Playwright

  • Interview with Arthur Keyser – Before Steepletop

    8-20-18-23-18 Interview

    8/2018 Arthur Keyser is a playwright but he didn’t know it until he was eighty years old. Born to deaf parents who were unable to guide their children, Arthur and his brother had to find their own way. Arthur discovered and fell in love with theater “by accident” when he was fourteen, but never thought of writing for it. A voracious reader and naturally gifted writer he decided on the law as a career. In retirement he volunteered for a senior citizen acting company at the Players Theater. A director, having read something Arthur wrote, suggested that he write a play. With the diligence and attention to detail that made him a successful attorney, he “read every book he could find on the art of play writing.” And it paid off. Some 30- 50 plays later he is being performed all over the country. Now, as he approaches ninety, his play “Before Steepletop,” which won last year’s new play reading festival at the Players Theater, is running there from 8/21- 8/26.

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  • Interview with theater professional Monica Cross

    7-23-18 Interview

    8/6/18 Monica Cross’s mother loved to sew and she passed her love of creating costumes on to her daughter. But that was just the beginning of a life dedicated to all things theater for Monica. Today, as the Production Manager and Technical Director of the black box theater at Sarasota’s New College, she acts, directs, costumes, creates lights, sound and scenery and teaches. In her spare time she writes. Her first full-length play The Wonder of Our Stage, recently won the competition at the new play reading festival at the Players Theater and will be fully produced next season. Listen to Monica talk about her discovery that theater was where she belonged and her infectious passion for all the things she does there.

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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 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 Amanda McBroom, composer of “The Rose”

    8-8-17 Interview
    8-8-17 Actor, singer, songwriter, cabaret performer and playwright Amanda McBroom is best known for writing “The Rose” for which she won a Golden Globe Award and which was a number one hit all over the world for Bette Midler. Amanda then recorded it as did Amy Poehler, Jack Black, Barry Manilow, Judy Collins, Barbara Cook, LeAnn Rimes, Anne Murray, Harry Belafonte, Betty Buckley, Stephanie Mills, The Manhattan Transfer, Donny Osmond, Kurt Cobain, Nana Mouskouri, Conway Twitty and the Chipmunks. With her friend and longtime collaborator Michele Brourman, Amanda has written the lyrics for the Baby Dinosaurs in all of the 16 Universal Cartoon Series The Land Before Time. She’s written two original musicals Heartbeats based on her songs and Woman of Will, based on the female characters in William Shakespeare’s plays. She is currently releasing VOICES, her sixth recording on Gecko, the label she established in 1985. Listen to this exuberant, delightful, outrageous woman talk about creating a life filled with music, art, animals, and gardens; a perfect example of creativity in action

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  • Interview with Richard Strand

    12/22/15 Audio Interview

    Richard Strand didn’t plan to be a playwright. He wanted to direct a one act for a college exercise but didn’t want to wade through plays to find one, so he wrote his own. Students were not allowed to direct a play they’d written but Richard waited until the professor who instituted this policy went on sabbatical, and then directed his own play. That one act, called Harry and Sylvia, was easy to write and won several awards encouraging him to write more. Richard says that if that professor hasn’t gone on sabbatical he would be a playwright today. In this interesting interview Richard talks about play writing, play structure, where he learned to write and how and why he wrote Butler, currently running at Florida Studio Theater, which he never expected to get produced and surprised him by becoming his most successful play. Also listen to Sharon Lesley’s review of Butler, which will certainly encourage you to go and see it.

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  • Audio Interview with Katherine Michele Tanner

    6-30-15 Audio Interview with Katherine Michele Tanner

    Katherine Michele Tanner is an artist in the truest sense of the word. Raised by a family that encouraged all of the arts she was able to pursue every one of her passions. As a result she is an exceptional actress, dancer, musician (violin and piano), playwright/composer, singer and painter. Submerged in, and bouncing back and forth between her passions Katherine radiates a breathless exuberance and joy. Listen to this unique woman talk about her life which is brimming over with creativity and productivity and come see her extraordinary performance in The Amish Project at the Banyan Theater from 7/16-8/2.

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  • Audio Interview with David Lutken

    6/16/15 Interview

    David Lutken is anything but the charming hayseed he may appear. With a BA in the classics – mostly Greek – from Duke University (his father told him not to study something that would get him a job but to get an education, and by the way to study the “hardest thing they’d got” – would that we’d all had David’s Dad) and a graduate degree in acting at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. David is a skilled actor, musician, musical director and playwright, but primarily David is an entertainer. Like the epic poets he studied -Ovid, Vigril, Homer – and Woody Guthrie put David in front of an audience and put a guitar in his hand and sit back and enjoy yourself. Currently you can enjoy David in Woody Sez, a musical biography of Woody Guthrie which David wrote based on Woody’s writings as well as his music, at the request of Harold Leventhal – Woody’s manager. It is playing at the Asolo Repertory Theatre until June 21st. Listen to this unusual man talk about how he “evolved” into the multi-tasking artist he is and hear him sing his favorite Woody Guthrie song – Pretty Boy Floyd.

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  • Audio Interview with Diana Colson

    6-2-2015 Audio Interview

    Diana Colson is a teacher, an award winning film maker, a composer, a lyricist, the creator of musicals and children’s opera and an author. Although she was an accomplished pianist Diana believed that “if you’re married to an artist somebody better get that anchor job that has insurance…,” so she became the song and dance lady – aka the music teacher. She used her musical skills and her passion for musical theater to write musicals for her students. And she took advantage of her summers, while traveling the world with Frank and their children, to honor her every creative impulse. Listen to this exuberant, fiercely creative woman talk about her ability to juggle her teaching career, the raising of her children and her insistent creativity.

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  • Interview with Jason Cannon

    1-20-15 – Audio Interview

    Early on in his career Jason Cannon decided that you “can’t control who the director casts or what the producer produces and the more hat’s you wear the more often you get hired.” So today he is a union actor, a union director, member of sag-aftra, he has stage manager and design credits, he is a published playwright and an educator. And it was this diversity of skills which encouraged Florida Studio Theater to hire him as an Associate Artist where he directs new play development is mentor for the acting apprentice program and when appropriate appears on stage, as he does currently in the compelling 2 character play Dancing Lesson by Marc Germain.

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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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  • 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 Roxanne Fay

    9-17-13 Audio Interview

    Roxanne Fay fell in love with words when she was very young and participated in “forensics competitions” – the reading of poetry – in elementary school. Her love of “words that she wanted to say,” never left her and she relentlessly pursued those “nourishing words” as an actor and playwright, but it wasn’t an easy journey. Not accepted in to the BFA program at university and not accepted to the Asolo Conservatory program Roxanne persevered despite a “broken heart.” She attended the Burt Reynolds acting program (which in retrospect was the better choice for her), and has never looked back. Travelling to work in Hawaii, Chicago, New York, and Orlando and finally finding herself back home in St Petersburg Florida where she has been working steadily as an actor, playwright, and stage manager. Listen to her talk about the work she and her Blue Scarf collective partners have done, her extraordinary two part piece called Home Fires Burning, (which if you get a chance to see you shouldn’t miss), the one woman narrative she is writing about Mary Magdalene for which she won a grant, and her upcoming work in The Birds which will open on Oct 2nd at American Stage Theater in St Petersburg FL.

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  • Interview with Jo Morello

    8-13-13 — Audio Interview

    Jo Morello has always been a writer. She got her first job at 8 years old when, in the 3rd grade, she assigned to write the School Page for her parochial school newspaper. But Jo’s nature ran counter to the dictates of her culture, she wanted to do many things that the boys/men were allowed to do but the girls/women were not allowed to do; study medicine, get married when she wanted to. She confronted many obstacles as she tried to be who she really is. She had many “fights.” She won some and she lost some but she never stopped fighting. Listen to the many identities Jo carved out for herself, including the most recent, that of playwright for which she is receiving a lot of recognition. And come to a reading of her play Ma, Moonflowers and Me, a comedy for people old enough to know better at the Players Community Theater on August 13th.

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  • Interviews with Beth Duda and Michael McKeever

    7-30-13 – 2 Audio Interviews First Beth Duda and second Michael McKeever

    Beth Duda still remembers being the tightrope walker in her kindergarten circus show, and cajoling her non artistic family to participate in and be the audience for the shows she relentlessly insisted on creating. But she followed her practical upbringing and became a teacher instead of a performer, until the twists and turns of her life made it possible for her to pursue/combine both of her passions, today she is the Director of Education and Resident playwright at Florida Studio Theater. Listen to this delightful, enthusiastic woman tell her charming story.

    Multi-talented, Michael McKeever decided that he had a better chance of making money as an artist – something he was very good at and enjoyed doing – rather than in the theater where he “soul really was.” He majored in advertising design and did in fact make “stupid money” as an art director. But when life gave him opportunity and he jumped on it. He wrote his first play at 30 years old, and his “soul” must have been right because in the 15 years since he wrote that first play, Michael’s written 21 plays and all of them, including the first one, have been produced. Listen to this exuberant, passionate man talk about the joy of finally being what he was always meant to be. And come to Florida Studio Theater where his play funny, thoughtful, compelling play South Beach Babylon is currently running.

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  • Interview with Austin Pendleton – rerun

    Blyth Danner and Austin Pendleton4-9-13 – Interview with Austin Pendleton

    I start this interview by saying “I am here with the one and only Austin Pendleton.” This is not a casual or frivolous comment. Nominated for a Tony for his direction of Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes, winner of a Drama desk and an Obie award, actor, director, playwright, producer, teacher and inspiration, Austin Pendelton is one of a kind; a singleton. Unique, special, extraordinary and esteemed by his peers (listen to Meryl Streep and Olympia Dukakis talk about him), Austin has somehow managed to stay under the radar of fame. His love affair with the theater began when at seven years old when he snuck down stairs to watch his town’s fledgling community theater group rehearse in his living room. But young Austin denied his interest in acting to his friends, he says “who would believe that a nerdy kid, who wore glasses and stuttered so badly could be an actor.” Apparently Austin did. Apparently Austin was right. While not able to stop him, his stutter remained an intractable stumbling block on the path to his beloved goal – working in the theater. But Austin is not only incredibly talented, he is also incredibly tenacious; listen to the determination with which he worked to overcome his stutter and so become, while not famous, a professional who is always working, always in demand. Check out Austin Pendleton Theatre Credits and Austin Pendleton – Filmography to see what I mean.

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  • Interview with Austin Pendleton – Part 2

    10/2/2012 Interview Part 2

    In the second half or our interview Austin Pendelton talks with humor and candor about his struggles with stuttering. How it helped him get – right out of college – his first role on Broadway; co-starring with the “breathtaking Harris” and “the amazing Jo Van Fleet” in Arthur Kopit’s enigmatic play “Oh Dad, Poor Dad.” Hear him describe the hilarious way he got the role, the ordeal of trying at the same time to, and not to stutter -which he believed was dragging the show down, and the kindness and generosity of director Jerome Robbins; who not only encouraged him to stay with it, but then cast him in “Fiddler on the Roof” – with Zero Mostel. Listen to the way he was coerced into his role in “My Cousin Vinnie,” and how that role in some way defined his career. Hear also about his time at the Hollins University and meeting Annie Glenn – the wife of astronaut and Senator John Glenn, who conquered a stuttering problem that was worse than Austin’s…

    If this is the first you have heard of him – take this opportunity to hear from this funny, sweet, accomplished, remarkable man. Watch the video, and donate to, the making of the Austin Pendleton Project, co-directed by Gene Gallerano and David H. Holmes. Donate here: http://www.indiegogo.com/austinpendleton

    [vimeo http://vimeo.com/47057982]

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  • Interview with Austin Pendleton – Part 1

    Blyth Danner and Austin Pendleton9/25/2012 Interview Part 1

    I start this interview by saying “I am here with the one and only Austin Pendleton.” This is not a casual or frivolous comment. Nominated for a Tony for his direction of Elizabeth Taylor in The Little Foxes, winner of a Drama desk and an Obie award,  actor, director, playwright, producer, teacher and inspiration, Austin Pendelton is one of a kind; a singleton.  Unique, special, extraordinary and esteemed by his peers (listen to Meryl Streep and Olympia Dukakis talk about him), Austin has somehow managed to stay under the radar of fame. His love affair with the theater began when at seven years old when he snuck down stairs to watch his town’s fledgling community theater group rehearse in his living room. But young Austin denied his interest in acting to his friends, he says “who would believe that a nerdy kid, who wore glasses and stuttered so badly could be an actor.” Apparently Austin did. Apparently Austin was right. While not able to stop him, his stutter remained an intractable stumbling block on the path to his beloved goal – working in the theater. But Austin is not only incredibly talented, he is also incredibly tenacious; listen to the determination with which he worked to overcome his stutter and so become, while not famous, a professional who is always working, always in demand. Check out Austin Pendleton Theatre Credits and Austin Pendleton – Filmography to see what I mean.

     

    If this is the first you have heard of him – take this opportunity to hear from this funny, sweet, accomplished, remarkable man. Watch the video, and donate to, the making of the Austin Pendleton Project, co-directed by Gene Gallerano and David H. Holmes.. Donate here: http://www.indiegogo.com/austinpendleton

    [vimeo http://vimeo.com/47057982]

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  • Interview with Joanna McClelland Glass

    7-17-12 Interview

    Joanna McClelland Glass is a writer. Her play “Play Memory” directed by the legendary Hal Prince was nominated for a Tony Award. Both of her novels were published and optioned for film and she adapted both of the screenplays. Woman Wanted was directed by and starred Kiefer Sutherland, Holly Hunter and Michael Moriarty. But Joanna’s heart is in the theatre and her playwriting credits are much too extensive to include here. With all this talent and skill one might assume that Joanna had a privileged childhood and lots of training. No! Joanna’s childhood included an illiterate mother and an alcoholic father, who sold everything not nailed down to pay for his liquor. True to the culture of her time Joanna married young, worked to send her husband to graduate school, had three children very close in age and settled into the role of traditional wife and mother. It was not until, approaching 40; as the divorced mother of 3 young children, that she seriously turned her attention to her writing. Having announced that she was going to “try to support this whole thing with her writing,” Joanna says she simply had to “get kids on the bus and sit at the desk and do something.” And without any training – she had to learn the rules of her trade on the job – that is exactly what she did. And the quantity and quality of what her work is quite extraordinary. Listen to this woman’s inspiring story.

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