Mike Isaacson has led the Muny for almost ten years and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In this episode he shares not only the challenges of producing 7 musicals in 10 weeks each summer, but he also opens up about his Tony Award winning Broadway ventures, Fun Home and Thoroughly Modern Millie. These shows almost didn’t happen, yet their eventual success proved that listening to your heart and to an audience are ultimately more important that listening to critics.
Now when most people think of the USO, the first thing that comes to mind, understandably, is the legendary entertainer Bob Hope, who first performed for U.S. troops in California in May 1941, just a few months before the Pearl Harbor. But the USO is certainly much more then any one celebrity. It’s mission is to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.
For over 77 years, the USO has done just that. And the show troops play a vital role in that mission by entertaining service members and conveying the support of the nation through their uplifting shows.
As an actor herself Janine knows firsthand what it takes to reach an audience, and she’ll be joining me next week to talk about work-life balance and how is she maintains her voice and acting chops. In fact, she and I did Bridges of Madison County together this past summer, but during that run she continued to do work for the USO both as an administrator and as a producer. She said down with me recently in the USO offices in New York City to discuss the importance of this organization and what it means to her as well as military service members and their families. She co-founded Empowered Voices, a company that combines dynamic theatrical techniques with traditional prevention education tactics to combat and prevent Sexual Assault within the U.S. Military and beyond, which was an important step in her becoming director of the USO Show Troupe.
At the end of this month I'll be celebrating Thanksgiving with your stories of gratitude and appreciation. Go to contact.winmipodcast.com and send me a text or voice message. I’d love to share your stories of thankfulness with all of us in the WINMI community.
Welcome to WINMI's first international episode!
Joining me on the show today is Sherryl-Lee Secomb from Australia. With over thirty-five years on stage, creating roles in musical theatre, farce and dramatic works, she began working as a freelance theatre director, creating large scale musical theatre productions in her home town of Brisbane, Australia.
In 2011, she was appointed as Communications & Online Marketing Manager to Savoyards Musical Comedy Society, a large community-based theatre company, and began the process of creating their online presence.
In 2014, an experience with a another passionate but under-resourced regional theatre company, inspired her to begin a blog, An Idiot On Stage, highlighting ways community theatre organizations can improve and grow.
But Sher's work not only focuses on the theater companies themselves but the artists and actors and technicians that make up the whole creative team producing and making art on stage. She gives plenty of insight into how to approach art as a business while still maintaining the creative vision and passion.
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I wouldn't be here without listeners like you,
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Broadway is all abuzz with the latest shows and performances making all the headlines. But theater in New York is so much more than what happens on the great white way. There's important and significant work being done off-Broadway and by theater companies around the city.
One such company is Leviathan Lab, and today I'm talking to Ariel Estrada . . . an actor, singer, arts advocate, producer, and Founder of Leviathan Lab. They are an award-winning not-for-profit creative studio whose mission is the advancement of Asian and Asian American performing artists and their work. With Leviathan Lab (now celebrating its 10th year), Ariel has produced acting and writing salons, cabarets, fundraising events, staged readings, showcase productions, and short films, including the award-winning film Two Weeks.
But today's conversation is so much more than just shop talk about auditioning and producing and running a non-profit. Our conversation really digs into some weighty topics of race and opportunity for people of color and the struggles that go with that. Ariel is quite candid and open about his experiences and how they've shaped his career.
This is an episode you don't wanna miss!
Welcome to your favorite holiday: Tax Day! One of the most difficult but important issues we face in the arts is our finances. How to make more of it and how to spend (and save) it in the best way possible.
Rebecca Selkowe, head of the Financial Wellness Program at The Actors Fund, covers some of the challenges people working in performing arts and entertainment face when trying to balance variable income and expenses, and also touches briefly on important tax issues. A performing artist’s financial life is complex, so it’s easy to get confused when trying to organize your money. This episode will help you distinguish between regular and irregular income, and determine what this means for building yourself a financial cushion, saving for periodic expenses and investing for your future.
The overall goal of the Financial Wellness program? Establishing a stable method of managing your finances. So check out their free classes and seminars today!
For the first Spotlight Series of 2019 I’m joined by Josie Whittlesey, the founder and Executive Director of Drama Club. The organization started in 2013, providing theatre programming to incarcerated and court-involved young people. They bring classes into juvenile detention centers, jails and community centers throughout New York City.
Currently, Drama Club works with about 500 individual students between the ages of 10-21, using improv as their core curriculum, empowering young people to tell the stories they want to tell, in the ways in which they want to tell them.
From her previous work with Rehabilitation Through the Arts and Girls Educational & Mentoring Services, Josie has proven to be staunch advocate for those who are underserved and in need of the outlet and experience that theater provide. I caught up with her at the Drama Club office in Long Island City, where she shares how this important organization began and talks about the lives they impact in such positive ways.
It's been a wonderful ride despite some growing pains and losses along the way. My first year of podcasting has nonetheless taught me a great deal, and I hope you've learned a thing or two as well.
I honestly do this for you and try my best to give you interviews and insights as well as some fun along the way. A lot of effort goes into these episodes and sometimes they hit the mark and other times fall short (mostly technical hitches and glitches and my own verbal fumbles).
So I may not have made it on anyone else's Top Podcast Lists, but here's my own best-of retrospective on the highs and lows of 2018!
The guests and sounds clips featured on this episode:
Marella Martin Koch • Erin Cronican • Joey Fatone • Jeff Thomson • Scott Wojcik • Mike Wartella • Stephen Wallem • Casey Erin Clark • Jessica Holt • Matt Zambrano • Grace McLean • Jelani Alladin • Glasgow Lyman • Alvin Hough, Jr. • Jeff Theiss • Dena Hammerstein • Michael Repper • Sydney Altbacker • Tate Robinson • John McGinty • Chris Coyne
Though there was no way to include every episode on this best-of-2018 edition, I am immensely grateful for ALL the guests that have come on the podcast. It most certainly would not be the same or nearly as good without their contributions.
Tony Award Bonus Episodes theme music -
"Hot Swing" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
For the next couple of weeks will be talking to directors of the New York Youth Symphony. Founded in 1963 as an orchestra to showcase the metropolitan area’s most gifted musicians ages 12-22, its activities have since grown to encompass programs in chamber music, conducting, composition, and jazz, with performances at world class venues including Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Today’s guest is Michael Repper who is in his second year as Music Director of the NYYS Orchestra. He is an emerging conductor of classical music, jazz, pops, and musical theater. A graduate of Stanford University, he recently completed his doctoral residency at the Peabody Conservatory of Music as a student of Gustav Meier and his longtime mentor, Marin Alsop, a world-famous conductor and violinist who is also an alumna of the NY Youth Symphony.
Michael talks about his own path to conducting and the importance of music education and his passion for helping foster the next generation of artists. These kids truly sound amazing!
Intro music and interludes:
"Reverie (small theme)" by _ghost
2010 - Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution (3.0)