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Featured Contributors, Jan. 2019

A former HR professional makes a case for her field, and a scholar uncovers early, more feminist drafts of ‘Kiss Me, Kate.’

Danielle Mohlman.

Seattle-based playwright and arts journalist Danielle Mohlman says she wanted to write about the role of human resources at resident theatres because of her personal experience in the field. Before moving to Washington state from Washington, D.C., Mohlman worked as the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s HR coordinator. “I have so much respect for the profession,” she says. When Mohlman transitioned to HR from company management, she was surprised to find that not every regional theatre has a human resources department. “There’s a built-in support network of fellow company managers in the industry,” she says. “There’s always someone to turn to. But the pool of HR professionals working in theatre is so much smaller. And I wanted to know why that was.”

Anne Potter. (Photo by Judy Potter)

Anne Potter, a Ph.D. student in theatre at New York City’s Columbia University specializing in Restoration and 18th-century theatre, says she discovered Kiss Me, Kate co-librettist Bella Spewack’s early drafts of the Cole Porter musical as part of a project on archival research for a Shakespeare course. Once she found the scripts in the papers of Spewack and her collaborator husband, Sam, at Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Potter quickly realized she “wanted everyone to know that these drafts exist where Kate and Shrew are imagined differently.” She adds, “I wrote this for every friend of mine who has ever worked on a production of Kiss Me, Kate and been uncomfortable with what it says about women and marriage.”

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