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Featured Contributors, Dec. 2019

A chat with a theatre deity, and a heartening comeback story.

Jose Solís.

New York City-based reporter and critic Jose Solís, author of this issue’s André De Shields cover story, says that though he’s met many celebrities and people he admires, “I’ve rarely felt as starstruck as I was by André De Shields. His presence exudes the charisma that reminded me of why some people gain immortality due to their work.” Solís continues, “Anyone would be intimidated by the ease with which he moves in the world, and I was grateful for his capacity to also show me the humanity he brings to his larger-than-life characters. Within seconds I went from intimidated to feeling like I was having a chat with my dearest friend in the world.”

Erica Sweeney. (Photo by Sara Edwards Neal)

“I’ve attended productions at the Rep since I was a child, and like most people in our community, I was heartbroken when I heard that the theatre was going dark,” says Little Rock, Ark.-based writer Erica Sweeney, who penned this issue’s feature about how the Arkansas Repertory Theatre turned things around. “I was proud that so many people came together to help save the theatre, and so excited to learn that the Rep was staging a comeback.” Sweeney says that working on the piece revealed challenges that weren’t apparent to the average theatregoer, noting, “In talking to longtime board chair Ruth Shepherd, I realized how lucky we are to have this arts institution in our city, and people like her to ensure that it sticks around.”

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