Every other week, the editors of American Theatre curate a free-ranging discussion about the lively arts in our Offscript podcast.
This week, editor-in-chief Rob Weinert-Kendt and editors Suzy Evans and Diep Tran discuss Belgian director Ivo van Hove and the moment he’s having in New York City (he’s got not just one but two Broadway shows up this season). Then we discuss the latest installment of NBC’s live theatre on TV initiative, “The Wiz Live!” and what Diep liked about it (she’s the only of us who saw it) and what the future of this form might be.
Our interview guest this week is playwright Cheryl L. West, whose newest play is Akeelah and the Bee, about an 11-year-old African-American girl who competes in a nationwide spelling bee, adapted from the popular film. It’s currently running at Arena Stage through Dec. 27, in a coproduction with Children’s Theatre Company. West talks to Diep over Skype about teaching people how to spell, writing for children, and the black experience.
This Week’s Recommendations:
- “In Defense of Benny from ‘Rent'” by Courtney Enlow for Pajiba.com, on why Benny is the unsung hero of Jonathan Larson’s musical because he’s actually the most responsible person in the room.
- A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, an update of Charles Dickens’s tale featuring hip-hop from the Q Brothers.
- Two podcasts: the Serial-meets-aliens podcast written by playwright Mac Rogers, “The Message” (and once again, for tales of debauchery in old Hollywood, we re-recommend “You Must Remember This.”)