Director

  • Interview with Chuck Smith

    1-27-15 Audio Interview

    As a boy director 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 open a local Community Theater. 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, who is dedicated to expanding the reach of African American theater, is a resident director at Chicago’s prestigious Goodman Theater and is a freelance director anywhere that African American theater is growing. Currently he directed a production of Knock me a Kiss written by his friend playwright Charles Smith, for the Westcoast Black Theater Troupe.. Listen to this unusual man tell his unusual story, and come out to see this interesting play which runs through February 8th

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  • Interview with Michael Newton-Brown

    1-6-15 – Audio Interview

    Michael Newton-Brown’s Dad was a high school track coach who put a pole vault in his hands and said jump (listen to Michael’s reaction to that) and tried to interest him in golf. But, a deeply creative person, Michael was drawn to and consequently learned everything there is to know about making theater happen. There were many twists and turns in Michael’s path. He found himself in the middle of several violent eruptions in the 1960’s. He went on the road with the newly discovered Bette Midler and Barry Manilow. And luckily for Sarasota FL he finally found a home there. He is currently directing Cabaret for the Players Theater. Listen to this thoughtful, knowledgeable man talk about his life and career, about the ways the musical Cabaret has changed over the years and why he chose to direct the version he has chosen – also hear a cut from the Broadway cast album of this iconic show.

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  • Memorial to Jimmy Hoskins

    12-30-14 Memorial to Jimmy Hoskins – Audio Interview

    Dancer, choreographer, movement coach, director, painter, writer, storyteller, teacher, cook, Jimmy Hoskins was member on the of the Penn State University theater faculty for 10 years, professor emeritus of theater at Florida State University, staff choreographer for the Asolo Repertory Theatre for 45 years, visiting choreographer at Florida Studio Theater, The Golden Apple, the Sarasota Opera, the Banyan Theater, the Venice Theatre and the Players Theatre and adjunct faculty member of the Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, following his long and distinguished career in New York, California, Texas, Mexico and Paris.

    He wrote three books. “The Dances of Shakespeare,” for which he also did the illustrations; intended for dancer’s, choreographers and directors but which could also be understood by a lay audience. And his two book irreverent and delightful memoir “Our Hearts were Khaki and Gay,” and “No Fairies, No Magic.”
    Greg Leaming of The Asolo Conservatory says “He very strongly connected to his students as a friend, mentor and teacher. What he brought into the room was an infectious spirit and a love of the art form.” Richard Hopkins of Florida Studio Theater says “In an age before political correctness, in a society that all too frequently rejected people who were different, Jimmy was proud to be gay. He was adept at teaching us straight guys how to relax with the gay guys, how to revel in our differences, and how to appreciate the depth of our similarities.

    He was, as Carl Meyer his beloved partner of 19 years says, a “Renaissance man.” But for me the most enduring memories of Jimmy will be of his sweetness and his generosity. Jimmy was always giving – even when he was suffering he never burdened others with his distress. I was lucky enough to be one of the legions of people who benefited directly from his talent and his willingness to give it selflessly and joyfully. My life is changed forever by both what I learned from Jimmy and how he taught it.

    In 2011 the Asolo established the Jimmy Hoskins Visiting Artist Chair for Stage Movement and Dance, an endowed fund that brings guest artists in to work with conservatory students.

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  • Interview with Rob Ruggiero

    11-11-14 – Interview

    When he was eight years old Rob Ruggiero would make up stories, corral his cousins, costume and rehearse them and put on performances for his large Italian family. He instinctively knew who he was and what he wanted to do with his life – but like so many of us, he forgot. Luckily in his high school senior year Rob, already a disco dancer was asked to dance in a production of Oklahoma and he says that it was there that he “found his place, his people, his family.” Still, while he knew that the theater was his path, he didn’t discover his role in it until he took his first directing class in his senior year in college and remembered his eight year old passion for creating theater by directing. In addition to a prodigious free lancing career as one of the few directors to earn national recognition for his work in both straight plays and musicals, Rob is the producing artistic director of theater works in Hartford CT. The only director to have received four Kevin Kline Awards (2 for Best Direction of a Musical (Urinetown and Ella) and two for Best Direction of a play (Take Me Out and The Little Dog Laughed), he is in Sarasota FL to direct his fourth production for the Asolo Repertory Theatre Co, this time and intimate production of the Roger’s and Hammerstein musical classic South Pacific. Listen to this charming, ebullient, delightful man talk about his circuitous path to the place he calls home.

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  • Interview with Harry Bryce Part 2

    10-28-2014 Audio Interview

    Poet, Dancer, Choreographer, Actor, Director, Harry Bryce is the former artistic director of Memphis Black Repertory Theater, and creator of the Harry Bryce Dance Company and Choreographer in residence for Vinnette Carroll’s theater co, taught dance and theater at Atlanta’s Morehouse and Spellman colleges Harry says that he came out of the womb dancing. And when you talk to him you can well believe it. Wise beyond his years Harry began writing poetry (although he didn’t know it was poetry) when he was a young boy in order to “stay sane.” He couldn’t take ballet lessons like his older sister because boys simply didn’t do that; but when she came home from her lesson his sister would take him into the back yard and do the lesson again for him. By the time they were ten years old Harry and his sister were a popular dance act appearing at local weddings and events. Listen to this exuberant, reflective man talk about his life and his work – which is currently directing the West Coast Black Theater Troupe’s ground breaking production of the comedy horror rock musical Little Shop of Horrors.

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  • Interview with Harry Bryce Part 1

    10-21-14 Audio Interview

    Poet, Dancer, Choreographer, Actor, Director, Harry Bryce is the former artistic director of Memphis Black Repertory Theater, and creator of the Harry Bryce Dance Company and Choreographer in residence for Vinnette Carroll’s theater co, taught dance and theater at Atlanta’s Morehouse and Spellman colleges Harry says that he came out of the womb dancing. And when you talk to him you can well believe it. Wise beyond his years Harry began writing poetry (although he didn’t know it was poetry) when he was a young boy in order to “stay sane.” He couldn’t take ballet lessons like his older sister because boys simply didn’t do that; but when she came home from her lesson his sister would take him into the back yard and do the lesson again for him. By the time they were ten years old Harry and his sister were a popular dance act appearing at local weddings and events. Listen to this exuberant, reflective man talk about his life and his work – which is currently directing the West Coast Black Theater Troupe’s ground breaking production of the comedy horror rock musical Little Shop of Horrors.

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  • Interview with Jen Wineman

    10-14-14 – Audio Interview

    When Jen Wineman was in the first or second grade she played a game in her head. In it she pretended that other people were watching her and she would perform as though a camera was filming her actions. To this end she observed others and copied movements and behaviors that she thought would look good on film. This was undoubtedly great training for a young woman who would become a theater director! So although one of her first loves was gymnastics – she planned to compete in the Olympics – and she also toyed with the idea of becoming a paleontologist or a micro biologist, theater won out. Listen to Jen tell her story and talk about the unique version of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream which she is directing for the FSU Conservatory for Actor Training, and listen to one of the surprising songs they are using in this production.

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  • Interview with actor and director Jeffrey Kin

    9-9-14– Audio Interview

    Jeffrey Kin is a sextuple threat! He sings, he dances, he acts, he writes, he directs, and he produces with talent, skill and joy. Luckily for us he brings all of this knowledge and skill to his position as the Artistic Director of Sarasota’s community theater – The Players. A farm boy who discovered as a small child that he was a performer, listen to him talk about how he discovered that, and pursued his chosen field with a vengeance. Listen to this charming, dedicated, funny man talk about his life, his work and the recreation of the hilarious, back by popular demand production of Lend Me A Tenor which opens on Sept 10th.

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  • Interview with Scott Wooten

    Sept 2, 2014 Audio Interview

    Actor, stage manager, director, playwright T.Scott Wooten is a very uncommon phenomenon – a working theater professional. Todd Olsen, (previously the Producing Artistic Director at American Stage Theater Co in St. Petersburg Florida, currently Executive Director of the Columbia Festival of the Arts in Maryland) hired Scott right out of college as an intern at American Stage and told him that if he developed multiple skill sets he would always work. Apparently Todd was right. Scott stayed at American Stage “doing everything,” for nine years before going off to ply his trade at other theaters around the country. Currently Scott directs one play a year at American Stage and this year it is The Chosen, a companion piece to My Name is Asher Lev, which he directed last year. Scott believes that theater is about demonstrating our “human dignity,” and that The Chosen is a perfect example.

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  • Audio Interview with Steve Binder – Part 2 (re-run)

    August 26, 2014 Audio Interview with Steve Binder – Part 2 (re-run)

    Producer, Director Steve Binder has worked with virtually everyone in every entertainment venue – Film, TV, Recordings; He courageously refused to allow the moment that Petula Clark touched Harry Belafonte as they sang a duet on her special to be deleted – thereby breaking the color line on TV. He is famous for The T.A.M.I. Show one of the top five Rock and Roll films ever made, which included performance by Chuck Berry, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Leslie Gore, Mick Jagger and the Stones, The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and even more famous for his direction of the Elvis Presley Comeback Special. All this and more in a career which he never intended to enter. Listen to this funny, passionate, talented man tell the story of how he lucked into the work of his life – certainly the work he was meant to do.

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  • Audio Interview with Steve Binder – Part 1 (re-run)

    August 19, 2014 – Audio Interview with Steve Binder – Part 1 (re-run)

    Producer, Director Steve Binder has worked with virtually everyone in every entertainment venue – Film, TV, Recordings; He courageously refused to allow the moment that Petula Clark touched Harry Belafonte as they sang a duet on her special to be deleted – thereby breaking the color line on TV. He is famous for The T.A.M.I. Show one of the top five Rock and Roll films ever made, which included performance by Chuck Berry, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Leslie Gore, Mick Jagger and the Stones, The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and even more famous for his direction of the Elvis Presley Comeback Special. All this and more in a career which he never intended to enter. Listen to this funny, passionate, talented man tell the story of how he lucked into the work of his life – certainly the work he was meant to do.

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  • Interview with Mark Clayton Southers

    July 22, Audio Interview

    Director Mark Clayton Southers is an award winning playwright, poet, photographer, scenic designer, theatrical producer and stage director. He is the founder and producing artistic director of the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company. But he discovered his passion for theater late and mostly by accident. Working as a photographer he shot stills for theatrical productions but never stayed to see the play; it was “just not his thing.” While videotaping August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom he finally understood “the power of theater.” Years later his cousin asked him to stand in for an actor who was temporarily unavailable; that actor lost his job and Mark began a new career. Dedicated to giving his family all that they needed, Mark managed to balance his “good paying work” in the Steel Industry with his passion to pursue theater. Listen to this serious, multi- talented, self-deprecating man talk about his creation of a rich, diverse and satisfying life.

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  • Interview with Harry Bryce – Part 2

    4-29-14 Audio Interview Part 2

    Poet, Dancer, Choreographer, Actor, and Director Harry Bryce says that he came out of the womb dancing. And when you talk to him you can well believe it. Precocious and wise beyond his years Harry began writing poetry (although he didn’t know it was poetry) when he was a young boy in order to “stay sane.” Curious and observant as few are, Harry began to notice everything. It became important to him to be “precise,” so he recognized the variation in the hues of different colors – and wondered about what happened to a seed. He couldn’t take ballet lessons like his older sister because ”boys didn’t do that;” but when she came home from her lesson his sister would take him into the back yard and do the lesson again for him. By the time they were ten years old Harry and his sister were a popular dance act appearing at local weddings and events. Harry went on to have a varied and productive career as the artistic director of Memphis Black Repertory Theater and creator of the Harry Bryce Dance Company, Choreographer in Residence for the prestigious Vinnette Carroll’s theater company and as professor of dance and theater at Atlanta’s Morehouse and Spellman colleges. Currently Harry is directing the Westcoast Black Theater Troupe of Sarasota’s production of Bubbling Brown Sugar. Listen to this charming, delightful and reflective man talk about his career and the importance of helping young people who have been discouraged to find and nurture their particular talents. And come to see his direction of the scintillating Bubbling Brown Sugar.

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  • Interview with Harry Bryce

    Audio Interview April 22, 2014

    Poet, Dancer, Choreographer, Actor, and Director Harry Bryce says that he came out of the womb dancing. And when you talk to him you can well believe it. Precocious and wise beyond his years Harry began writing poetry (although he didn’t know it was poetry) when he was a young boy in order to “stay sane.” Curious and observant as few are, Harry began to notice everything. It became important to him to be “precise,” so he recognized the variation in the hues of different colors – and wondered about what happened to a seed. He couldn’t take ballet lessons like his older sister because ”boys didn’t do that;” but when she came home from her lesson his sister would take him into the back yard and do the lesson again for him. By the time they were ten years old Harry and his sister were a popular dance act appearing at local weddings and events. Harry went on to have a varied and productive career as the artistic director of Memphis Black Repertory Theater and creator of the Harry Bryce Dance Company, Choreographer in Residence for the prestigious Vinnette Carroll’s theater company and as professor of dance and theater at Atlanta’s Morehouse and Spellman colleges. Currently Harry is directing the West Coast Black Theater Troupe of Sarasota’s production of Bubbling Brown Sugar. Listen to this charming, delightful and reflective man talk about his career and the importance of helping young people who have been discouraged to find and nurture their particular talents. And come to see his direction of the scintillating Bubbling Brown Sugar.

     

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  • Interview with Bob Devin Jones

    2-11-14 – Interview

    Bob Devin Jones seemed to luck into the career to which he has given his life – theater. He followed in his big sister Renee’s footsteps by enrolling in a theater arts program in Jr High School; then he saw his friend on stage in a play and thought “I can do that,” so he auditioned for and got a role as a black Santa in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and the audience’s response to his appearance sealed his fate. He studied at Loyola Marymount University, the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. After graduating, he traveled the country as an actor and director. Bob has written more than a dozen plays including Uncle Bend’s: A Home-Cooked Negro Narrative, Manhattan Casino and Further Down the Road. He has made his living acting and directing. Bob and Dave Ellis created Studio@620 a creative space. Currently he has directed a wonderful production of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running for the American Stage Theater in St. Petersburg Florida. Listen to this thoughtful men describe his very special approach to directing, and hear Pam Wiley’s review of the play.

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  • Interview with Rob Ruggiero

    11-26-13 – Audio Interview

    When he was eight years old Rob Ruggiero would make up stories, corral his cousins, costume and rehearse them and put on performances for his large Italian family. He instinctively knew who he was and what he wanted to do with his life – but like so many of us, he forgot. Luckily in his high school senior year Rob, already a disco dancer, was asked to dance in a production of Oklahoma and he says that it was there that he “found his place, his people, his family.” Still, while he knew that the theater was his path, he didn’t discover his role in it until he took his first directing class in his senior year in college and remembered his eight year passion for creating theater by directing. In addition to a prodigious free lancing career as one of the few directors to earn national recognition for his work in both straight plays and musicals, Rob is the producing artistic director of TheaterWorks in Hartford CT. The only director to have received four Kevin Kline Awards (2 for Best Direction of a Musical (Urinetown and Ella) and two for Best Direction of a play (Take Me Out and The Little Dog Laughed), he is in Sarasota FL to direct his version of Show Boat, which he created for the Goodspeed Opera House, and which garnered him his fifth Connecticut Critics Circle award, to open the 2014 season at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Listen to this charming, ebullient, delightful man discover his deeper connection to Show Boat and talk about his circuitous path tp the place he calls home.

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  • Interview with Wayne Adams Part 1

    11-5-13 – Audio Interview 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 Tom Aposporos

    10-29-13 – Audio Interview

    Tom Aposporos still remembers portraying the planet Mercury in his first grade class play. By fifth grade, Tom knew he wanted to be an actor and his parents made it possible for him to take acting lessons. Luckily, for Tom, there were professional actors with whom he could study and he attributes his success in all of his varied careers to that training at a young age. At age 20 Tom was acting professionally but not sure of the stability of such a career. He followed his father’s example and went into the real estate business. Very quickly, he also entered public life, elected to the Poughkeepsie, New York Common Council at age 25, then Mayor of his city two years later. Following four terms as Mayor, the shareholders of Progressive Bank, Inc., a publicly traded bank holding company, elected him to their Board of Directors and he later served as Chairman of the Board. However, Tom never lost his passion for acting and the theater. One of the founders of the Theatre Odyssey, based here on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Tom works steadily as an actor and director, and most recently appeared in Banyan Theater Company’s critically acclaimed production of Time Stands Still. He also writes a weekly column on the life and people of the local barrier islands for the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

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  • Interview with Elliott Raines

    7-16-13 – Audio Interview

    Elliott Raines grew up in what says is “now called the East Village, but when I grew up was called a slum.” Second generation, born to parents who believed in giving their children a “well rounded education,” Elliott studied piano and music theory, spent a year at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and most of his high school years in Drama Club, chorus and plays. He got a BA in Theater and an MFA in Acting, taught acting at his alma mater, and had some success as an actor. However at age 28 Elliott realized that the thing he hated most was looking for work, and acting – no matter how successful you are – is always about looking for the next job. Having realized this Elliott promptly went to Law School. He spent a career in law – with forays into acting and directing. And now having retired is once more able to pursue his passion for the theater. Elliott is currently directing The Boys Next Door at the Players Theater.

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  • Interview with Meliss Kenworthy

    7-2-13 Audio Interview

    First a singer, then an actor and currently a director Meliss Kenworthy was the little girl with the loudest voice in her class. She fell in love with Opera as a very young child and pursued her passion for singing, until finally finding that where she really belonged was in Musical Theater, where her beautiful voice, acting ability and good looks made her a shoo-in. Currently she is expanding her reach by directing the Painting Churches the first play in the Banyan Summer Season – Listen to Meliss’s story and hear Sharon Lesley’s review of Painting Churches.

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