ATW - Downstage Center-logo

ATW - Downstage Center

Arts & Culture

The American Theatre Wing presents Downstage Center a weekly theatrical interview show, featuring the top artists working in theatre, both on and Off-Broadway and around the country.

The American Theatre Wing presents Downstage Center a weekly theatrical interview show, featuring the top artists working in theatre, both on and Off-Broadway and around the country.


United States


The American Theatre Wing presents Downstage Center a weekly theatrical interview show, featuring the top artists working in theatre, both on and Off-Broadway and around the country.




Montego Glover and Adam Pascal (#333) - February, 2012

Where are Broadway’s hottest stars? Downstage Center. The latest episode heads down south as Memphis’ Montego Glover plays the role as interviewer to her co-star Adam Pascal. The versatile duo expounds on, among other topics, their experience in "Memphis", the skill sets needed to be a working actor, and some of the other roles they may be known for: Mr. Pascal in "Rent" and "Aida", and Ms. Glover in "The Color Purple."

Nina Arianda (#332) - February, 2012

Nina Arianda’s star has never shone brighter. Recreating the off-Broadway role that her made a name to watch, the actress returns to Broadway in "Venus in Fur" in what the New York Times called "the first, must see performance of the Broadway season." Downstage Center, with NY1’s Frank DiLella, sits down with Ms. Arianda to discuss, among other things, the acting process, family, her Tony nomination for "Born Yesterday", working in Woody Allen’s "Midnight in Paris", seeing Meryl Streep in...

Marlo Thomas and Lisa Emery (#330) - January, 2012

Marlo Thomas and Lisa Emery share the stage in Broadway's "Relatively Speaking" (an evening of one-acts written by Elaine May, Woody Allen, and Ethan Coen). In the Wing's latest "Downstage Center" they get together to swap stories on the craft they love and how they got where they are today. Ms. Thomas begins as the interviewer but soon a conversation ensues about mutual director horror stories, women in the theatre, pre-show rituals, the inspiration they receive from hearing the audience...

Elaine Paige and Ron Raines (#329) - January, 2012

What happens when "Follies" star Elaine Paige sits down to interview her co-star Ron Raines? Listen now to the lively discussion about everything "Follies" and Sondheim: his lyrics, Sondheim as teacher, and the difficulty in performing "Sweeney Todd", among other topics. Sondheim isn't the only show in town. Paige and Raines also talk about balancing life and art, musical theatre vs. opera, the economics of Broadway, career longevity in the theatre, "The King and I", transitioning from...

Eugene Lee (#328) - July, 2011

Eugene Lee, resident designer for Rhode Island's Trinity Rep since 1967, set designer for "Saturday Night Live (SNL)" since its inception, and three-time TONY Award winner, talks about the realistic set of "Sweeney Todd"; growing up in Wisconsin and his early theatre memories and experiences; why he dislikes proscenium stages; what led "SNL"'s Lorne Michaels to hire him; working with Hal Prince on "Sweeney Todd", "Candide", "Merrily We Roll Along", and "Showboat"; how he got involved in...

Lois Smith (#327) - July, 2011

American actress Lois Smith, whose career in theatre, film, and television spans five decades, talks about her experience of playing the originally male role, Alcandre, in the Signature Theatre production of Tony Kushner's "The Illusion", an adaptation of Pierre Corneille's "L'Illusion Comique". She also talks about her upbringing in Kansas; experience in working on the film "East of Eden"; working with Helen Hayes on "The Wisteria Trees" and "The Glass Menagerie"; working with Andre...

Angela Lansbury (#326) - June, 2011

Returning to Downstage Center five years after a 2006 conversation, the legendary Angela Lansbury talks about her most recent Broadway roles, in Terrence McNally's "Deuce", Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" and Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music". She also discusses her experiences with artists with whom she's frequently worked - Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Arthur Laurents and Edward Albee; her foray into Shakespeare, playing Gertrude opposite Albert Finney's "Hamlet" in London; why her...

Joe Mantello (#320) - May, 2011

Joe Mantello talks about returning to the Broadway stage as an actor after a 17-year hiatus to play the role of Ned Weeks in Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart" -- and what it's like to play a role that the play's author has based on himself when the author is at the theatre nightly. He also talks about his acting days in school and community theatre in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois (with classmates that included Marin Mazzie); his training at North Carolina School of the Arts and why...

Jason Robert Brown (#319) - May, 2011

Jason Robert Brown, who prefers the title "songwriter" over "composer," talks about why he spends so much time performing his own material and engaging directly with his fans. He discusses writing all of his songs "in his own voice"; his short time at Rochester's esteemed Eastman School of Music; coming to New York, getting work in piano bars and how that led to rehearsal pianist jobs; the evolution of "Songs for a New World" and whether it began as a collection of existing songs or...

David Lindsay-Abaire (#318) - May, 2011

Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire talks about returning to his South Boston roots with the play "Good People", how the characters are amalgams of the people he grew up with in that private neighborhood and why he chose it as the setting for a play about the class system in America. He also talks about moving beyond his "Southie" roots as early as seventh grade, when he received a scholarship to a private school and how he had to learn to fit in there; his earliest plays, written for his...

Laurie Metcalf (#317) - April, 2011

Laurie Metcalf talks about her role in Sharr White's play "The Other Place" at MCC Theater, and the challenge of playing someone whose mental faculties are diminishing in a non-linear play, requiring her to constantly leap between varying states of mind. She also talks about her embrace of theatre during her college years at Illinois State University, where she first studied German, then anthropology, before settling on theatre; being one of the original company members of the acclaimed...

Casey Nicholaw (#316) - April, 2011

Co-director and choreographer of Broadway's "The Book of Mormon", Casey Nicholaw, talks about his initial reaction on reading the irreverent new musical and how it was to work with Matt Parker and Trey Stone, heretofore most experienced with work in animation for "South Park". Nicholaw also talks about his early work at the San Diego Junior Theatre, his decision to leave California at age 19 and embark on a career in New York without even a completed college degree under his belt; his...

Nicholas Hytner (#315) - April, 2011

From London, National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner talks about his tenure leading that influential institution, including whether, as some have said, it was always his career goal; why he thrives on the need to embrace a general audience for the organization's survival; the impact of the 10 (now 12) Travelex season on the company and why he prefers to work under the budgetary rigor it imposes on the theatre's staff; his commitment to seeing new, "muscular" work by young...

Margaret Colin (#314) - April, 2011

"Arcadia"'s Lady Croom, Margaret Colin, discusses grappling with the intellectuals concepts in the play, the experience of spending several days having Tom Stoppard explain them, and what it's like to do a show in which she never shares the stage (or the green room) with half the cast once the curtain goes up. She also talks about growing up and performing in Baldwin NY, where her school shows included a production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", directed by her...

Janet Suzman (#313) - March, 2011

Royal Shakespeare Company veteran Janet Suzman discusses her early years with the company, including her daunting audition for for Peter Hall, John Barton and Peter Brook; her repertory roles of Portia, Rosalind and Ophelia; opening the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles in "The Taming of the Shrew"; and her career defining role as Cleopatra in "Antony and Cleopatra". She also discusses her upbringing in cultural limited Johannesburg, South Africa; her student years at a highly politicized...

Michael Frayn (#312) - March, 2011

Acclaimed for his works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and theatre, Michael Frayn discusses how he determines when an idea is right for the stage when he has multiple forms to choose from. He also recalls writing and performing childhood puppet plays; the reason why his edition of Cambridge's "Footlights Revue" was the only one not to be seen in London; his days as a newspaper columnist, during which he frequently mocked and parodied the popular theatre of the day -- and whether he...

Austin Pendleton (#311) - March, 2011

Austin Pendleton, director of the recent production of "The Three Sisters" at Classic Stage Company in New York, talks about the many Chekhov productions he's appeared in and directed over the years, including five "Uncle Vanya"s and four "Three Sisters". He talks about falling in love with theatre via his mother's involvement in community theatre in his hometown of Warren, Ohio; writing original musicals while an undergraduate theatre student at Yale; being directed by Jerome Robbins in his...

Barry Grove (#310) - March, 2011

Barry Grove, Executive Producer of the Manhattan Theatre Club, talks about his three-and-half decades of partnership with Lynne Meadow at the top of one of New York's largest not-for-profit theatres. He recalls about his introduction to theatre while growing up in Madison CT; his college experiences at Dartmouth and his participation in the very first semester of The O'Neill Theatre Center's National Theatre Institute; his earliest experiences working in New York Theatre while still a...

Elizabeth Marvel (#309) - March, 2011

Elizabeth Marvel talks about whether being "a bad kid" has influenced her more daring stage performances, and discusses the challenges of remaining alienated from her on stage family in Jon Robin Baitz's "Other Desert Cities" while she grows ever closer to her castmates. She also discusses how she was drawn to theatre after a small town upbringing, including the moment when she knew she had to act; the influence of her Juilliard mentor, the late Michael Langham, both on her craft and her...

Stephen Schwartz (#308) - February, 2011

Interviewed at the keyboard, composer Stephen Schwartz chronicles his career from college to "Wicked" and beyond. He explains how "Pippin" began as a college musical based on one paragraph in a history book and a deep love of "The Lion in Winter", and how the show that ended up as the Broadway version was completely different; tells the story of being asked to write songs for "Godspell" with only five weeks until the show's first rehearsal; plays and sings his first song ever to be heard on...