"#DateMe: An OKCupid Experiment" by Robyn Lynne Norris, Bob Ladewig and Frank Caeti, at the Second City in Chicago. (Photo by Todd Rosenberg)

Offscript: Casting with Erica Daniels

Erica Daniels, president of Second City Theatricals, discusses the institution’s new-play development initiative and the art of casting. Plus, the editors talk Tony nominations.

Every other week, the editors of American Theatre curate a free-ranging discussion about the lively arts in our Offscript podcast.

Tony, Tony, Tony! This week, editors Rob Weinert-Kendt, Suzy Evans, and Diep Tran discuss the Tony nominations, stand-out choices, and if it’s as diverse as expected. And speaking of diversity, they also discuss the results of the Asian American Actors Coalition’s latest study which showed that in 2014–15, actors of color made up only 30 percent of actors hired on and off Broadway.

Plus, this week’s guest is Erica Daniels, former associate artistic director of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, who is now the president of Second City Theatricals. She discusses transitioning from the non-profit to commercial sector and Second City’s new-play commissioning initiative. It’s not just sketch shows anymore! Also, Daniels has a background in casting and recalls that time she casted Carrie Coons in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at Steppenwolf, which went to Broadway.

Download the episode here. Subscribe via iTunes or RSS.

This week’s recommendations:

Do you love strong female characters and freshly baked pies? Then check out the new musical Waitress, by Sara Bareilles and Jessie Nelson, on Broadway. The aroma-turgy is strong.

Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. by Alice Birch at Soho Rep; it’s a feminist manifesto that’s reminded Diep of a Sarah Kane play, but funny.

Rob wasn’t sure if he would love Shuffle Along (by George C. Wolfe, Eubie Blake, and lyrics by Noble Sissle) on Broadway. But he does! Woolfe revitalizes this chestnut and the ensemble is the best thing about the show.

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