Fifteen, a photo essay

Inspired by What the Constitution Means to Me, we asked 15 photographers from around the country to photograph teenagers in their communities ranging in age from 13 to 20. Each photographer chose their own subject and submitted work reflective of their point of view. We then asked all the teens, “What do you imagine your life will be like in fifteen years?”

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An Interview with Maria Striar

The small, downtown theatre company Clubbed Thumb has become a force in new American plays. The woman behind all of this is Maria Striar, founder and Producing Artistic Director of Clubbed Thumb. Maria started the company in 1996, with the mission of doing “funny, strange, and provocative new plays by living American writers,” and has been with it ever since as it has continued to grow and evolve. We speak to Maria about the history of Clubbed Thumb, producing What the Constitution Means to Me, the company’s development programs, and more.

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Jayne Houdyshell and Elizabeth Marvel in Conversation

Jayne Houdyshell and Elizabeth Marvel are both currently starring on Broadway in a genderbending adaptation of King Lear. Elizabeth plays Lear’s eldest daughter, the conniving and ambitious Goneril, who dispenses with all pretense of love and respect for her father once she has inherited her share of the kingdom. Jayne portrays the Earl of Gloucester, who is tricked by his illegitimate son Edmund into believing that his legitimate heir, Edgar, is plotting his murder. We speak with Jayne and Elizabeth about asserting oneself in a man’s world, the nihilism of King Lear, why Shakespeare defies time, space, and gender, and more.

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An Interview with Set Designer Rachel Hauck

This season, two of the most complicated sets on Broadway were designed by Rachel Hauck. For the musical Hadestown, Hauck had the task of figuring out a design for a show that lives in metaphor. For Hadestown, Hauck earned her first Tony nomination for Best Set Design of a Musical. She also designed the set for Heidi Schreck’s Tony-nominated What the Constitution Means to Me, the most intellectually and emotionally rigorous play to be on Broadway in years. Both Hadestown and Constitution were shows where the sets could have been anything, and both had long gestation periods before getting to Broadway—and now that they’ve arrived, it makes Hauck the only female set designer in the 2018/19 season to design the sets for both a Broadway play and musical. We speak with her about how she became a set designer, designing for new work, her process for creating the sets for Hadestown and What the Constitution Means to Me, and more.

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An Interview with Lilli Cooper

Lilli Cooper made her Broadway debut as Martha in the original Broadway cast of the musical Spring Awakening, back when she was still in high school. Currently, Lilli is starring as Julie in the new musical adaptation of Tootsie, which she refers to as her “first grown up show.” It is a role for which she just received her first Tony Award nomination. We speak with Lilli about her career, what it was like growing up in a theatrical family, her thoughts on helping to create an updated version of her character in Tootsie, and more.

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Amanda Green on Kiss Me, Kate and More

For Roundabout Theatre Company’s current revival of Kiss Me, Kate, Amanda Green was brought on board to write additional material. We speak with Amanda about her journey to becoming a musical theatre writer, her experience updating the songs “I Am Ashamed That Women Are So Simple” and “I’ve Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua,” what it was like collaborating with Kelli O’Hara, and more.

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An Interview with Dramaturg Sarah Lunnie

Sarah Lunnie is a dramaturg extraordinaire, focusing on the development of brand new dramatic works. This spring, three Broadway and Off-Broadway shows Sarah has worked on all opened within a few weeks of each other: What the Constitution Means To Me (in its Tony-nominated Broadway iteration), Hillary and Clinton, and Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie. We speak with Sarah about how she approaches her dramaturgical process, her collaborations, her role in the rehearsal room, and more.

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Laurie Woolery on The Tempest and More

For the past five years, Laurie Woolery has led or helped lead The Public Theater’s Public Works program, first as Associate Director (2014-2017), and now as Director. This spring, Laurie is directing The Tempest through a different Public Theater initiative, the Mobile Unit. We speak with Laurie about Public Works and the Mobile Unit, what it was like to create a Tempest in which characters live outside of the gaze of the patriarchy, why community is her biggest collaborator, and more.

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Costume Design x3: Catherine Zuber, Emily Rebholz, and Kaye Voyce

The costume design field can vary widely in process from designing costumes that will be built from scratch to scavenging through vintage stores to find the perfect item, all while having to adapt to projects of varying budgets and scopes. It is also a field that has historically been dominated by women. This spring, Lincoln Center Theater had female costume designers in all three of their spaces: multiple Tony winner Catherine Zuber designed the costumes for My Fair Lady in the Beaumont, Emily Rebholz for Nantucket Sleigh Ride in the Newhouse, and Kaye Voyce for Marys Seacole in the Claire Tow.

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Stephanie Hsu on Be More Chill and More

Stephanie Hsu trained as an experimental theatre artist and never expected to be on Broadway. But after making her Broadway debut last year as Karen the Computer in SpongeBob SquarePants, she is now starring as Christine Canigula in Be More Chill. Stephanie has imbued the musical’s passionate, seemingly self-actualized heroine, and “totem of truth,” with her own brand of self-described weirdness. We speak with Stephanie about the similarities and differences between experimental and commercial theatre, what playing Christine has taught her, why she enjoys originating roles, and more.

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Rachel Chavkin and Anaïs Mitchell on Hadestown

Hadestown is poetry, not prose, as its creators—director Rachel Chavkin and composer Anaïs Mitchell—will tell you. The musical, which is sung through, is an interpretation and theatrical translation of the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice and Persephone and Hades. It has been many years in the making. During each iteration the creative team made major changes and kept working on shaping the delicate piece, which is now on Broadway at the Walter Kerr. We speak with Rachel and Anaïs about the development process, staging poetry, finding the specificity in myth, and more.

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Halley Feiffer is Now an Optimist, but—don’t worry—she’s still angry at the patriarchy

In Halley Feiffer’s new play The Pain of My Belligerence, the story focuses on Cat (played by Feiffer) and her desire and difficulty at figuring out how to function in a world where the rules—created by men—don’t work for her. A theme in a number of Feiffer’s plays is coercive social forces and women who both recognize them and get trapped by them. As an actress and writer, her work also tends to focus on externalizing women’s interiority. We speak with Halley about the inspiration for her new play, the line between fiction and autobiography, critical responses to her work, and more.

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Director Taylor Reynolds on Plano, Clubbed Thumb, The Movement Theatre Company, and More

Last summer, Clubbed Thumb had one of its most successful SummerWorks productions: Plano. The play, which is about three sisters and three mysterious plagues, was directed by Taylor Reynolds and is now having a return engagement beginning April 8th at the Connelly Theatre. At a moment when Clubbed Thumb is gaining a higher and higher profile, it’s also long been known as a hub for developing both writers and directors. Taylor was one of Clubbed Thumbs Directing Fellows. She’s also part of the producing artistic leadership team of The Movement Theatre Company. We speak to Taylor about her relationship with Clubbed Thumb and The Movement, developing Plano, and the life of an emerging director.

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Jennifer Ashley Tepper on Be More Chill And More

Jennifer Ashley Tepper is not even 35, but already the theatre historian and producer. Jen is currently making her debut as an above-the-title Broadway producer on the new musical Be More Chill, composed by her good friend and longtime collaborator Joe Iconis, and is already preparing to produce another musical of his, Broadway Bounty Hunter, Off-Broadway this coming summer. We speak with Jen about her collaboration with Joe Iconis and his theatrical family, how she turned her knowledge of theatre history trivia into a career asset, what it’s like to be a young female producer, and more.

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Amanda Duarte on Staying Alive (her cabaret show, but also in the metaphysical sense)

Amanda Duarte has turned elements of her life into a cabaret show, Amanda Duarte: Staying Alive at Joe’s Pub. The show chronicles her life after the end of her long term marriage, which coincided with the 2016 election and the end of democracy. We speak with Amanda about her path to writing, writing from autobiography, the idea of “the good feminist,” and more.

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Kate Baldwin on Superhero, Developing New Musicals, and More

Kate Baldwin first gained major attention for Finian’s Rainbow, which earned her first Tony Award nomination. She then went on to originate roles in Giant, Big Fish, and Songbird, and recently played Irene Molloy in the 2017 Broadway revival of Hello Dolly!, for which she received her second Tony nomination. She’s now starring as Charlotte in Superhero. We speak with Kate about research and approach to the character of Charlotte, why working on new musicals is a deep emotional investment, what ambition means to her, and more.

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Danya Taymor on the Rise

Danya Taymor is a director on the brink of firmly establishing herself as no longer emerging, but a sought after interpreter of new work. For the last few years, she’s worked consistently on a wide range of new plays that have caught audiences’ attention and produced numerous conversations among theatre-goers. We speak with her about working on “Daddy”, her directing process, the challenges of a career as a director, and more.

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Sara Mearns Dances into Musical Theatre

Sara Mearns joined the company of the New York City Ballet in 2004, having already apprenticed and studied at the School of American Ballet, and by 2008 she became a principal dancer with the venerable company. From there she quickly became known as one of their premiere and most exciting dancers with a diverse repertoire. Now she’s dipping her toes back into theatre, with the New York City Center Encores! production of I Married an Angel. We speak with her about the Encores! process, the life of a ballet dancer, and more.

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Rehana Lew Mirza on Hatef**k and More

Rehana Lew Mirza is a playwright, bookwriter, and filmmaker whose work often focuses on highlighting the South Asian experience. Her latest play Hatef**k, which was featured on the 2017 Kilroys List, is currently having its world premiere at WP Theater, co-produced by Colt Coeur. We speak with Rehana about her experience working on Hatef**k, what it’s like to develop a new play and musical simultaneously, the community-building potential of theatre, and more.

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Sofia Alvarez and Sheila Vand on Nylon, Blockchain Theater Project, and More

In the new play Nylon, written by Sofia Alvarez, Anna, a woman in her early thirties played by Sheila Vand, has to confront the choices she made in her twenties and how they reverberate into her life going forward. The play is the first from the newly formed Blockchain Theater Project, which combines theatre, tech, and an artistic directorship that rotates. We speak with Sheila and Sofia about the inspiration for Nylon, unlikable women, and how to shake up the theatre.

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A Directing Roundtable with Arpita Mukherjee, Christa Scott Reed, and Colette Robert

Out of the 21 plays currently on Broadway or are upcoming this season, only three (a dismal 14%) are directed by women. However, Off-Broadway, there is a vibrant group of emerging new directors, many of whom are women staging exciting new work. We talk with Colette Robert, Arpita Mukherjee, and Christa Scott Reed about their desires to bring diverse stories to the stage; the challenge of balancing directing with their myriad other jobs, including acting, writing, and artistic directing; the importance of building community in the rehearsal room; and more.

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Kamilah Forbes on By The Way, Meet Vera Stark and More

Kamilah Forbes is currently making her Signature Theatre debut directing a revival of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark. A theatre and television producer, as well as director, Kamilah is also in the midst of her third season as Executive Producer of the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. We speak with Kamilah about her experience working on By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, her experience as a woman in a leadership position in the entertainment industry, and more.

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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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