Lear deBessonet, of Great Faith

When Lear deBessonet was ten years old, she made the decision to live for God. Now deBessonet is responsible for some of the largest and most inclusive theatre productions in NYC. On the horizon are big projects, including some that just might reshape theatre in America. Her faith has evolved, but it’s still a driving force behind her work. We take a look at Lear deBessonet’s faith and what it means to really, really believe.

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The One With Hurricane Diane

We speak with members of the cast and creative team of Hurricane Diane, the new play by Pulitzer finalist Madeleine George and directed by Leigh Silverman. With a nod to Greek drama, Hurricane Diane addresses the questions of how a person should exist in relation to society and fate, plopping the God Dionysus, disguised as a permaculture gardener named Diane, down among a group of suburban New Jersey Housewives. The play explores our individual and collective conscience on climate change

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Shariffa Ali and Victoria Clark on Directing and Strindberg

Mies Julie, an adaptation of Miss Julie by Yaël Farber set in post-Apartheid South Africa, and The Dance of Death, adapted by Conor McPherson, are currently being presented at Classic Stage Company. The plays are being directed by Shariffa Ali and Victoria Clark, respectively, in a first for CSC: having work in repertory, and having work on their mainstage that is decisively from a female point of view. We speak with Shariffa and Victoria about their visions for doing Strindberg in 2019, working in repertory, the pressure on female directors, and more.

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Beth Leavel on The Prom and More

In the new musical The Prom, Tony winner Beth Leavel plays the character of a Tony winning Broadway actress. This is not the first time that Beth has portrayed a satirical theatre diva; her twelve Broadway credits include a career-defining performance originating the title character in The Drowsy Chaperone. We speak with Beth about the experience of playing her own narcissistic “evil twin” in The Prom, how she approaches comedy, her thoughts on celebrity activism, and more.

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Christine Lahti, Emily Mann, Diane Paulus, and Daryl Roth on Gloria: A Life

The new play Gloria: A Life depicts Gloria Steinem looking back on her remarkable life and all of the women who shaped it. The show is written by Emily Mann, directed by Diane Paulus, and produced by Daryl Roth. Along with Christine Lahti as Gloria, there is an all-female cast—and creative, design, and management teams. We speak with Christine, Emily, Diane, and Daryl about bringing the life of Gloria Steinem to the stage, where their own lives parallel the story, being women in the public eye, hiring women, and more.

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Wild Goose Dreams with Hansol Jung

In playwright Hansol Jung’s world of glorious magical realism, the Internet is portrayed by people singing in binary code and fathers turning into penguins who have lost their wings. Those are only two of the many-layered metaphorical components that make up her new show, Wild Goose Dreams, currently playing at The Public Theater. We speak with Hansol about the thematic importance of communication, the inherent musicality of her plays, metaphors on stage, and more.

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Usual Girls: An Interview with Ming Peiffer and Tyne Rafaeli

Usual Girls by Ming Peiffer and directed by Tyne Rafaeli centers around Kyeoung, a young Asian-American woman coming of age in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and the messy, sometimes dangerous, sometimes exhilarating ways that sex and friendship and personhood meld and to form the moments that define us. It’s the first show in Roundabout Underground history to sell out both its initial run and extension before it had even opened. We speak with Ming and Tyne about developing the play, the experiences that are carried into adulthood, putting female sexuality on stage, and more.

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Natural Shocks: An Interview with Lauren Gunderson, May Adrales and Pascale Armand

Lauren Gunderson is one of the most produced playwrights in America, but her plays have almost entirely been produced outside of NYC. Presented this fall at The Women’s Project, in a production directed by May Adrales, Natural Shocks stars Tony Award nominee Pascale Armand. We speak with Lauren, May, and Pascale about the challenges of working on a one-woman show, how comedy can foster empathy, the community-building aspect of theatre, and more.

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Caitlin Kinnunen on The Prom and More

In the new musical, The Prom, Caitlin Kinnunen plays a teenager who just wants to take her girlfriend to the high school prom. It’s Caitlin’s first lead role in a Broadway musical. She’s been with The Prom from its early workshops, to the out-of-town production, and now Broadway. We speak with her about working on a timely musical, the responsibility of playing Emma, the pressure of Broadway, and more.

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Miranda Rose Hall and Margot Bordelon on Plot Points in Our Sexual Development

Playwright Miranda Rose Hall and director Margot Bordelon to discuss their latest work, “Plot Points in Our Sexual Development” at LCT3. The show, which is described by LCT as “a contemporary queer love story” explores the intricate rapport between a Cecily, a cisgender lesbian and Theo, who is genderqueer. They discuss what it was like to write and stage a play that addresses very personal, vulnerable subject matter, and more.

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Larissa FastHorse on The Thanksgiving Play and More

The Thanksgiving Play, currently in previews at Playwrights Horizons, marks the New York debut of Larissa FastHorse and is believed to be the first time a play by a Native American has been produced at a major Off-Broadway theatre. We speak with Larissa about the inspiration for the play, satire in the American theatre dealing with race, the pressure of her New York debut, and more.

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A Roundtable with Laurie Woolery and the Women of El Huracán

In Charise Castro Smith’s new play El Huracán, hurricanes both literal and figurative bear down on four generations of women as they confront their history, what they’ve lost, and what they’ve found. We speak with director Laurie Woolery and actors Irene Sofia Lucio, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Jennifer Paredes, and Adriana Sevahn Nichols about creating a different way of working, making room for inherited memory and instinct, performing a show about women in our current cultural climate, and more.

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A Midautumn Night’s Dream with Jenny Koons

Jenny Koons is not interested in playing by the rules of traditional theatre. Her productions are rooted in activism and community, like her A Midsummer Night’s Dream for The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit, in which the classic Shakespeare play is reimagined within the world of a New York City block party. We speak to Jenny about what it’s like to direct for the Mobile Unit, the reason that Midsummer is a perfect New York play, why she is interested in work that asks questions, and more.

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Mental Health and Working in Theatre: a Roundtable Discussion

A life in the theatre has unique challenges for people dealing with mental health conditions including instability, rejection, lack of financial resources, intense emotion, and more. We gathered Halley Feiffer, Lora Lee Gayer, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Alexandra Socha, and Lauren Villegas to have a conversation about the intersection of mental health and theatre.

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Days of Awe: Leigh Silverman and Broadway’s First All-Female Design Team, a photo essay

Director Leigh Silverman put together Broadway’s first all-female design team. Photographer Tess Mayer spent two afternoons with them at tech documenting these individuals in a room together doing their jobs at the pinnacle of American theatre. It is part of keeping an accurate record of what happened on Broadway in the fall of 2018, who made it happen, and of their work. 

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Lila Neugebauer on Broadway

For the last few years, there has been increasing interest around director Lila Neugebauer, with many theatre-watchers wondering when she’d make her Broadway debut. Well, now she is, with The Waverly Gallery. We speak with her about directing a naturalistic, contemporary but not contemporary-contemporary play; becoming one of the youngest women to direct on Broadway; her career path; and more.

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