Podcast Episode #244: What TheaterMakers Can Learn From Simone Biles




If you’ve been following The Olympics this year, or if you’re on the internet, you probably heard Simone Biles withdrew from an individual all-around gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympics in an effort to focus on her mental health and well-being, a decision which came one day after she removed herself from the team final.

Tune into my personal reaction of this news and then how I believe we can apply this lesson to all of our lives as we look to reopen the live theater industry.


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My mission is to get more people talking about the theater.  The more people talking about it, the more people who want to make it, perform it, support it, etc.  And that’s how theater not only survives, but thrives.

The biggest compliment you can give me is by sharing this podcast.

I thank you and the theater thanks you!

July 23, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

Here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .

1 – Actors’ Equity Launches Open Access Initiative

Actors’ Equity Association launched its Open Access initiative this week, effective immediately. The goal of Open Access is to create a more accessible path to membership for actors and stage managers. The program extends eligibility to anyone who can show they have worked professionally in the industry, regardless of the organization’s Equity status. Bravo, AEA! Now let’s keep breaking down those barriers.

Read more: www.playbill.com

2 – Pass Over Announces COVID Restrictions

As we begin to fully understand what our return to live performance will look like, the first shows to return will lead the way. I applaud the courageous Producers of Pass Over on Broadway, who are not only the first play to open on Broadway, but they are the first to set protocols before things are really back to normal.  And they, like Bruce Springsteen, are requiring vaccinations from its adult theatergoers. Read below for more, including some masking requirements.

Read more: www.broadwaynews.com

3 – Historic Cherry Lane Theater Sold

After almost a century of mentoring some of the most recognized writers in American Theater, the historic Cherry Lane Theatre has been sold. The Lucille Lortel Theater Foundation has obtained ownership of the theater, and will announce future plans shortly.

Read more: www.broadwaynews.com

4 – Hollywood Unions Finalize COVID-Precautions

Figuring out our ‘new normal’ is happening one day at a time and across Every. Single. Industry. And this week it happened in Hollywood as film unions announce that studios will now be able to require productions to be fully vaccinated. Do you see this happening in the theater as well?

Read more: www.nytimes.com

5 – NYC Culture Is Leading the Reopening

In case there’s anyone out there who still needs proof that New York is BACK . . . look no further than the unlimited cultural activities opening up as we speak. And I can’t wait to get back out there with you. Check out everything the city has to offer below.

Read more: www.nytimes.com

Fun on a Friday:

Watch the first clip from Netflix’s Vivo, featuring the song “Keep the Beat” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. *will imbed in WP*

Watch the video here:



Want to be part of an online community of theatermakers? Join 1.4k+ producers, writers, actors, directors, and more here. Best part? It’s completely free.

June 25, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week


Here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .


1 – Special Tony Awards

After more than 2 years since the last Tony Awards, we finally have the first of this year’s awards. A major congratulations to all three recipients of this year’s Special Tony Awards – Broadway Advocacy Coalition, David Byrne’s American Utopia, and Freestyle Love Supreme. Read more about each award below.

Read more: www.playbill.com  


2 – Kate Horton Takes Over as Music Man Producer

Harold Hill has a new Producer! West End’s Kate Horton will take over the role of Executive Producer for the upcoming Music Man revival starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. Performances are scheduled to begin previews later this year with an official opening in February 2022. Find details about Horton’s previous production credits below. 

Read more: www.playbill.com 


3 – Springsteen on Broadway Reverses AstraZeneca Vaccine Policy

International theater fans, this one’s for you. Springsteen on Broadway will now allow audience members who have had the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to attend the show. Find additional precautions and details of what to expect below. 

Read more: www.deadline.com  


4 – How States Could Fund Regional Theatre 

In the aftermath of the 1930s there was the Federal Theatre Project. What about now in 2021? American Theatre takes a deep dive into what a state funded theatre could look like, and why it’s important to consider, below.

Read more: www.americantheatre.org/  


5 – Stars in the House Raises $1 Million for the Actors Fund

Stars in the House, a daily streamed show hosted by Seth Rudetsky, is celebrating two milestones in one! With live performances starting up again across the country, Stars in the House will celebrate hitting the $1 Million fundraising mark for The Actors Fund with its very first in-person show. Guests include Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kristin Chenoweth, Beth Leavel, Chita Rivera, and more! Find out how to stream the performance below.

Read more: www.playbill.com 


Fun on a Friday: 

In honor of Broadway’s official return this weekend (!) let’s throw it back to the official trailer for Springsteen on Broadway. Happy opening, Boss! 


Watch the video here:


Want to be part of an online community of theatermakers? Join 1.2k+ producers, writers, actors, directors, and more here. Best part? It’s completely free.

Katori Hall wins Pulitzer Prize for The Hot Wing King

In case you missed the news last week, there was indeed a winner this year for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama!

(There have been several years where the award was not given – and in a year where there wasn’t a lot of theater as we usually know it – there was some worry that it’d get skipped again.)

But nope.  We have a winner!

Katori Hall’s play The Hot Wing King, “the story of two gay black men in Memphis, Tennessee navigating love, life, and family” picked up one of the most coveted awards in the world, the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

The show opened at Signature Theater Company in February 2020 before being postponed, but was still granted eligibility for this year’s prize.

(Hall has had a busy couple of years – penning the book (and getting a Tony nomination) for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.  And she was the Executive Producer and Showrunner for P-Valley on Starz, based on her play.  Oh, and she also appeared on my livestream – click here to watch that video).

Another interesting tid bit about this year’s awards was that one of the finalists was a “streamed” production – Patrick Foley and Michael Breslin’s Circle Jerk. 

So yes, my theatermakin’ friends and theatermakin’ fans, streaming is here to stay.

Congrats to Katori, and all the finalists . . . and, well, anyone that got their play off the ground in the past 12 months.  You all deserve awards, just for making it happen.

– – – – –

Watch my interview with Katori Hall here.

June 4, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week


Here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .


1 – Jordan Fisher Will Return to Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway When It Reopens

The Broadway production will resume its run at the Music Box Theatre on December 11. Jordan Fisher confirmed on Good Morning America that he would once again lead the company as Evan Hansen, alongside the company that was appearing in the show when theaters shut down.

Read  more: www.theatermania.com


 2 – Broadway & Beyond: Access for Stage Managers of Color has updated its website to include a contact database for stage managers of color 

Broadway & Beyond: Access for Stage Managers of Color provides opportunities to stage managers of color to learn from people in the industry and provide insights to help stage managers of color start, maintain, and advance a career in the arts through free networking and educational events.

Read more: www.broadwaybeyondaccess.com


3- Broadway’s Hottest Marketing Tool: Streaming Shows

The Pandemic has helped normalize streaming theater and it seems here to stay, and there’s a business model there.

Read more: www.variety.com


4 – Black Theatre Coalition Announces Paid Fellowship Program for Aspiring Theatre Makers

The application submissions will be accepted for six weeks beginning June 1, 2021 through July 16, 2021 with 12-month Fellowships.

Read more: www.broadwaynews.com


5 – New York City to Tie Tourism Campaign to In the Heights

NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism organization, is launching a campaign tied to the film to promote Washington Heights.

Read more: www.wsj.com


Fun on a Friday: 

Jordan Fisher performs ‘You Will Be Found’ from Dear Evan Hansen.



Want to be part of an online community of theatermakers? Join 1,000+ producers, writers, actors, directors, and more here. Best part? It’s completely free.