The Dramatists Guild Presents: TALKBACK-logo

The Dramatists Guild Presents: TALKBACK

Arts & Culture Podcasts

The Dramatists Guild Presents: TALKBACK: Where Art, Community, and Inclusion Meet. Talkback is a podcast for every playwright, composer, lyricist, librettist, or theatre fan who wants to pull back the curtain to discover the highs and lows of what it means to create theatre and foster community in the complex landscape of American storytelling. Over the course of four seasons, host Christine Toy Johnson and her industry colleagues delve into in-depth conversations about the intricate facets of navigating and sustaining a life in a theatre that strives to make room for everyone. In the fourth season of The Dramatists Guild Presents: Talkback, which launched on October 24, we celebrate how writers from a diverse array of backgrounds have built meaningful careers within a constantly evolving industry, while also giving back to their communities. Join host Christine Toy Johnson as she interviews fellow theatre writers about what inspires them to create art and what inspires them to create community. This season, Lynn Ahrens, Amanda Green, Stephen Flaherty, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Michael R. Jackson, Lisa Kron, Rona Siddiqui, John Weidman, and Charlayne Woodard provide a searingly honest look into their writing processes and share what drives them to keep fighting for equal rights and protections for theatre writers everywhere. From conversations about challenging the industry’s status quo to insights on crafting new musicals, these episodes offer a window into the struggles and triumphs of what it means to be a theatre writer in the 21st century and what it means to serve one's community.

The Dramatists Guild Presents: TALKBACK: Where Art, Community, and Inclusion Meet. Talkback is a podcast for every playwright, composer, lyricist, librettist, or theatre fan who wants to pull back the curtain to discover the highs and lows of what it means to create theatre and foster community in the complex landscape of American storytelling. Over the course of four seasons, host Christine Toy Johnson and her industry colleagues delve into in-depth conversations about the intricate facets of navigating and sustaining a life in a theatre that strives to make room for everyone. In the fourth season of The Dramatists Guild Presents: Talkback, which launched on October 24, we celebrate how writers from a diverse array of backgrounds have built meaningful careers within a constantly evolving industry, while also giving back to their communities. Join host Christine Toy Johnson as she interviews fellow theatre writers about what inspires them to create art and what inspires them to create community. This season, Lynn Ahrens, Amanda Green, Stephen Flaherty, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Michael R. Jackson, Lisa Kron, Rona Siddiqui, John Weidman, and Charlayne Woodard provide a searingly honest look into their writing processes and share what drives them to keep fighting for equal rights and protections for theatre writers everywhere. From conversations about challenging the industry’s status quo to insights on crafting new musicals, these episodes offer a window into the struggles and triumphs of what it means to be a theatre writer in the 21st century and what it means to serve one's community.

Location:

United States

Description:

The Dramatists Guild Presents: TALKBACK: Where Art, Community, and Inclusion Meet. Talkback is a podcast for every playwright, composer, lyricist, librettist, or theatre fan who wants to pull back the curtain to discover the highs and lows of what it means to create theatre and foster community in the complex landscape of American storytelling. Over the course of four seasons, host Christine Toy Johnson and her industry colleagues delve into in-depth conversations about the intricate facets of navigating and sustaining a life in a theatre that strives to make room for everyone. In the fourth season of The Dramatists Guild Presents: Talkback, which launched on October 24, we celebrate how writers from a diverse array of backgrounds have built meaningful careers within a constantly evolving industry, while also giving back to their communities. Join host Christine Toy Johnson as she interviews fellow theatre writers about what inspires them to create art and what inspires them to create community. This season, Lynn Ahrens, Amanda Green, Stephen Flaherty, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Michael R. Jackson, Lisa Kron, Rona Siddiqui, John Weidman, and Charlayne Woodard provide a searingly honest look into their writing processes and share what drives them to keep fighting for equal rights and protections for theatre writers everywhere. From conversations about challenging the industry’s status quo to insights on crafting new musicals, these episodes offer a window into the struggles and triumphs of what it means to be a theatre writer in the 21st century and what it means to serve one's community.

Language:

English

Contact:

919-264-8493


Episodes

S4E6 We are the Uber Drivers of the Theatre Industry: A conversation with Amanda Green

11/28/2022
Amanda Green made headlines last year when she became the first female president of the Dramatists Guild of America in its over 100-year history. In this episode, Amanda talks about what DG means to her, telling podcast host Christine Toy Johnson about how the Guild uplifted her during an uncertain time in her life and career. She also discusses the importance of the PRO Act, explains why collective bargaining matters for dramatists, and offers advice on how writers across the country can...

Duration:00:29:19

S4E5 Writing as a Way For Me to Make Sense Out of Certain Things: A conversation with Rona Siddiqui and Michael R. Jackson

11/21/2022
In this episode, hosted by Christine Toy Johnson, Michael R. Jackson and Rona Siddiqui share their creative inspirations, discuss their collaboration on the upcoming musical White Girl in Danger, and reflect upon their respective journeys with the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical A Strange Loop, which was recently nominated for a 2023 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. They also discuss the importance of advocating for their community; as active members on the...

Duration:00:29:43

S4E4 Talking is Easy, Writing is Hard: A conversation with Lisa Kron and John Weidman

11/14/2022
In this episode, Christine interviews longtime friends and colleagues, Lisa Kron and John Weidman. Both John and Lisa have served as officers on the Dramatists Guild Council; under their purview, the Guild grew to become a national organization that seeks to serve writers of all backgrounds. They discuss the labor relations and gender equity issues that fueled their respective desires to help lead the Guild and talk about what it means to them to advocate on behalf of their community of...

Duration:00:40:53

S4E3 There is No Such Thing as Failure Unless You Don’t Get in the Game: A conversation with Charlayne Woodard

11/7/2022
We're excited to welcome back actress and writer Charlayne Woodard. In Season 1, Charlayne spoke with Christine Toy Johnson about her experiences marketing her work. In this episode, Charlayne takes us to the beginning of her career, sharing about how her early experience in the oral tradition inspired her to start creating theatre. She goes on to discuss how she overcame resistance from members of her community when she wrote her first play as a high school student, and how her own...

Duration:00:36:52

S4E2 I Love Being in this Lousy Hotel Room with You Creating Something of Beauty: A conversation with Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty

10/31/2022
Talkback host Christine Toy Johnson interviews Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, a dynamic musical theatre songwriting duo who have been collaborating together for almost forty years. Even at the height of the pandemic, their writing never stopped. Listen to this episode to learn about what it means to view collaboration as teamwork, how they approached the writing process for their current musical, Knoxville, and what inspired them to launch The Dramatists Guild Fellows Program, a...

Duration:00:46:41

S4E1 “You should feel weird if they love what you do”: A Conversation with Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

10/24/2022
DG Council Vice President Branden Jacobs-Jenkins has made his career by building community with other writers - even if that community started as three blogs in the early aughts. In this episode, Branden tells Talkback host Christine Toy Johnson about his passion for fair and equitable treatment of writers and how his role at the Dramatists Guild enables him to advocate on behalf of his community of fellow playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists. He also discusses some of his...

Duration:00:36:34

Special TONY Episode! Michael R. Jackson and Rona Siddiqui of A Strange Loop

6/6/2022
In advance of the 2022 Tony Awards next Sunday, June 12th TALKBACK is thrilled to bring you an exclusive interview with the creatives behind the Tony nominated musical A Strange Loop. Michael R. Jackson, the mind behind the Pulitzer Prize winning musical, and Rona Siddiqui, the show’s music director, chat with Christine about what inspires them to create and act in service of all dramatic writers by serving on the board of the Dramatists Guild of America. Michael shares his love of soap...

Duration:00:29:58

S3 E6 A Long Overdue Correction: Collaborating with Non-Homogenous Creative Teams

11/22/2021
In our final episode of Season 3 Christine sits down with celebrated director Leigh Silverman about her ongoing commitment to form teams that have intersectional inclusion. Leigh shares candidly both her own efforts to create parity on her teams, and her personal learning curve. Leigh will be a part of New York City’s Vineyard Theater 2021/2022 season. Visit (vineyardtheatre.org) TALKBACK is a production of the Dramatists Guild of America. It’s produced by Amy VonMacek, Sarah Storm, and me,...

Duration:00:40:04

S3 E5 I see you. I respect you. I honor you. Collaborating with your Community

11/15/2021
In this episode Christine talks to Teresa Coleman Wash, Executive Artistic Director of Bishop Arts Theater Center in Dallas, Texas. We discuss the ways individualism and collectivism can go hand in hand in creating true community collaboration, using examples from Bishop Arts Theater Center’s programming and efforts during the pandemic. Teresa Coleman Wash is a producer, playwright, and founding artistic director for the Bishop Arts Theatre Center (BATC). Under her leadership, the theatre...

Duration:00:33:44

S3 E4 Artists First and Foremost: Collaborating with the Disability Community

11/8/2021
While the pandemic left so many things unsure this year, one thing was clear: connecting communities from across the world is easier than ever. In this episode, we’ll hear from artistic leaders from two theater companies that approach centering artists with disabilities in different ways. Christine speaks with Nicholas Viselli from Theater Breaking Through Barriers, a company that has been doing work centering artists with disabilities since 1979 and Sarah Hom and Anna Morton from the...

Duration:00:39:19

S3 #3 Artists without Borders: Amplifying the Work of Immigrant Playwrights during the Pandemic

11/1/2021
Christine welcomes playwrights Saviana Stanescu, Caridad Svich and recently former Artistic Director of the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe Daniel Gallant (Gallant was still the current Artistic Director at the time of this recording) to chat about ways they have helped amplify the work of immigrant artists. Self identifying "artivist" Saviana created "Liberties Daughters" a monologue series for immigrant women hosted by Nuyorican Poet's Cafe and Caridad created No Passport an unincorporated,...

Duration:00:28:20

S3 #1 Bhangra meets La Jolla: Collaborating on Culturally Specific Shows

10/26/2021
In our first episode of our third season we’ll talk about the journey of bringing a culturally specific show to a predominantly white institution. Our guests are Rehana Lew Mirza, Rohi Mirza Pandya of SRC Partners and Natasha Sinha, who are working to bring the new musical Bhangin’ It (book by Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew, music and lyrics by Sam Willmott) to their world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2022. Christine and our guests discuss the intricacies of telling a specific...

Duration:00:40:27

S3 #2 That Beyonce Energy: The Dramatists Guild's Inclusion Rider

10/25/2021
In this episode, we talk about the Dramatists Guild’s new Inclusion rider and the initiatives surrounding it. At the time of this recording the rider had not been released. We're happy to report that we've released the rider and you can get a copy here: https://www.dramatistsguild.com/inclusion This rider is the first of its kind to come out of the theatre industry. Our goal is to empower and encourage playwrights to advocate for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Anti-racism in our...

Duration:00:39:57

TALKBACK Season 3 Trailer

9/23/2021
TALKBACK returns with six new episodes on October 18 – and this season is all about collaboration! I’m your host, Christine Toy Johnson, and I can’t wait to share our conversations with you. We’ll be talking about bringing culturally specific shows to Predominantly White Institutions and how large institutional theaters are pivoting their focus to be more inclusive. We’ll be discussing the Guild’s brand-new inclusion rider, how immigrant artists have brought communities together to share...

Duration:00:01:48

S2 #6 Robert and Charles talk about Radical Hospitality

11/23/2020
In our final episode of Season 2, Christine gets to chat with two longtime friends, Robert Barry Fleming and Charles Randolph-Wright about the concept of radical hospitality: the act of creating access where none existed by purposefully and actively removing barriers. Christine leads our conversation on how all artists can claim the space to tell their own stories and how radical hospitality can be extended towards the audiences for whom these stories are intended to reach. To learn more...

Duration:00:33:04

S2 #5 Nikkole and Bianca talk about Alternate Access

11/16/2020
The entire theater industry has found itself confronting a very specific access challenge this year. So many traditional boundaries have been broken. The fourth wall has been replaced with the Zoom screen, and the audience with a chat room. Christine chats with writers Nikkole Salter and Bianca Sams about how they’re thinking about work, audience, and opportunity - outside of the brick-and-mortar theater model with its traditional subscriber base. To learn more about Nikkole Salter visit...

Duration:00:35:36

S2 #4 Sarah and Caroline talk about Access at Any Age

11/9/2020
Age is just a number, right? Maybe not when it comes to the entertainment industry. Playwright Sarah Tuft (MARVEL-OUS MONICA; IN WHICH MONICA LEWINSKY IS A SUPERHERO HELL-BENT ON REVENGE, 110 Stories) and actor Caroline Aaron (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Edward Scissorhands) tell personal stories about their careers and how age has played a factor. Sarah tells Christine how she refused to accept the status quo and is on the executive committee at Honor Roll-an action and advocacy group of...

Duration:00:28:53

S2 #3 Gregg and Katy talk about Physical Access

11/2/2020
Theater is upheld as an inclusive community. So, what does meaningful inclusion look like for artists with disabilities? Gregg Mozgala and Katy Sullivan talk with Christine about their roles in Martyna Majok’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Cost of Living, their own advocacy work, and the extra labor they take on just by stepping into the rehearsal room. To learn more about Gregg’s work visit https://queenstheatre.org/ or http://www.greggmozgala.com/ To learn more about Katy visit...

Duration:00:35:33

S2 #2 KJ and Vichet talk about MFAs

10/26/2020
Is getting a Masters degree the best way to enter the theater industry? It’s a popular avenue to take, but it may not be the only way. Christine sits down with friends and colleagues KJ Sanchez and Vichet Chum as they dive into the realities of student loans, institutional racism, and a career in an insecure industry. For more information on the MFA programs discussed today please visit: Brown University MFA in Playwriting University of Texas at Austin MFA in Playwriting This episode...

Duration:00:34:05

S2 #1 Georgia and Lloyd talk about the Pipeline

10/19/2020
Christine sits down with two writers and advocates, Georgia Stitt (Snow Child, Samantha Spade, Ace Detective, Founder of Maestra) and Lloyd Suh (The Chinese Lady, Charles Francis Chan Jr.'s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery), to talk about the pipeline, who is granted access to being considered for jobs in the industry and why. You’ll hear their theories on why the pipeline is perpetuated, whose stories are being told, and how musicians, composers, and playwrights can make a more welcoming...

Duration:00:30:53