We bring together the very best about the stage that’s happening off-stage. From weekly podcasts to monthly book and movie selections, whether recent news or work from years ago, we look at theater as it’s explored in different media and take you behind the scenes as well to see works from the artists’ perspectives.
HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES:
Theater of War Productions: Live from the Greene Space is a groundbreaking new series that presents acclaimed actors performing live dramatic readings of long-form journalism for curated studio audiences at The Greene Space and global audiences on Zoom as a catalyst for authentic, community-driven dialogue about some of the most pressing issues of our time. Much like The Greene Space, the series will adopt a street-level focus and present a mix of pieces, both hot off the press and archived from the distant past, to create the conditions for dynamic conversations that surface the voices and insights of individuals and communities that are closest in proximity to the news.
Ann Roth is a revered 91-year-old costume designer in Hollywood, known for her work in theater and film for over half a century. She has collaborated with renowned directors and dressed many iconic characters, earning an Oscar for "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" in 2021. Her creativity and attention to detail have made her a legend in the industry. Roth's upcoming project includes playing a pivotal scene with Margot Robbie in the "Barbie" movie, directed by her friend Greta Gerwig. Despite her age, she continues to be an active force in the world of costume design, with a sharp eye for authenticity and specificity.
BOOK OF THE MONTH
Brian Selznick, the acclaimed author of New York Times #1 best selling books, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and Wonderstruck, here evokes the wondrous world of theater through his brilliant visual depiction of four generations of an extraordinary family of mesmerizing actors. In The Marvel‘s gripping prose coda, he follows a boy’s attempt to decipher the mystery of his connection to the fabled family. Artist Gail Gregg considers the genius of Brian Selznick as visual artist and compelling story creator.
MOVIE OF THE MONTH
A cult classic “dramedy:” To Be, Or Not To Be, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Carol Lombard and Jack Benny. Released in the middle of WWII, it celebrates the victory of artfulness — onstage and off — over power in telling the story of a Warsaw-based Polish theater group during the German occupation which uses theatrical skills to outwit Hitler’s troops. A Shakespearean signal becomes the key to the plot.
DOCUMENTARY OF THE MONTH
Andre Gregory: Before and After Dinner an intimate exploration of the life and work of trailblazing theatermaker Andre Gregory, directed by prize-winning documentarian Cindy Kleine, his wife. The movie takes its title from Gregory’s famed filmed conversation with Wallace Shawn, My Dinner With Andre. We are taken inside Gregory’s intense rehearsal process, following him as he explores many of the questions that his work asks, such as: where does art come from? Or, what is the role of the artist?
RADIO THEATER NOW
Radio theater is making a comeback! Series like Playing on Air and LA Theaterworks’ Radio Theatre stream original audio productions of plays. Playing on Air concentrates on short contemporary works by acclaimed playwrights such as Lynn Nottage and David Ives. LA Theaterworks produces recordings of classics by playwrights including Henrik Ibsen and Arthur Miller, as well as contemporary works by writers like Tom Stoppard and David Auburn. These on-air series can be downloaded as podcasts. Listening to the plays, voiced by such compelling actors as Tony winners Audra McDonald, Bill Irwin, Tonya Pinkins, Laura Linney and Bobby Cannavale brings a vital intimacy and connection to the works—enhancing onstage productions and in many cases making them ancillary.
AUDIOBOOK OF THE MONTH
An extraordinary literary work, Dear Mr. You renders the singular arc of a woman’s life through letters Mary-Louise Parker composes to the men, real and hypothetical, who have informed the person she is today. Beginning with the grandfather she never knew, the letters range from a missive to the beloved priest from her childhood to remembrances of former lovers to an homage to a firefighter she encountered to a heartfelt communication with the uncle of the infant daughter she adopted.
PODCAST OF THE WEEK
MacArthur Genius Grantee Basil Twist discusses on Gordon Cox’s Stagecraft the wondrous revival of Symphonie Fantastique at HERE Arts Center, where it debuted 20 years ago. Twist had premiered his genre-bending underwater puppet show to great acclaim, launching both his career and HERE Arts Center’s Dream Music Puppetry Program. After becoming an internationally renowned puppetry artist, Twist returns to his seminal work, performed in a 1,000 gallon water tank and accompanied by a live pianist playing Berlioz’s revered Symphonie Fantastique.