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Backstage Babble

Arts & Culture Podcasts

A new podcast interviewing professionals in the theater industry about themselves, their careers, and the people they’ve worked with along the way.

Location:

United States

Description:

A new podcast interviewing professionals in the theater industry about themselves, their careers, and the people they’ve worked with along the way.

Language:

English


Episodes

Celia Keenan-Bolger

4/12/2024
Today, I’m thrilled to announce the release of my episode with Tony winning actress Celia Keenan- Bolger, who is currently starring in Mother Play at the Helen Hayes Theater. Tune in to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including what it was like working with Sondheim on her first major job, her long journey with THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, how she got William FInn to write a song for her, how she made the transition between performing in musicals and plays, balancing being a mother with being an actress, what she learned from working with Bartlett Sher and his wife, the role she always wanted to play, the ins and outs of being nominated for a Tony, having Paula Vogel write a play for her, how THE GLASS MENAGERIE overcame her initial skepticism, the joy of performing in PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this conversation with one of theater’s brightest lights.

Duration:01:39:37

Sara Gettelfinger

4/6/2024
Today, I’m thrilled to announce my interview with Sara Gettelfinger, who is currently returning to Broadway after a 10-year hiatus to star as Barbara in Water for Elephants. Tune in today to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including how her persistence got her into CCM, why Michele Pawk was an early hero of hers, rehearsing with Gwen Verdon, a special audition for Jack O’Brien, working with Jerry Zaks on The Addams Family, the shows she’d like to see done at Encores!, the importance of Rick Elice’s work in her return to acting, the thrills and challenges of working with George C. Wolfe, how she created the character of Little Edie Beale, the process of being let go from Grey Gardens, and so much more. She also shares the moving and inspiring details of her hard-won journey back to Broadway. You won’t want to miss this intimate conversation with one of Broadway’s best.

Duration:01:46:50

Rick Elice

3/28/2024
I’m thrilled to announce the release of my episode with Tony-nominated librettist Rick Elice, whose musical Water for Elephants is currently playing at Broadway’s Imperial Theater. Tune in to find out about all the facets of his varied career, which he describes as being a “pinball in a pinball machine,” including how a forbidden experience with Follies got him hooked on theater, late-night calls from Elaine May, how Annie led to being hired by Serino-Coyne, crashing a lunch with Stanley Donen, when Cher quoted “Hello, Dolly!” to him, what intrigued him about the Smash musical, the trick he used for marketing The Lion King, the advice he got from Neil Simon and Mike Nichols, why Tom Stoppard is responsible for his career as a playwright, and more. He also shares a beautiful tribute to the late, great Chita Rivera, who worked with Rick’s husband Roger Rees on their mutual last project, The Visit. You won’t want to miss this episode!

Duration:01:52:46

Doug Hughes

3/15/2024
Today, I’m honored to announce my interview with Tony winning director Doug Hughes. Tune in to hear some of the stories of his legendary career, including the simple mantra that dictates what kind of work he wants to direct, a very important review he received early in his career, creating tension in DOUBT, what he loves about directing Shaw plays, the anxiety of the rehearsal process for OLEANNA, why he prefers intimate rehearsal spaces, transferring FROZEN to Broadway, the unique talent of Cherry Jones, what appealed to him about directing Ayad Akhtar’s JUNK, why ELLING couldn’t succeed on Broadway, the opportunities Lynne Meadow gave him, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this conversation with one of Broadway’s best directors.

Duration:01:27:30

Maryann Plunkett

3/1/2024
Today, I’m so excited to announce my episode with Maryann Plunkett, who is currently starring as Older Allie in Broadway’s The Notebook. Tune in to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including the significance of the first line she said on a Broadway stage, performing on the night of the 2016 election, her numerous costars in Sunday in the Park with George, the power of Me and My Girl, how she met her husband Jay O. Sanders and the play she’d love to do with him, the joy of performing in rep at National Actors’ Theater, how acting cured her shyness, early stages of Zoom theater, an upcoming play with Marie Mullen, the new take on Macbeth she workshopped, what singing means to her character in The Notebook, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this insightful conversation with a veteran actress.

Duration:01:15:58

Melba Moore

2/18/2024
Today, I’m honored to announce my episode with Tony winner Melba Moore, who will be returning to New York stages on March 15 and 16 at 54 Below. You can find tickets to that show here: https://54below.org/events/melba-moore-from-broadway-with-love/ Tune in today to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including how a recording session led her to her Broadway debut, why Eartha Kitt was a diva in the truest sense, the process of making her way back to New York, the artists she will pay tribute to in her upcoming concert, the challenge of performing in Purlie, why Les Miserables was the perfect show for her, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this conversation.

Duration:00:28:10

Caroline O'Connor

2/13/2024
Today, I’m thrilled to announce my interview with veteran of Broadway, West End, and Australian stages, who is currently starring as Lottie Gee in All Roads Theatre’s production of Mack and Mabel. Tickets to that production are available here: https://allroadstheatreco.org/ Tune in today to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including her many experiences with Mack and Mabel, auditioning for Baz Luhrmann, a special call from Hal Prince, making her Broadway debut with Chicago at the same time the movie came out, singing as Ethel Merman for Kevin Kline, the note she got from Stephen Sondheim, playing both starring roles in The Rink, why she relates to the play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, the art of playing Fanny Brice and not Barbra Streisand, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this fun-filled conversation!

Duration:01:14:39

Kelli O'Hara

2/2/2024
Today, it is my great honor to announce the final installment of my “Week of Wine and Roses” with Broadway legend Kelli O’Hara. Tune in to hear some of the stories and insights of her auspicious career, including: the role she wishes she could do again, the benefits of revising Golden Age musicals, why THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA was psychologically difficult, the joys of working with Brian D’Arcy James, a memorable injury at KISS ME KATE, the experience of being pregnant during THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, how she read the script to SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS before she ever auditioned, the condescension she’s faced in the opera world, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this in-depth, intelligent conversation with one of Broadway’s brightest lights.

Duration:01:05:43

Craig Lucas

1/30/2024
Today, I’m thrilled to announce the second installment of my “Week of Wine and Roses” with the show’s librettist, one of the greatest playwrights of our time, Craig Lucas. Tune in to hear some of the stories and insights of his career, including: why THE LIGHT OF THE PIAZZA was ultimately a fable, the double meaning of PRELUDE TO A KISS, the process of adapting that play into a musical, the newest incarnation in theater of the “Philistine urge,” why Amelie was a challenging main character for a musical, how he transitioned from being a performer to being a playwright, why Sondheim/Prince musicals appeal to him, the small fix he made to AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, and so much more.

Duration:01:31:00

Adam Guettel

1/28/2024
Today, I’m thrilled to announce the kickoff of Backstage Babble’s “Week of Wine and Roses” with legendary composer and lyricist Adam Guettel. Tune in to hear some of the stories and insights of his great career, including why THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA needed a romantic sound, advice he got from Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, why the greatest work exists on the edge of competence, why he doesn’t like to look too much at the source material for the musicals he writes, his on-the-ground research for FLOYD COLLINS, his collaboration with William Goldman, the process of casting Victoria Clark as Margaret Johnson, working with Jamie Lawrence on orchestrating DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES, and so much more. This episode is a masterclass in musical theater writing from the best there is!

Duration:01:01:29

Richard Topol

1/20/2024
Today, I’m so excited to announce my episode with veteran actor Richard Topol, who is starring in Our Class at BAM through February 4th. Tune in to hear fascinating stories, including: how he almost went on for Al Pacino, what it was like acting with Larry David, how he got Covid at a theater in March 2020, a mask mishap during PRAYER FOR THE FRENCH REPUBLIC, the power of Larry Kramer’s JUST SAY NO, working on THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL with Tony Randall, the loyalty of Denzel Washington, the Rubik’s Cube of INDECENT, and so much more.

Duration:01:11:16

Wanda Richert

1/14/2024
Today, I’m honored to announce the release of my interview with Broadway star Wanda Richert, who played Peggy Sawyer in the original production of 42nd Street. Tune in to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including her love story with Gower Champion, understudying Gwen Verdon, working with Michael Bennett on A Chorus Line, the challenges of playing Carla in Nine, the show that almost got her to return to New York, the experience of being a prodigy, her last Broadway performance, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this exclusive conversation!

Duration:00:56:23

Lesley Ann Warren

1/6/2024
For the first Backstage Babble episode of 2024, I’m thrilled to present my conversation with Oscar-nominated actress Lesley Ann Warren. Tune in to hear her tell some of the stories of her legendary career, including how Lee Strasberg helped with her part in DRAT! THE CAT!, how 110 IN THE SHADE taught her the meaning of a showstopper, the trouble with rehearsing GONE WITH THE WIND, how she almost played a different role in CLUE, why Blake Edwards was a great director, the challenges of playing a sociopath on screen, returning to Broadway with DREAM, why CINDERELLA was a dream come true, and so much more.

Duration:00:59:14

Backstage Babble Minis: Tyne Daly and Ben Vereen

12/28/2023
The final episode of Backstage Babble in 2023 is a doozy! I’m lucky to talk to many legends, but sometimes they don’t have time for a full conversation. That being said, the two Tony-winning actors who I’m presenting “mini” interviews with today had such valuable thoughts and stories that I wanted to share them publicly. First, Tyne Daly, who it was announced after the interview is returning to Broadway in Spring 2024 with Doubt, talks about her legendary career, with stories including how an appearance with Dolly Parton got her the role of Mama Rose, the valuable lesson about auditioning she learned at the Mark Taper Forum, why she turns down all horror movies, and so much more. Then, an inspiring conversation with Ben Vereen where he discusses the genius of Galt MacDermot and Bob Fosse, how Vinnette Carroll discovered him, why theater and spirituality are deeply intertwined, and so much more! You won’t want to miss these two conversations.

Duration:01:05:03

Marylouise Burke

12/10/2023
Today, I’m so happy to announce the release of my episode with veteran actress Marylouise Burke, who is currently starring in Infinite Life in London after premiering it at the Atlantic Theater Company. Tune in to hear the stories of her legendary career, including her beginnings in a Pennsylvania steel town, how she decided to move to New York, attending a Nets game with Larry David, dealing with George C. Scott’s alcoholism, her close relationship with David Lindsay-Abaire, figuring out her costumes for Kimberly Akimbo, handling the pauses in Infinite Life, taking on a musical role with Into the Woods, and so much more.

Duration:00:59:20

Sally Mayes

11/29/2023
Today, I’m honored to announce my interview with Broadway and cabaret star Sally Mayes, whose show Now and Then is playing at the Green Room 42 on Saturday, December 2nd at 9:30. The ticket link is here: https://thegreenroom42.venuetix.com/show/details/AWB4i9Lu1RZsQiFDkPVw/1701570600000 Meanwhile, tune in today to hear some of the stories of her legendary career, including the experience of touring as Mae West, auditioning for Jule Styne, standing by for Delta Burke, the show she wished had had greater success, the role she almost lost to Andrea Martin, why she doesn’t like auditioning, tackling the role of Mama Rose, and so much more.

Duration:01:00:19

Mark Jacoby

11/26/2023
I’m honored to announce my interview with Tony nominee Mark Jacoby, who is currently starring as Neil Diamond-Now in A Beautiful Noise. Tune in to hear some of the stories of his legendary career, including the advice Bob Fosse gave him, the joys of singing with Rebecca Luker, his and John Doyle’s unique interpretation of Judge Turpin, his long experience with The Visit, how playing the phantom atrophied his voice, working with Neil Diamond, and so much more.

Duration:01:08:25

Cherry Jones

11/16/2023
Today, I’m so excited to announce my interview with legendary actress Cherry Jones. Tune in to hear some of the stories of her distinguished career, including how Andrei Serban taught her how to act, why Colleen Dewhurst was her biggest inspiration, witnessing the difficult relationship between Glenda Jackson and Zoe Caldwell on Macbeth, her theories about the plot of Doubt, the process of flying as the title character in Angels in America, the celebration she planned for the closing night of her first Broadway show, why Major Barbara was an easier role to do, the two plays from last season that she liked the most, why she relies heavily on directors, and so much more.

Duration:01:16:38

Casey Nicholaw

11/5/2023
Today, I’m so excited to announce my interview with 2023 Tony winner Casey Nicholaw, whose show Some Like it Hot runs through December 30th. Tune in today to hear some of the stories of his legendary career, including the stroke of good luck that led to his Broadway debut, returning to performing recently for one week, why Encores reminds him of summer stock, collaborating with Mike Nichols, the changes made to Aladdin out of town, why tap is his favorite style of dance, the process of restaging Dreamgirls, the difference between older and younger performers in the rehearsal room, staging the dream ballet in Tuck Everlasting, the joyous process of bringing The Drowsy Chaperone to Broadway, and more.

Duration:00:58:16

Schele Williams

10/30/2023
Today, I’m so excited to announce my episode with Broadway director Schele Williams, who is helming the upcoming Broadway productions of The Wiz and The Notebook. Tune in to hear some of the stories of her long career, including what her new vision is for The Wiz, the International power of Rent, the process of revising Aida, the joys of telling the story of Ethel Waters, switching career paths, collaborating with Ben Vereen, her thoughts on leading a rehearsal room, and so much more. You won’t want to miss this interview with one of the most important people in the theater today.

Duration:00:57:14