Director

  • Interview with Actor Brendan Ragan

    6-4-18 Interview

    6/4/18 Actor, theater maker Brendan Ragan loves being on stage. He always knew he was a natural; but he “never wanted to settle for pretty good,” and the need to hone his “artistry,” to be pushed, to be torn down and rebuilt if that was what it took for him to reach his personal best, drives him. It drove him to risk to joining 11 other graduates to create Single Carrot, a theater company in Baltimore on what was – although they didn’t know it – the most dangerous street in town; it drove him to leave there, although people thought he was crazy to leave that wonderful set up, and apply to graduate school; and its driven him to join Summer Wallace and Harry Lipstein in creating the Urbanite theater in Sarasota. Listen to this passionate, articulate man talk about his obsession to create the very best theater experience he can for himself and his audience, come see him demonstrate his “artistry” in the Urbanite’s current production of “Incognito”

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  • Interview with Musician Jerry Bilik

    1-15-18 Interview

    5-28-18 Jerry Billik is a composer, arranger, songwriter, conductor, and director of stage productions. Although he downplays his skill and accomplishments Jerry’s career is extraordinary. A musical virtuoso by the age of 13, he has composed more than 50 pieces of music, from popular ballads to marches to his ‘Symphony for Band’. His concert march “Block M” composed for the University of Michigan Marching Band when he was a senior there has been voted by band composers as one of the top 100 marches of all time. He wrote the “M Fanfare” which is still played by the University of Michigan marching band prior to their playing the famous fight song. He has worked with many popular artists, including Danny Kaye, Dick Van Dyke, Leonard Bernstein, Barbra Streisand, and Neil Diamond. He has arranged music for several television series and serves as Vice President of creative development for Disney on Ice, having arranged all the music for the Disney on Ice shows, which he also writes and directs. Listen to this self-deprecatory charming man tell delightful stories of a life spent with music and theater like the ironic reason he taught himself to play piano.

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  • Interview with Director Chuck Smith – Having Our Say

    4-30-18 Interview

    5-7-18 As a boy Chuck Smith felt his family’s distress when his uncle, a Merchant Marine, was lost at sea. Chuck decided that he wanted to matter as much as his beloved uncle and, as soon as possible, enlisted in the Marines, believing that he would spend his life in the service. After two tours Chuck decided to check out civilian life but he found it boring and was just about to re-up when friends asked him to stand in for an actor who had dropped out of a play which was just about to. Chuck had no experience of, or even any interest in the theater – in fact he was insulted to be to be asked – after all he was “a military man!” But he agreed to help out his friends. The reaction he got from the audience when he came out for his bow changed his life. Today Chuck, is a resident director at Chicago’s prestigious Goodman Theater where he is currently directing Having Our Say and a freelance director anywhere that African American theater is growing. Listen to this extraordinary man tell his unusual story.

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  • Interview with Actor, Dancer, Singer, Writer, Educator Marie Thomas-Foster

    5-14-18 Interview
    5-14-18 Marie Thomas-Foster knew by the time she was twelve years old that she didn’t want to follow in her families tradition – and become a teacher – she wanted to perform. She began taking dance lessons as soon as she could and convinced her friends to create “shows” in which they sang and danced. She misled her mother into thinking she was majoring in Education when she was actually studying Theater. And her determination paid off as her career has taken her to roles on Stage and Screen (big and little). But apparently the power of her early training never quite left her as she also taught theater at the City College of New York and created Theater Workshop where she gave hundreds of youngsters and opportunity to learn to sing and dance and act. Today she is staring in Having Her Say at the Goodman Theater in Chicago directed by Chuck Smith.

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  • Interview with Jason Cannon – director of Constellations

    3-12-18 Interview

    A self-described “multi-hyphenate” Jason Cannon is the quintessential theater professional. A union actor, union director, published playwright, stage manager, set designer, and educator, Jason’s title as Associate Artist at Florida Studio Theater, does not begin to describe his duties. In addition to all the jobs I mentioned he is also responsible for new play development, mentoring the acting apprentices, and teaching classes in everything from Playwriting to Shakespeare. Listen to Jason describe the ironic way he discovered the path that was definitely meant for him, and describe “Constellations,” the unusual and compelling play he recently directed for Florida Studio Theater

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  • Interview with Director Ashley Teague

    2-26-16 Interview
    2-26-18 Director Ashley Teague was born a director. As a small child she instructed her mother to let her enter Kindergarten on her own, and take her to an audition. Ashley knew instinctively that the theater was her place, but somehow she never felt the commitment/passion that others seemed to describe, until she saw a production which showed her what she was meant to do She abandoned a lucrative and prestigious career doing promotion for Hollywood movies, took a whopping pay cut, and created her own company where she does work that has meaning. Listen to this vivacious, interesting woman talk about her life choices, come to see her direction of The Rehearsal – the current production of the Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training – and listen to Sharon Lesley’s review of the show.

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  • Interview with Dancer, Singer, Director, Writer Carole Schweid

    10-17-17 Interview

    2-17-18 The multi-talented Carole Schweid began taking dance classes at six and continued studying through the grueling program at Julliard. But by then she had already discovered her interest in and talent for acting and singing, and her passion for plays. Listen to the delightful story of how she got her first Broadway show – Minnie’s Boys, and the life changing experience of being part of the company of the iconic show A Chorus Line. But performing was not enough for Carole and in addition to raising her two sons, Carole and her partner Nancy Diamond created the hugely-successful Play with Your Food, a truly unique theater experience, and the basis for her newly published book Staged Readings – Magic. Listen to Carole’s funny, charming, disarming story, hear her describe how she went from someone who was “dancing from the minute she could walk,” to the singer, actor, writer, director, choreographer, producer, and author she became and see the flyer below describing a book everyone in or interested in theater should own. #chorusline #playwithyourfood #stagedreadings

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  • Interview with Actor, Writer, Director George Tynan Crowley

    1-22-18 Interview

    1-22-18 3-9-16 George Tynan Crowley had a mystical experience at the age of 7 when he spontaneously volunteered to read the prayer at communion and knew that he was meant to “speak out.” From then on he followed this path to speak out by becoming an actor, director, writer, and producer. Listen to this charming, articulate man talk about his work in theater and film, his belief in the power of theater to transform lives and his personal philosophy of life. And come see him Heisenberg the current production at Florida Studio Theater

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  • Interview with Director/Choreographer Josh Rhodes

    11-28-17 Interview
    11-28-17 In my 500th show I am airing an interview with dancer, singer, actor and Broadway director/choreographer Josh Rhodes who is in Sarasota directing his sixth show for the Asolo Repertory Theater; the stand out production of Evita. Listen to this charming story of a man who was drawn to musicals as a 5 year old boy, who dedicated his life to becoming the very best performer he could possibly be and was rewarded for his talent and his diligence with the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Choreography, and the Astaire Award as well as nominations for the Drama Desk and LA Critics Circle Awards and a career in which he never had to have a straight job!

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  • Interview with the extraordinary Wayne Adams Part 2

    12-12-17 Interview

    12-12-17 Part – 2 In this second part of my interview, Wayne Adams continues to relate his remarkable life. Listen to him describe his delightful meeting with legendary acting teacher Maggie Flannigan; and how his production of Ralph Pape’s Say Goodnight, Gracie directed by Austin Pendleton, resulted in his determination to bring Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company to Broadway; first in the production of True West with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise and then in the Lincoln Center production of And a Nightingale Sang with , Joan Allen. Wayne says “I’m interested in being the human being that I am,” and he reminds us that “life is taking chances, not doing what someone else thinks you should do but doing from yourself honestly according to your own instincts.” Listen and be inspired.

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  • Interview with the extraordinary Wayne Adams Part 1

    12-5-17 Interview

    12-5-17 – Part 1 – Actor, Director, Broadway Producer, Lighting Designer, Art Gallery Owner waiter, server in an upscale tie store and more, octogenarian Wayne Adams did everything with passion, commitment and panache. Adopted by an extraordinary couple who wanted him to experience everything and encouraged him to “be himself, and to take responsibility for everything he attempted,” Wayne has done just that. A musician, an artist and an actor.As a boy, Wayne majored in commercial design and minored in history of architecture at Ohio University, and although he never took a “theater course” he was in 11 productions during his four years at school with the result that when he graduated he knew that after his mandated stint in the air force he would go off to NY to pursue a career as an actor. Listen to the remarkable diverse jobs he tackled – all with the same commitment to excellence and hear how he discovered “what it really means to be an actor.”

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  • Interview with dancer, actor, singer, author Carole Schweid

    10-17-17 Interview

    10-17-18 The multi-talented Carole Schweid began taking dance classes at six and continued studying through the grueling program at Julliard. But by then she had already discovered her interest in and talent for acting and singing, and her passion for plays. Listen to the delightful story of how she got her first Broadway show – Minnie’s Boys, and the life changing experience of being part of the company of the iconic show A Chorus Line. But performing was not enough for Carole and in addition to raising her two sons, Carole and her partner Nancy Diamond created the hugely-successful Play with Your Food, a truly unique theater experience, and the basis for her newly published book Staged Readings – Magic. Listen to Carole’s funny, charming, disarming story, hear her describe how she went from someone who was “dancing from the minute she could walk,” to the singer, actor, writer, director, choreographer, producer, and author she became.

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  • Interview with actress Kim Crow in Doublewide at FST

    8-2-16 Interview

    8-15-17 Kim Crow is a working professional actress/writer and director in theatre, broadcast television, film and commercials. She was nominated for an Emmy for her work in ‘Echoes from the Holocaust’ and a Florida Arts & Culture Individual Artist grant award winner and was Co-founder of Twickenham Repertory Company (1979) now celebrating its 34th season as “Theatre Huntsvile. She is a member of Actor’s Equity, AFTRA/SAG, and ISDN. As a voice actress her voice-over skills are internationally recognized, most notably she is affectionately known to US Defense airplanes pilots as ‘Bitching Betty.” Hers was the first voice ever to be digitized and was the first used in US Defense and NASA applications, including the F-15, F-16, F-18 and AVAB, as well as the STS (Space Shuttle). Listen to this charming, talented woman describe her certainty in the eighth grade that she not only wanted to be an actress, but most particularly a “classical actress.” Listen to the charming story she tells of the moment she told her mother what she wanted to be when she grew up. And come to see her touching, perfect portrayal of Coral the steely matriarch with the heart of gold in Stephen Spotswood’s poignant play Doublewide, now playing at Florida Studio Theater.

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  • Interview with Director Brendon Fox

    8-2-16 Interview

    7-18-17 Brendon Fox was always interested in music, theater and literature, but it was in Jr. High School that he had the experiences which would define the rest of his life – listen to Brendon describe his father’s moving response to his performance. As much as he liked acting Brendon discovered that he also really liked directing – hear him describe the curious and serendipitous way his directing career got its start. Brendon’s path took him from Northwestern University to the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, then to Los Angeles and a Masters in Directing at UCLA, and a teaching position at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training in Sarasota FL where he directed a production of The Aliens. After four years away Brendon is back directing Alan Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking – the first production of the Conservatory’s Dog Days of Summer.

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  • Interview with actor, director, singer, dancer Michael Marotta

    6-20-17 Interview

    6-13/20-17 Actor, director, singer, dancer Michael Marotta knew from the age of seven what he wanted to do. He can still feel the intense pleasure he got from his first role as Santa, which he got because he was the only child who could memorize the names of all the reindeer. And watching the movie Tea for Two over and over on the Million Dollar Movie cemented his certainty that performing was his path. Having decided very early in life what he was meant to do Michael has never wavered. When you see him in Burt and Me, currently playing at Florida Studio Theater, you can see that he made the right decision. Listen to this charming, talented man talk about a life dedicated to bringing pleasure to audiences, while doing what he loves. And get a preview of some of the Burt Bacharach songs you will hear in the show

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  • Interview with writer, director, educator, Brad Battersby Part 1

    5-30-17Interview

    5-30-17 Part 1
    Emulating his architect father, Bradley Battersby began drawing as a very small child but it was his 7th grade art teacher who showed him the potential magic of film. Listen to this dedicated, passionate man talk about how he and his father communicated with blocks, and describe the innovative, out of the box experience his art teacher provided for her class – the experience which turned Brad into a film maker. In the first part of our two part interview follow the twists and turns of his career as he pursued his dream of becoming a film maker and making the perfect film.

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  • Interview with Director Jesse Joou

    2-14-17 Interview

    2-14-17 Director Jesse Jou is in Sarasota for the second time – this time – directing The Drunken City, for the students at the FSU-Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Jesse is an alumnus of the Cherry Lane Mentor Project, the Drama League’s Directors Project, the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and the Civilians R&D Group. He received his MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama and is currently on faculty at the School of Theatre & Dance, Texas Tech University. While many believe that in order to succeed in life you must have a goal; know where you’re going and exactly how to get there. Jesse simply took the next step when it appeared and remarkably found himself exactly where he should be. He was thirty when he left his straight, well paying, comfortable job and went to Graduate School to study Directing. Listen to this introspective, interesting man describe a path that may not have been right for others, but was exactly right for him. And hear him describe the unexpected nuances in his current project.

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  • Interview with film/video producer Mark Palmer

    1-3-17 Interview

    1-3-16 Mark Palmer defies definition. Equally interested in shooting guns and film, Mark relentlessly pursued all of his very varied interests. The military intrigued him because was decisive and he was a natural shot, scoring almost perfectly at the firing range. The theater drew him – initially because that was where the girls were – but it retained his interest by giving him things to design and build. Mark was, and continues to be fascinated by everything that creates pictures, listen to his story of shooting regattas from a plane. He went to film school and studied photography and video soaking up all the information he was given. Today putting it all together Mark is Mars Vision a video and film Production Company, where like a general (otherwise known as the Director) he helps people create their vision.

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  • Interview with Andre Malaev-Babel

    8-2-16 Interview

    12/13 /16 Andrei Maleav-Babel is a Russian Immigrant. The son and grandson of writers and artists, Andrei wrote musicals and directed his parent’s friends in his plays, by the time he was 10 or 12. Luckily coming of age as Perestroika was occurring in Russia, Andrei was able to start his own theater as a very young man. Barely able to speak English, he met, courted and married an American sociology student and became a Professor of Acting at the prestigious FSU Conservatory for Actor Training, one of the top ten actor training companies in the United States. Listen to him tell his amazing story and talk about his direction of the Conservatory’s production of Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge,” opening on Dec 27th

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  • Interview for Bell Book and Candle

    8-2-16 Interview

    8-9-16 Bell, Book and Candle at the Players Theater

    Although always a “dramatic” child – acting out scenes from TV and making up stories, it wasn’t until her middle school teacher’s extremely positive reaction to the pantomime she’d created and performed, that Helen Holliday, realized her “passion.” From then on she knew that she was going to be an actor, and although her parents would have preferred another occupation for their “dramatic” daughter, they knew, as she knew that nothing was going to stop her. Listen to Helen describe how her complete “confidence” in her ability drove her and how that ability created a lifetime of performing, direction, stage managing and anything and everything that had to do with the theater. And come she her direction of Bell, Book and Candle at the Players.

    Ann Gundersheimer knew from a very young age that she wanted to be an actor; she can still recite a piece she performed in elementary school. Her father, a charismatic lecturer, inadvertently encouraged this impulse by sharing his love of oratory with his daughter. But her parents frowned on the idea of her having a career on the stage so Ann majored in English instead of theater in college, although she “acted all the time,” and then got her Master’s Degree in theater. But her life took several other turns so she wasn’t able to purse her passion for acting until she retired. And now she is finally able to act as often as she is cast, which is fortunately quite a lot. Listen to this thoughtful, talented woman talk about her life and come to see here as one of the larger than life characters in the Players production of Bell, Book and Candle

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