atlantic Theatre Company production of Lucy Thurber's "Scarcity"; recalls her early years as drama student and how teachers tried to steer her out of the profession, as well as her joy at becoming a student at the Atlantic with teachers like William H. Macy and David Mamet; shares which of her performances she feels were not successful -- as well as the role where she thinks she finally found the ideal blend of herself and her character; and talks about her enthusiasm for teaching and why for one of her very next projects, we'll likely see her as a director. Original air date - October 12, 2007.

  • James Houghton (#170) October, 2007
    James Houghton, the founding artistic director of New York's Signature Theater Company discusses the impulse that began the acclaimed Off-Broadway theater, which each season produces the work of a single playwright, and how that mission is still being played out 17 years later, and also describes the start of his tenure as director of the Drama Division at the famed Juilliard School -- including how it feels to fill the shoes of the esteemed John Houseman, who had given Houghton one of his first acting jobs more than 20 years ago. Original air date – October 5, 2007.

  • Horton Foote (#169) September, 2007
    Playwright Horton Foote reflects on his long career, including the traveling tent shows that first inspired his love of theatre; the contrast between his Texas neighbors' responses to his winning the Oscar and the Pulitzer; Brooks Atkinson and Ben Brantley's differing opinions on "The Trip To Bountiful"; his appreciation for theatres like Signature and Primary Stages, for giving him homes for his work; the experience of returning to Broadway with "The Young Man From Atlanta" after a hiatus of forty years; and how closely his characters model on some of their real-life inspirations. Original air date – September 28, 2007.

  • Carole Shelley (#168) September, 2007
    Upon her return to the Broadway production, "Wicked"'s original Madame Morrible, Carole Shelley, talks about whether she's hissed as a villain by fans on the street; explains how a childhood incident almost kept her off the musical stage; recalls her "trifecta of success" in "The Odd Couple", appearing in the Broadway, film and TV versions; remembers an agent who wanted to steer her away from appearing in "The Elephant Man"; and reflects on her only two appearances on the English stage since she emigrated to New York over forty years ago. Original air date – September 14, 2007.

  • Kerry Butler (#167) September, 2007
    "Xanadu" star Kerry Butler talks about her childhood performances of Olivia Newton-John songs and how they've informed her Broadway role as Kira, as well as the ins and outs of roller-skating on stage; her deep affection for the musical "Blood Brothers" and her experience in the Broadway production; her separate appearances in two somewhat blood-thirsty musicals, "Bat Boy" and "Little Shop Of Horrors"; why she took the originally underdeveloped role of Penny in the original "Hairspray"; and which of her roles fans most frequently mention when she meets them at the stage door. Original air date – September 7, 2007.

  • Michele Pawk (#166) August, 2007
    Days after joining the "Hairspray" cast as Velma von Tussle, Michele Pawk talks about the experience of being "put into" a long-running show and how one finds their character in that situation; shares her journey from a "Broadway-style" revue at Disney World to her first Broadway appearance in "Mail"; describes how she turned down an offer to appear in "Crazy For You", only to get a second offer months later for a more prominent role; recalls her experiences working on the new musicals "Seussical" and "Bounce"; reveals some guidance she received from Carol Burnett while playing Burnett's mother in "Hollywood Arms", and offers a special message to those who see try-outs and early previews of new shows and write about them on the Internet. Original air date – August 31, 2007.

  • Terry Teachout (#165) August, 2007
    "Wall Street Journal" drama critic Terry Teachout talks about his theatergoing experiences over the four years he's held that position, including what he's learned and what has surprised him; reveals the results of focus group research on arts coverage at the "Journal", and how it has influenced his reviewing; explains why he is an inveterate blogger and how he compares bloggers to old media arts critics; shares the story of how he came to be commissioned by Santa Fe Opera to write the libretto for a new work to premiere in 2009 -- as well as why we won't be seeing his one playwriting effort on stage anytime soon; and declares his opinion on the role of enthusiasm in arts criticism. Original air date – August 24, 2007.

  • Anthony Rapp (#164) August, 2007
    Stage and film actor Anthony Rapp, upon his return to the long-running show "Rent", talks about working with the show's composer Jonathan Larson; the longevity and impact of "Rent"; getting his first professional audition for "Mr. Scrooge" at age 8; previewing "The Little Prince and The Aviator" on Broadway; meeting and later auditioning for director John Guare for "Six Degrees of Separation"; acting opposite Stockard Channing; how his mother was supportive, and how he'd like to work again with his brother, playwright/director Adam Rapp; playing the title role in "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" alongside Roger Bart (Snoopy) in a short 5-month Broadway run; the long process of writing his book "Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent"; and his future plans. Original air date – August 17, 2007.

  • Debra Monk (#163) August, 2007
    Actress Debra Monk talks about her six year journey through the development of the musical "Curtains", and passionately reflects on the things she learned from the legendary team of Kander and Ebb on both "Curtains" and "Steel Pier"; recalls how she came to create both "Pump Boys And Dinettes" and "Oil City Symphony", and why she worried that she'd never be seen as anything but a country singer after the success of the first show; ponders what prompted Lanford Wilson to write a role specifically for her in the drama "Redwood Curtain"; and discusses her experiences on two Sondheim shows -- the first Broadway revival of "Company" and the original Off-Broadway premiere of "Assassins". Original air date – August 10, 2007.

  • John P. Connolly (#162) August, 2007
    John P. Connolly, the new executive director of Actors Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers, talks about the challenges and concerns facing the union and its members, chronicles his own professional career as an actor and how he became increasingly involved with union activities, recounts his own transition from being the elected head of AFTRA to the number one staff position at AEA, and explains why we won't be seeing him on stage or screen anytime soon. Original air date – August 3, 2007.

  • Stephen Lang (#161) July, 2007
    Actor Stephen Lang describes his process developing the book "Beyond Glory" for the stage, why he was drawn to portray eight recipients of the Medal of Honor, and how his tribute is perceived amidst present-day war politics; considers why, with no military background of his own, many of his major roles have been playing military men of varying stripes; reviews his performances in varying roles in multiple productions of "Hamlet", and why he's learned more about the title role in the fifteen years since he's played it himself than in all the years leading up to it; and declares playwright Aaron Sorkin to be today's George Bernard Shaw. Original air date – July 27, 2007.

  • Dori Berinstein (#160) July, 2007
    Producer Dori Berinstein discusses the process behind creating the film "ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway", her unprecedented chronicle of the 2003-2004 theatrical season, including how she winnowed 250 hours of film down to less than two and why the film's narrator Alan Cumming largely ended up on the cutting room floor; talks about how she got in theatre by way of film producing, including her role as a production executive on "Dirty Dancing"; and surveys her theatrical credits from Bill Irwin and David Shiner in "Fool Moon" to her current project, "Legally Blonde". Original air date – July 20, 2007.

  • Michael Wilson (#159) July, 2007
    Director Michael Wilson discusses his work on the first Broadway revival of John Van Druten's "Old Acquaintance" at the Roundabout and why the play is so different than the Bette Davis film; describes his theatrical education while working as house manager and company manager at Cambridge's American Repertory Theatre; recalls his hiring as artistic director of the Hartford Stage Company after many years of seeing the company's productions from the audience; explains his affinity for the work of Tennessee Williams and the ongoing Williams marathon in Hartford; and describes his ongoing professional relationships with actresses Annalee Jeffries and Elizabeth Ashley and the playwright Horton Foote. Original air date – July 13, 2007.

  • Vanessa Redgrave (#158) July, 2007
    Actress Vanessa Redgrave explains why, despite the character name in the program, she's not specifically playing "Joan Didion" in Broadway's "The Year Of Magical Thinking"; explores the transformation of Wallace Shawn's "The Fever" from stage monologue to multi-character film; considers the experience of working with the many members of her acclaimed multi-generational family of actors and directors; discusses why she has tackled Shakespeare's "Antony And Cleopatra", as both actor and director in five different productions; declares that theatre should really performed outdoors in the blazing sun; and recalls childhood memories of her earliest experiences in the theatre -- as well as idyllic moments in her youth gathered with her parents and siblings around a piano singing Broadway show tunes. Original air date – July 6, 2007.