On this episode we talk to the always-busy Ojibwe and Oneida Nations performer and theatremaker Ty Defoe, currently directing a new production of Rent at Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars, playing May 16-28. He reflects on his first time seeing Rent in Chicago in the ’90s, and adds that the musical has a lot to offer a contemporary Texas setting as a kind of “‘queering wild” and a form of political resistance. Part of the creative process, he told us, has involved having candid conversations with teenagers about queer history and the AIDS epidemic as well as curating original Rent memorabilia for display in the lobby.
Some of Ty’s recent projects as a creator include Big City Harmony, QUEERTENDO, Our Words Are Seeds, and For the People. The latter play is being co-written on commission from the Guthrie Theater with Larissa FastHorse, a colleague with whom Defoe co-founded Indigenous Direction, a consulting company that works to amplify the voices of Indigenous people. They recently helped organize the debut of the Wampanoag Tribe’s “People of First Light” float at the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
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