By Hey Playwright
Hey PlaywrightAug 29, 2023
Lassoing Words with June Carryl
Tori and Mabelle talk with accomplished theater artist, June Carryl, about her transition from law to theater and beyond. June shares the turning point into playwriting with Paula Vogel and how she got bit by the acting bug. June discusses why words are crucial, how theatrical stories inspire change, and the joy of working with young audiences.
Full Circle Moments with James Vásquez
Tori and Mabelle talk with James Vásquez, Resident Artist of The Old Globe Theatre, about trading in his baseball glove for tap shoes at 12 years old. He talks about how his father deeply influenced his love of both the arts and baseball, and he shares his full circle moments from childhood to director at The Old Globe. He reveals why he loves being told “no,” why the tech process is his favorite part of directing, and his belief that artists should also be activists.
Real Spark with Hope Villanueva
Tori and Mabelle talk with Hope Villanueva about her launch into theater as a stage manager to her stint touring with the circus and beyond. Hope shares her strategies for balancing her various gigs–from writing, grad school, stage managing, dramaturgy, and her third season as the Literary Manager at Bay Street Theatre. Other topics include vomit drafts, toggling between stage and screen, and receiving feedback.
Generations to Come with Larissa FastHorse
Tori and Mabelle talk with Larissa FastHorse about her path from ballet to the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis to “The Thanksgiving Play” on Broadway. Larissa shares the details of her heart work with Indigenous communities and her radical inclusion process. Other topics include the Lakota Way, Indigenous Direction, writing for multigenerational audiences, and Larissa’s upcoming productions of “Peter Pan” and “For the People.”
2023 TYA/USA National Festival & Conference Recap
Recorded on the drive home, Tori and Mabelle talk all things Theatre for Young Audiences during an on-the-road debrief of the 2023 TYA/USA National Festival & Conference hosted by Childsplay in Tempe, Arizona.
Process Over Product with Keiko Green
Tori and Mabelle talk with Keiko Green about her two origin stories, as well as her journey from the NYU Experimental Theatre Wing to Seattle to UCSD. She shares how her musical about feral bunnies helped her land a writer’s residency at Seattle Rep and how “Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play” opened up doors in Hollywood. Keiko shares her process, why she values process over product, and how she includes emerging playwrights in development workshops of her plays. She also includes a detailed breakdown of why and how she wrote her thriller farce “Sharon.”
Forming Families with Gary Garrison
Tori and Mabelle talk with Gary Garrison about his triumphs and missteps on his journey into theater. He talks about the importance of saying “yes” to every opportunity, the protective armor of theater, and the lovely theatrical families that form during productions. He also shares a short history of 10-minute play festivals, his work as an educator and author, tips for play analysis and writing, and assigning each draft a task.
Civilization Building with Lauren Gunderson
In the Season 5 finale, Tori and Mabelle talk with Lauren Gunderson about finding her playwriting voice, the catalyst for her free online playwriting classes, and why she writes one impossible thing into every play. She also shares how theater helps people practice living and that “theater at its best reminds us how to be good in this world.”
Andy Lowe: Storyteller for Social Change
Tori and Mabelle talk with Andy Lowe, the Director of Production and Casting for East West Players, the longest running professional theater of color in the United States. Andy talks about his beginnings as a storyteller towards social change and how his volunteer activism with nonprofits led to his stint as Artistic Director of Asian American Rep Theatre at 19 years old. Other topics include anti-racism, his full-circle journey with the Plays by Young Writers contest, his career journey of building platforms to uplift fellow artists, and his role as a podcaster for Pod Squadron.
Franky D. Gonzalez Moves Forward with Hope
In their first episode of 2023, Tori and Mabelle talk with Franky D. Gonzalez about his writing rituals, the importance of community, and how a chance bus ride and kindness led to his writing stint on “13 Reasons Why.” He also shares his shift from writing plays to please others to writing plays for his son and introduces us to the people and stories that shaped his award-winning play, “Even Flowers Bloom in Hell, Sometimes.”
Playwriting From the Inside Out with Jacqueline Goldfinger
In the final episode of 2022, Tori and Mabelle recap the year and then talk with Jacqueline Goldfinger about their work as a playwright and educator. Jacqueline drops serious knowledge about writing without limits, finding a community that embraces and lifts up your voice, and interrogating your WHY when approaching adaptations.
Storytelling Magic with Sara Guerrero
Tori and Mabelle talk with Sara Guerrero, founding Artistic Director of Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble, about her play, “Have to Believe We Are Magic.” Other topics include the art of archiving, finding your writer identity, and Sara’s multiple roles in theater and community-building.
New Visions with Jordan Stovall
Tori and Mabelle talk with Jordan Stovall about their role at the Dramatists Guild as Director of Outreach & Institutional Partnerships and the development of the New Visions Fellowship. Other topics include Jordan’s fantastical new play, “Bat Queen!,” the therapeutic emergence of Wanda Whatever, and the societal reckoning around systemic issues in theater.
Lighting the Way with Amanda Zieve
Tori and Mabelle welcome their first Lighting Designer to the show! Amanda Zieve talks about her path, her approach, and the advantage of working on smaller scale productions in conjunction with larger shows. She also shines a light on how play revisions impact the lighting design during rehearsals. Other topics include the power of a good mentor and her role as the co-founder of the Howell Binkley Fellowship Program.
The Truth of the Story with Linda and Michael Grady
Tori and Mabelle talk with Linda DeArmond Grady and Michael Grady about their musical, “A Beautiful Place,” inspired by an exhibit of children’s artwork from the Terezin Ghetto. The couple shares their journeys into theater, how they came together, and the challenges and triumphs of marital collaboration.
Kristina Wong: From Solo Artist to Overlord
Tori and Mabelle talk with powerhouse performance artist turned mutual aid leader, Kristina Wong, about the evolution of her Pulitzer Prize finalist project, “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord.” Other topics include why Kristina ran away from home at 22, the pros of digital theater, finding breathing space as a dramatist, her work as a food bank influencer, and why she ran the Auntie Sewing Squad like a theater collective.
Inda Craig-Galván and the Ownership of Ideas
Tori and Mabelle talk with Inda about her journey from sketch comedy in Chicago to Dramatic Writing at USC and beyond! Inda shares about motherhood, the moment at an audition when she realized she needed to make a life change, and how she found her voice as a playwright.
Dreaming through Plots with Daniel Olivas
Tori and Mabelle talk with Daniel Olivas about writing his first play at age 60; He penned “Waiting for Godínez” as a response to the absurdity of the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the previous administration’s Family Separation Policy. Daniel shares about his life as a fiction writer, anthologist, and book critic, as well as his day job as a senior lawyer with the California Department of Justice. Other topics include how Daniel’s creative writing has made him a better legal writer; playwriting as a 24-hour a day job; and the incredible influence of his parents.
The Existential Evolution of Roger Q. Mason
In the Season 5 Premiere, Roger Q. Mason takes Tori and Mabelle to church as they talk about their life as a playwright, activist, yogi, and truth teller. Roger shares what it means to give everything in your art; how a playwright’s words are a blueprint for the actor; and how they practice non-attachment and self care.
Shortcuts to the Soul with Chisa Hutchinson
In the Season 4 finale, Tori and Mabelle talk with Chisa Hutchinson about her path into theater, the inspiration for her plays “Amerikin” and “Whitelisted,” and the vast possibilities of writing for the stage. Other topics include Chisa’s love of teaching, her process as a playwright, and the recurring theme of accountability in her writing.
Cultivating Space with James P. Darvas
Recorded at the stage of Onstage Playhouse, Tori and Mabelle chat with Executive Artistic Director James P. Darvas about his artistic journey, starting at 8 years old in Ohio singing “Beauty School Dropout,” to his current role managing a playhouse in Chula Vista, CA. James shares his vision for the theatre; how he strives to cultivate a space of inclusivity, accessibility, community; and why the energy that fills the room is the most important aspect of theatre.
Tori and Mabelle moderate a panel about producing TYA with Idris Goodwin, playwright and TYA/USA Board President; Khalia Davis, Artistic Director Bay Area Children’s Theater; Julia Flood, Artistic Director of Metro Theater Company; and Jacqueline Thompson, Associate Artist of Metro Theater Company. The panelists discuss their perspective on new play development; how they discover new plays and playwrights; and the importance of building relationships. Other topics include how the pandemic has shifted theatrical productions; the evolution of Idris’ play, “Jacked”; and a q&a with the audience.
Inge Festival Recap
Tori and Mabelle share a play-by-play of their journey to the 39th William Inge Theater Festival in Independence, Kansas. They highlight the amazing people and businesses who pull together to support the festival, as well as the joys of meeting past guests from the Hey Playwright Universe in person!
A DIRE Conversation with José Casas
Tori and Mabelle talk with José Casas about his path into TYA via law and social justice; his book, “Palabras del Cielo: An Exploration of Latina/o Theatre for Young Audiences”; accomplices versus allies; representation; publishing new playwrights; and changing systems actively rather than passively. Other topics include building audiences starting with youth, as well as his upcoming projects: a second volume of Palabras, an anthology on African American TYA, and a superhero book connected to 18 brand-new BIPOC theatrical projections nationwide.
Joyful Invitations with Joanne Ruelos Diaz
Tori and Mabelle talk with Joanne Ruelos Diaz about her incredible book, “The Little Book of Joy: 365 Ways to Celebrate Every Day.” Other topics include mom-ing and writing; Joanne’s work with educational literacy publications and Sesame Street in Communities; streaming shows centering Asian characters; and finding your joy.
The Art of Creating Space with Hannah Joyce
Festival and as the director of membership and education at the Playwrights’ Center. Other topics include the reframing of the fellowship application process at the Playwrights’ Center; connecting with the people and artists in your community to create theatre where you are; and tons of hot tips on producing and trusting and celebrating the creatives around you.
Otherworldly Things With Prince Gomolvilas
Tori and Mabelle talk with internationally-produced Thai-American writer Prince Gomolvilas about his body of work in the TYA and adult playwriting worlds; commissions born out of a need in the community; and his transition from stuffed animals to actors. Other topics include an in-depth discussion of his play, “The Brothers Paranormal”; why children are the best dramaturgs; and Prince’s interest in hidden history, racial intersectionality, mental health, and shifting tone within a play.
The Life Behind the Life of Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew
Tori and Mabelle talk with married playwrights Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew about the playwright-parent balance; the importance of asking for what you need (and what your productions need); and the evolution of “Bhangin’ It: A Bangin’ New Musical.”
The Quiet Revolution of Delicia Turner Sonnenberg
Tori and Mabelle talk with Delicia Turner Sonnenberg about how a chance elective in 8th grade led to her love of theatre; why she loves the bravery of actors; and why theatre at its best is subversive. Other topics discussed include Delicia’s role as an Artist in Residence at The Old Globe, the importance of mentorship, and her goal to give voice to Black women.
Alvaro Saar Rios and The Facts of the World
Tori and Mabelle talk with Alvaro Saar Rios about his journey from the Army to playwriting, saying “yes!” and celebrating the voices of his community through his plays. Other topics include the importance of reading contracts, his approach to adaptations and what his death metal band taught him about storytelling.
Women with Moxie: Jennifer Eve Thorn and Vanessa Duron
In this twofer episode, Tori and Mabelle talk with Moxie Theatre’s Executive Artistic Director, Jennifer Eve Thorn, about the evolution and mission of Moxie Theatre and the upcoming world premiere of Diana Burbano’s play, “Sapience” (a co-production with TuYo Theatre). Next, they chat with multi-hyphenate theatremaker Vanessa Duron, about the joys and challenges of both directing and acting in “Sapience" and why she disagrees with audience silence in the theatre.
Jeffrey Ingman Meets You Where You Are
Tori and Mabelle talk with audition coach Jeffrey Ingman about his company, Audition Revelation, as well as his work as director of the La Jolla Playhouse Young Performers’ Conservatory and the MCITStudio. Other topics include Jeffrey’s approach to text and the musicality of plays; how speed skating relates to the arts; and the moments when theater approaches divinity.
Getting Home with Marsha Norman
In the Season 4 premiere, Tori and Mabelle talk with award-winning writer, educator and activist Marsha Norman about her career, the importance of women writing about women, her work as an educator, and the architecture of a play. Other topics discussed include conjuring the Writing Spirit, setting a 2-year deadline to finish a play, pastafarians, writing from rage, and her upcoming book about how to write a musical.
BONUS: Script Club with Brian James Polak
In this bonus episode, it's script club time! Tori and Mabelle talk with Brian James Polak, producer and host of American Theatre magazine’s The Subtext podcast, about the evolution of his play, “Here Rests the Heart.” Other topics discussed include the freedom to explore as a playwright, the importance of using your voice, and seeking a positive impact in your community.
The Observational Comedy of Herbert Siguenza
In the Season 3 finale, Tori and Mabelle recap a busy time of year and then talk with Herbert Siguenza about his journey from visual artist to theatre-maker; the importance of excavating the past to understand the present; and his play development process, including his approach to adaptations.
Reimagining TYA with Ashleigh Akilah Rucker and Samantha Miller
Tori and Mabelle talk with Ashleigh Akilah Rucker & Samantha Miller, two of the inaugural grantees of the 2021 ReImagine: New Plays in TYA program.
She Persisted: Playwrights in Conversation
Tori and Mabelle talk with Jacquelyn Reingold, Jennifer Maisel and Laura Rohrman, three Honor Roll! playwrights featured in “She Persisted: Thirty Ten-Minute Plays by Women over Forty.”
Collecting Infinity Stones with Ahmed Kenyatta Dents
Tori and Mabelle talk with Ahmed Kenyatta Dents about his goal as Director of Venue Experience at the San Diego Repertory Theatre; justice and representation in theatre; breaking down the rotten wood of old structures; and the quantum possibility of multiple yous.
A Conversation with el Maestro José Cruz González
Tori and Mabelle talk with the legendary José Cruz González who shares how he came to playwriting out of necessity; the importance of inviting yourself to come back to the playwriting table; and why children make the best dramaturgs.
The Forward Momentum of Donna Hoke
Tori and Mabelle talk with Donna Hoke about her journey as a gig writer into playwriting; embracing and owning your hometown; the value of development workshops; and the art of documenting submissions.
Lucy Wang and the Reverse Law of Gravity
Tori and Mabelle talk with Lucy Wang about her leap from Wall Street trader to playwright; ageism and sexism in American theatre; the revolutionary effect of laughter; and the parallels of playwriting and baseball.
Monster Talent of the American Theatre: Christian St. Croix
Tori and Mabelle talk with Christian St. Croix, an emerging talent in the theatre world who is no stranger to theatre-making. Christian shares his theatrical journey, the evolution of his play, “Monsters of the American Cinema,” and the importance of tenacity and hope.
Love 5: The Tennis Plays
In the Season 3 kickoff, Tori and Mabelle host Love 5: The Tennis Plays festival celebrating the work of eight playwrights from around the world who submitted their 5-minute masterpieces to the tennis-inspired Hey Playwright short play festival.
CALL FOR ENTRIES: Tennis Plays
Do you have a five-minute tennis play or have you been itching to write one? On this mini episode, we put out the call. Deadline is approaching quickly so act fast! Plays are due August 27, 2021 at 11:59 PM PT.
BONUS: Steven Oberman and the DIY MFA in Self-Producing
Tori and Mabelle talk with playwright Steven Oberman about playing multiple roles as playwright/actor/director and producer in his one-man show, Blurred at the Edges, about the life of Dr. John Langdon Down.
BONUS: The Bright Light of Stephanie Kauffman
In this mini episode, traveling Tori and Mabelle talk with Stephanie Kauffman, owner of Mose Mary and Me, a boutique custom & pop culture prayer candle company in New Orleans, LA. We even offer up a prayer... candle writing prompt.
The Illimitable Generosity of Idris Goodwin
In the Season 2 finale, Tori and Mabelle talk with Idris Goodwin about his life as an art-maker. He shares his journey from Detroit to Chicago and beyond and how all of the places shaped his life’s work and play. Along the way, he drops knowledge around freestyle cyphers, finding your tribe, expanding narratives, the empowerment of educators and students, as well as how the teacher acts as DJ, fostering the energy of students.
The "Yes, and" of Jacole Kitchen
Tori and Mabelle talk with Jacole about her roles as La Jolla Playhouse’s Director of Arts Engagement and In-House Casting, as well as her directorial hat for the POP (Performance Outreach Program) world-premiere of Idris Goodwin’s play, "Pick Me Last". Jacole shares her “yes, and-edness” approach to life; her mission statement as a theatremaker; LJP’s artist-driven approach and their shift to online streaming; and the joyful collaboration with other theatremakers for "Pick Me Last".
The Eternal Vigilance of Josh Irving Gershick
Tori and Mabelle talk with Josh about his development of “Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America.” He shares the sacred duty of oral history storytelling, including transparency and honor, focusing on a theme, and preserving the voice of the subject. Other subjects include: the importance of a playwright’s mission statement, artistic generosity, and Josh’s continued drive to uplift the stories of every day queer folk.
The Fabulous Monsters of Diana Burbano
Tori and Mabelle talk with powerhouse playwright, teaching artist and Southern California Dramatists Guild Rep, Diana Burbano, about her punk rock musical play, Fabulous Monsters. Other topics include music as an entry point to character development, ageism and sexism in the music industry, Latinas in the punk movement, and joy and anarchy.