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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7 Women of Theatre History You Should Know: Part Five

We showcase seven more women who shaped the theatre landscape as we know it today. Some overcame gender or race discrimination but persevered at a time when the field was not welcoming. Some founded theatre companies, or created iconic design elements, or wrote pieces from a perspective not often shown on the Broadway stage. In this installment we introduce you to Alice Childress, Mary P. Burrill, Anne Caldwell, Maria Bjornson, Martha Morton, Valina Hasu Houston, and Gertrude Jeannette. 

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Heidi Schreck on What the Constitution Means to Me (meaning her, and maybe you too)

The Constitution—which is very in or very out right now depending on how you look at it—is the subject of What the Constitution Means to Me a new play written and starring Heidi Schreck. More specifically, the show examines the Fourteenth Amendment (arguably the most important amendment) and its effect on generations of women in Heidi’s family—and on herself. We speak with Heidi about developing the piece, her thoughts on theatrical autofiction, the challenges of writing about violence against women and abortion, and more.

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Emerging Writers Geraldine Inoa and Gracie Gardner in Conversation

Geraldine Inoa and Gracie Gardner have a lot in common. Both are young writers who are relatively self-trained (neither chose to pursue an MFA) and who go back and forth between the worlds of theatre and television. Both women are also the recipients of very prestigious awards, The Unsung Voices Playwriting Commission and The Relentless Award, associated with Shonda Rhimes and Phillip Seymour Hoffman respectively. Additionally, both have plays being produced in New York this month. We speak with Geraldine and Gracie about their experiences working in theatre and TV, from the realities of balancing writing with day jobs to the unspoken gendered rules on how writers are expected to present themselves.

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Head Over Heels With Bonnie Milligan

In Head over Heels, Bonnie Milligan does not portray a typical princess. Her character, Princess Pamela, is hilarious, strong-willed to the point of throwing a tantrum onstage, and unabashedly confident in who she is—at least on the outside. We speak with Bonnie to discuss her Broadway debut in Head Over Heels, her thoughts on playing Pamela, and more.

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An Interview with Young Jean Lee

Straight White Men, which marks Young Jean Lee’s Broadway debut, as well as the first time a play by an Asian woman has been produced on Broadway. Young Jean has been a staple of the downtown theatre community for years, with her own theatre company where she writes and directs. She has also, for whatever reason, been a slightly enigmatic figure. We speak with Young Jean about her process for writing Straight White Men, how she views the audience, ambition, and more.

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Meet Three Women of the Broadway League’s Diversity Initiative

In recent years, there have been some quieter initiatives to address the lack of diversity among people working behind the scenes in theatre. One such initiative is the Broadway League’s Diversity Initiative Internship program. The program places college students with internships at company and general management firms. Here, three recent participants in the program—Sophie Anicival-Wolak, Jacqueline Bell, and Joyee To—share their experiences.

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An Interview with Heidi Blickenstaff

Ten years ago, Heidi Blickenstaff was part of the beloved musical [title of show]. Now, Heidi now finds herself in another rare position: after doing the stage musical of Disney’s Freaky Friday, she was hired to reprise her role in the made-for-TV movie. We speak with Heidi about her journey with the film, being brave on camera, aging, and more.

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Melissa Errico and Charlotte Moore in Conversation

Charlotte Moore, co-founder of Irish Repertory Theatre, and Melissa Errico discuss their production of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and their experiences working together as “two strong women” in the theatre, sharing tales of triumph as well as some of the darker experiences that have informed their takes on the characters in the show and in the theatre industry at large.

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Tiler Peck is On the Move

One of the New York City Ballet’s most lauded principal dancers, Tiler Peck might be the woman to help change the classical dance– and theatre– world. She’s stepping into new leadership roles and there’s a documentary, BalletNOW, about it. We speak with her about her goals for BalletNOW, the ballet world having so many men in leadership roles, her future as a choreographer, and more.

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NYMF Spotlight 2018

It’s once again time for the New York Musical Festival. NYMF’s goal is to support the development of new and diverse works of musical theatre. We asked a mix of artists involved—from performers to directors to writers to designers—to answer some questions about their shows and what inspires them. The shows they’re a part of represent a range of styles and subject matters, and are all at different stages of development.

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An Interview with Camille A. Brown

The past nine months have been full of firsts for choreographer Camille A. Brown. She made her Broadway debut as the choreographer for Once On This Island and then, a few months later, she made her television debut as the choreographer for Jesus Christ Superstar. Her choreography can currently be seen in Atlantic Theatre Company’s production of This Ain’t No Disco. We speak with Camille about her process, reframing dance from the ‘70s, her goal of becoming a director/choreographer, and more.

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A Roundtable with Lileana Blain-Cruz and the Cast of The House That Will Not Stand

The House That Will Not Stand provides a glimpse into a brief moment in 19th century American history, when wealthy women of color had land and power of their own. We speak with director Lileana Blain-Cruz, assistant director Machel Ross, actors Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Juliana Canfield, Harriett D. Foy, Lynda Gravatt, Nedra McClyde, Marie Thomas, and Michelle Wilson about their rehearsal process, what it means to be a “powerful woman,” and more.

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Rinne Groff and Marissa Wolf on Fire in Dreamland

This summer, Rinne Groff’s latest play, Fire in Dreamland, directed by Marissa Wolf, is making its New York debut at The Public Theater. Set in the days immediately following Hurricane Sandy, Fire in Dreamland is a memory play that experiments with, and at times even subverts, the audience’s expectations of a traditional romantic comedy narrative. We speak with Rinne and Marissa about the journey and process of developing Fire in Dreamland, how art can be used to help dismantle social injustice, and more.

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An Interview with Dina Janis of Dorset Theatre Festival

Southern Vermont is currently experiencing a theatrical renaissance, helmed by Dorset Theatre Festival’s Dina Janis. Since becoming Dorset’s Artistic Director eight years ago, Dina has revitalized the community by shifting her theatre company’s focus towards nurturing and highlighting new playwrights, especially female playwrights. We speak with Dina about her goals as an artistic director, why she thinks there is currently a window of opportunity for female directors at regional theatres, and more.

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An Interview with Lena Hall

Lena Hall has optimized her rocker brand and built up a large fan base on social media. The 2014 Tony winner is in the midst of rolling out her monthly Obsessed series, a year-long compilation of EPs and music videos starring and co-produced by Lena herself. We speak with Lena about her experience working on the Obsessed series, the importance of mentorship, why failure is not a bad word, and more.

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Julia Coffey and Liz Wisan on Performing Shakespeare in 2018

Julia Coffey and Liz Wisan are no strangers to Shakespeare. They are currently at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, where Julia is playing the title role in a gender-bending production of Richard II, and Liz is playing the lead role of Katherine in a production of The Taming of the Shrew that seeks to highlight themes of negotiation and companionship instead of inequity or abuse. We speak with Julia and Liz about what it’s like to perform Shakespeare in the context of the #MeToo movement, why they think Queen Elizabeth I may have influenced Shakespeare’s proto-feminism, and how much (or how little) has changed for women in the past four hundred years.

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