Every other week, the editors of American Theatre curate a free-ranging discussion about the lively arts in our Offscript podcast.
This week, we talk #Resistance. First, editors Rob Weinert-Kendt and Diep Tran sit down with Laurie Baskin, TCG’s director of research, policy, and collective action, to talk about how arts advocates were able to save this year’s National Endowment the Arts budget from proposed cuts, but cautions against celebrating too soon: Congress still needs to draft and approve a budget for 2017-18, and the president has proposed zeroing out the NEA’s funding altogether. Laurie provides some valuable talking points when talking to your elected representatives about why the NEA is important, and encourages all to sign up for TCG’s action alerts.
Then we talk to actor Orville Mendoza, who talks about his current project, John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures, currently running Off Broadway at Classic Stage Company. It’s his second time doing the show and his third time working with director John Doyle. And this is the first time he’s sat down with Weinert-Kendt, who’s followed his work for decades. Orville walks us through his career (including that time he played the Genie at Disney’s California Adventure theme park), and explains why this Pacific Overtures features actors in ankle socks.
Diep saw Mfoniso Udofia‘s Sojourners and Her Portmanteau and can’t stop raving about it. The two plays, currently playing in repertory at New York Theatre Workshop, tell a story rarely seen in the U.S., about Nigerian immigrants living in America.
Rob is late to the party but he recently read “Have I Got a Play For You,” Jordana Williams’s hilarious essay for Slate about that time her middle school put on a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company…and made some creative additions to the script.