Greg Reiner.

Offscript: Bullish on Theatre With NEA’s Greg Reiner

This week’s guest is Greg Reiner, the director of theatre and musical theatre at the NEA, who assures us that the state of the arts is strong. Plus, the editors discuss all-gender bathrooms and high school theatre.

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

This week editors Rob Weinert-Kendt, Suzy Evans, and Diep Tran discuss all-gender bathrooms, and how theatres can take the lead in welcoming transgender and genderqueer artists and audiences, and in fighting transphobic measures like North Carolina’s HB2. We also discuss our sadness and confusion about Soho Rep’s sudden departure from its longtime space in lower Manhattan, and Dramatics magazine of the most-produced plays and musicals at U.S. high schools. The kids are all right!

Then Rob talks to Greg Reiner, director of theatre and musical theatre at the National Endowment for the Arts. Greg tells us about his typical day at the office, and outlines the ways that the arts are healthier than we might think.

Download the episode here. Subscribe via iTunes or RSS.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Production editor Russ Dembin stops by to recommend the Shuffle Along-style revival/backstage retelling of the vintage American show The Black Crook, at Abrons Arts Center in Lower Manhattan through Oct. 7. First produced in 1866, it’s considered by many to be first stage musical.

For those who haven’t already read Diep’s writing on Asian-American representation, she recommends “Who Tells Their Stories” by Louis Peitzman on Buzzfeed, which details the way Asian actors feel left out of the diversity discussion on Broadway. This week Diep attends the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists’ biannual conference and festival at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (this podcast was pre-recorded), and is particularly looking forward to Desdemona Chiang’s production of The Winter’s Tale.

Rob recommends two long reads from our site: Nate Freeman’s extraordinary first-person account of mounting The Laramie Project in Uganda, and Zelda Fichandler‘s timeless essay about the institutional theatre she helped build and what its priorities ought to be.

Finally, we all urge listeners to join the dozens of theatres nationwide who are responding to the high-stakes national election by registering voters at tables in their lobby this fall. Find out how your theatre can get involved here. #PlayOurPart

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