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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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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The Prophet Arrived: Heidi Schreck

Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me is an extraordinary, singular work of genius. It’s electrified the New York theatre, and speaks to the past, present, and future all at once. Heidi Schreck is The Interval’s first-ever Person of the Year. We speak with her, for the second time, about writing and performing What the Constitution Means to Me.

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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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