When my daughter was in middle school, I was the PTA school volunteer of the year (quite literally). I volunteered every day for three years and developed deep respect and admiration for the teachers in that school who were celebrating student success daily.
In light of COVID-19, several theater teachers have let me know that they are using the RDU on Stage podcast as enrichment assignments for their students. A few have asked me for episode recommendations. Here is my list of RDU on Stage podcast episodes that might enhance your arts curriculum during this time of virtual learning.
Accessibility (Rethinking Theater)
Ep. 44: Disability Representation – Mickey Rowe was the first autistic actor to play Christopher Boone in the Tony Award-winning play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Talleri McRae is a theatre artist, educator, disability scholar and inclusion/access specialist on a mission to change the nation’s’ narrative about disability culture. The pair have teamed up as co-founders of National Disability Theatre. Hear what they have to say about their new venture and why representation onstage matters.
Ep. 4: A Life in the Theater with Ira David Wood III – Aside from being the Triangle’s Scrooge for over four decades in Theatre in the Park’s seasonal production of A Christmas Carol, Ira David Wood III has appeared on-screen with such stars as Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Neil Patrick Harris, Cliff Robertson, Matthew Modine, James Earl Jones, Burt Reynolds, and Louise Fletcher and is also the author of three books. This is a lovely conversation with David and his son Ira about their life in the theater.
Ep. 17: Hatch, Show, Print – Hatch, Show, Print is a historic, letterpress print shop nestled in The Country Music Hall of Fame. On this episode, we take a virtual field trip inside the Hatch, Show, Print studio and learn more about letterpress printing and show posters (like those printed exclusively for the Durham Performing Arts Center). There are also resource links and a photo gallery of the studio in the Episode Notes.
Ep. 13: Kahei Shum Mcrae – Ketti was Wake County’s first artist-in-residence and has designed costumes for several local theaters in the Triangle (and beyond).
Ep. 23: William Ivey Long – William is a six-time Tony Award winning costume designer with North Carolina roots. Last season, he designed the costumes for Beetlejuice and Tootsie (his 74th and 75th Broadway show consecutively). This season he has designed the costumes for Diana. This is a fascinating conversation about Triangle theater history (fun fact, he spent the first three years of his life living in a dressing room at Raleigh Little Theatre) and costume design. There is also a gallery on the RDU on Stage website with photos from my visit to William’s Soho studio in New York.
Ep. 27: Tony Award-winner Karen Ziemba – Hear what Tony Award-winner Karen Ziemba (CONTACT) has to say about music, dance, her first Broadway show, A CHORUS LINE, and of course, the North Carolina Theatre production of ANNIE.
Ep. 18: Shonica Gooden & Ellenore Scott – Bring It On, Hamilton, the most recent revival of CATS, the revival of Falsettos, and Head Over Heels, Little Shop of Horrors, and So You Think You Can Dance? are just a few of the credits these two powerhouse women have on their impressive resumes. Hear what they have to say about the evolution of dance on Broadway and so much more.
Ep. 31: Jason Robert Brown – The New York Times refers to Jason as “a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical.” Jason’s score for The Bridges of Madison County received two Tony Awards (for Best Score and Orchestrations). He also won a Tony Award for his work on Parade.
Ep. 14: The Godspell Experience – Hear what Carol de Giere, author of The Godspell Experience, has to say about the evolution of the show, the music, and Stephen Schwartz. Carol is Stephen Schwartz’s biographer and also wrote the book Defying Gravity.
Triangle Theater History
Ep. 10: 47 Years of NC Triangle Theater History with Roy Dicks – In addition to William Ivey Long’s insight on Triangle theater lore, Roy Dicks has been either working as a professional onstage or writing about the theater in the Triangle for over four decades. Hear what he has to say about Triangle theater history, where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Thinking Outside the Box (Theater Careers Off Stage)
In addition to the Hatch, Show, Print podcast episode mentioned above, I would also recommend the following episodes for students seeking careers in the arts but necessarily centerstage.
Ep. 9: Theater Criticism with Roy Dicks – Roy Dicks wrote theater criticism for the News & Observer for over 20 years and penned over 1200 reviews. Hear what he has to say about writing and the new age of theater criticism.
Ep. 58: A Candid Conversation with Laura Heywood – Self-proclaimed as Broadway’s biggest fan, Laura Heywood is perhaps Broadway’s biggest and brightest influencer. Also known as Broadway Girl NYC, she has turned her love of Broadway into a full time career. This is a wonderful conversation about Broadway fandom, audiences, and practicing positivity.
All podcast episodes are available to listen to free on Apple podcasts, Spotify, your favorite podcast provider, or this website.
There are a couple of other podcasts worth mentioning as good sources for enrichment materials. Both of these podcasts are produced locally in the Triangle.