Why We Theater-logo

Why We Theater

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Social justice meets theatre in this podcast from Playbill’s former Executive Editor Ruthie Fierberg. Artists and experts unite for curated panels, using plays and musicals (Broadway, Off-Broadway, and works in development) as a jumping-off point to confront societal issues such as racism, colorism, voting rights, fake news, digital technology addiction, the school-to-prison pipeline, anti-Semitism, raising LGBTQIA+ kids, and more. We help listeners grapple with hard questions inside a play or musical in order to create change in our offstage lives. And don’t worry if you haven’t seen an individual episode’s show or if you’re not a theatre buff. Award-winning writers and directors of pieces like SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY and THE PROM break down the message inside their stories and how they created that story. Then, real-world experts in the corresponding field (like NSA Jake Sullivan or THIS AMERICAN LIFE’s Ira Glass) offer advice and action steps (thought patterns to monitor, petitions to sign, organizations to support, etc.) so we can manifest progress. “Theater” is not only a place or a presentation, it is an action. “To theater” is to engage with art presented onstage. Why we theater? We’re about to find out.

Social justice meets theatre in this podcast from Playbill’s former Executive Editor Ruthie Fierberg. Artists and experts unite for curated panels, using plays and musicals (Broadway, Off-Broadway, and works in development) as a jumping-off point to confront societal issues such as racism, colorism, voting rights, fake news, digital technology addiction, the school-to-prison pipeline, anti-Semitism, raising LGBTQIA+ kids, and more. We help listeners grapple with hard questions inside a play or musical in order to create change in our offstage lives. And don’t worry if you haven’t seen an individual episode’s show or if you’re not a theatre buff. Award-winning writers and directors of pieces like SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY and THE PROM break down the message inside their stories and how they created that story. Then, real-world experts in the corresponding field (like NSA Jake Sullivan or THIS AMERICAN LIFE’s Ira Glass) offer advice and action steps (thought patterns to monitor, petitions to sign, organizations to support, etc.) so we can manifest progress. “Theater” is not only a place or a presentation, it is an action. “To theater” is to engage with art presented onstage. Why we theater? We’re about to find out.

Location:

United States

Description:

Social justice meets theatre in this podcast from Playbill’s former Executive Editor Ruthie Fierberg. Artists and experts unite for curated panels, using plays and musicals (Broadway, Off-Broadway, and works in development) as a jumping-off point to confront societal issues such as racism, colorism, voting rights, fake news, digital technology addiction, the school-to-prison pipeline, anti-Semitism, raising LGBTQIA+ kids, and more. We help listeners grapple with hard questions inside a play or musical in order to create change in our offstage lives. And don’t worry if you haven’t seen an individual episode’s show or if you’re not a theatre buff. Award-winning writers and directors of pieces like SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY and THE PROM break down the message inside their stories and how they created that story. Then, real-world experts in the corresponding field (like NSA Jake Sullivan or THIS AMERICAN LIFE’s Ira Glass) offer advice and action steps (thought patterns to monitor, petitions to sign, organizations to support, etc.) so we can manifest progress. “Theater” is not only a place or a presentation, it is an action. “To theater” is to engage with art presented onstage. Why we theater? We’re about to find out.

Language:

English

Contact:

9192648493


Episodes

Ep10 - Season1 Finale: Save the Arts and Arts Education

11/5/2020
What is the current state of theatre? Right now, the theatre industry and the pipeline to it (a.k.a. arts education) needs change. What can you do to save Broadway and hundreds of theatres around the country right now? What can you do to ensure artists can afford stay artists? Why is it necessary for every person to take classes in the arts? (Yes, there is research that says this is vital for everyone.) Where can you study the arts right now? It’s all here in this wrap-up of Season 1....

Duration:00:19:40

Ep9 - THE PROM and LGBTQIA+ Rights and the Well-Being of Our Queer Youth

10/16/2020
Broadway’s THE PROM takes center stage in this raw discussion about LGBTQIA+ teens and the discrimination they often face. After opening on Broadway in the fall of 2018, the musical comedy earned five Tony nominations, including Best Musical, and will debut on Netflix in a musical movie adaptation December 11, 2020. Inspired by true stories, THE PROM spotlights Emma, an Indiana teenager banned from her prom for wanting to take her girlfriend. When aging Broadway stars Dee Dee Allen and Barry...

Duration:01:39:59

Ep8 - IF I FORGET and American Jews, Anti-Semitism, and Tribalism

10/2/2020
Steven Levenson (DEAR EVAN HANSEN Tony winner) talks about his Off-Broadway play IF I FORGET. Set in 2000, the play focuses on a Jewish family as three adult children (Holly, Michael, and Sharon) return to their parents’ house in Maryland for their father Lou’s 75th birthday. Michael is a Jewish Studies professor who recently wrote a book called “Forgetting the Holocaust” about how Judaism has become a religion haunted by death and ghosts – unified by fear and the phrase “never forget”...

Duration:01:25:33

Ep7 - Usual Girls and Femme Sex and Sexuality, Part Two

9/18/2020
Ming Peiffer and our four experts return for more of the unfettered, vulnerable conversation about what it means to be femme and sexual, inspired by the play USUAL GIRLS. The drama premiered in 2018 at Roundabout Underground for an extended, sold-out run. Catalyzed by the allegations against American Apparel’s Dov Charney, playwright Peiffer began to investigate the stories of women and the milestones in the sexual maturation of girls in America that can lead to a fraught and vulnerable...

Duration:01:05:32

Ep6 - Usual Girls and Femme Sex and Sexuality, Part One

9/11/2020
The first of a critical two-part discussion, this episode focuses on Ming Peiffer’s USUAL GIRLS. The play premiered in 2018 at Roundabout Underground for an extended, sold-out run. Catalyzed by the allegations against American Apparel’s Dov Charney, playwright Peiffer began to investigate the stories of women and the milestones in the sexual maturation of girls in America that can lead to a fraught and vulnerable relationship to one’s own sexuality. Peiffer put the patriarchy, rape culture,...

Duration:01:03:40

Ep5 - Soft Power and Democracy, U.S.-China Relations, and Asian-American Culture

8/13/2020
David Henry Hwang, three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony-winning playwright, and director Leigh Silverman join former policy director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, and U.S. policymaker and now NSA Jake Sullivan and journalist, media consultant, author, and “Asian Pop” columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle Jeff Yang to discuss the musical-within-a-play SOFT POWER. The show illuminates the merits and pitfalls of democracy, the American electoral system, the American campaign...

Duration:01:26:41

Ep4 - Pipeline and Education Inequity and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

8/7/2020
Tony nominee Dominique Morisseau (TV’s SHAMELESS, AIN’T TOO PROUD) discusses her groundbreaking play PIPELINE, named for the national crisis of the school-to-prison pipeline. The play follows, Omari, a Black high school student at a predominantly white prep school and his single mother, Nya, who teaches at the district public school. When Omari attacks his teacher in class, Nya’s fears for her son and his future push her to the edge and force audiences to question who is truly at fault. How...

Duration:01:43:03

Ep3 - The Lifespan of a Fact and Truth in Journalism

7/29/2020
Ira Glass, Tony nominee Leigh Silverman, and Barbara Brandon-Croft debate fake news and more, inspired by Broadway’s THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT. Based on the book of the same name, THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT opened cold on Broadway at Studio 54 October 18, 2018, and immediately illuminated issues of journalistic integrity, art versus media, and what the word “truth” actually means. Jim Fingal is an intern at a literary magazine assigned to factcheck an essay by John D’Agata—the kind of piece that,...

Duration:01:19:29

Ep2 - Octet and Internet Addiction

7/23/2020
Before Netflix’s THE SOCIAL DILEMMA, the 2019 musical OCTET tackled the harsh reality and trajectory of digital technology addiction and social media. Written by Dave Malloy (THE GREAT COMET) and directed by Annie Tippe, the a cappella chamber musical debuted Off-Broadway at the Signature Theatre Center and earned eight Drama Desk Award nominations. Staged as a sort-of AA meeting for tech addicts, each song serves as a share about a different manifestation of tech addiction. Are we all...

Duration:01:14:04

Ep1 - School Girls... and Colorism, Beauty, and Self-Esteem in Women, Girls, and Femmes

7/15/2020
What is colorism, and how do we combat it? Who decides what is beautiful? Why are girls raised to compete with each other? Playwright Jocelyn Bioh and experts Afia Ofori-Mensa of Princeton University and Maryann Jacob Macias of National Crittenton join host Ruthie Fierberg to explore the questions raised about the roots of colorism and how to check your own bias, beauty standards and how to advocate for broader definitions of beauty, self-esteem and how to raise girls and women to know our...

Duration:01:02:26

Welcome, to Why We Theater

7/15/2020
Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize–winning drama Disgraced changed Ruthie Fierberg’s life. In fact, it’s the whole reason this podcast exists. The play fused theatre and social justice for her. Theatre is not just a mirror to society, it’s a catalyst to change it. Listen to this 2-minute origin story. Part of the Broadway Podcast Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:02:37