Michael Chiklis’s Red

Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor Michael Chiklis (The Shield) plays legendary Hall of Fame coach, president, and general manager of the Boston Celtics Red Auerbach in Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (now streaming on HBOMax). Michael discusses why the role is so special; why he has a permanent resistance to typecasting, even (and especially) in grad school; the power of actors; the terror of complacency; tales of impulsive behavior in TV audition rooms; the dangers of stinking up the room; the joy of nothing going ‘snap’; a tease about his upcoming project; and how he manifested reinventing himself from “roly-poly affable guy” to someone who’s “adult, hard-hitting, smart…and has something to say.” (Length 24:40)

Surviving Theatre School

Gina Pulice and Jen Bosworth-Ramirez are the hosts of the “I Survived Theatre School Podcast”, which started as a pandemic project, but has become a fantastic ongoing conversation about the things we learned in theatre school, the things we didn’t learn, and how we’ve all managed to survive: some of us in the theatre, and some of us in other fields. Austin Tichenor was a guest on their podcast and now returns the favor, letting Gina and Bos talk about how their podcast came to be and what it’s now become. FEATURING: the value of active listening, both within the theatre and without; the counterintuitive freedom of a rigid schedule; the joy of “psychological spelunking;” how one can become a reimagined artist; and how something that didn’t start out to be a “self-help” podcast has turned out to be, for its listeners, remarkably healing. (Length 19:15)

Adrian Scarborough Masterclass

Two-time Olivier Award winner Adrian Scarborough returns to the podcast to give a masterclass in learning to love Shakespeare, studying him in drama school, and performing him professionally. Adrian shares experiences of learning Shakespeare at his mother’s knee; playing Shakespeare’s clowns; getting direction from Sam Mendes; occasional rush-hour trains going by; the advantage of dance training in performing Shakespeare; an auspicious debut (playing young doomed Macduff as a child); an intensity of intention; how to root one’s self in rehearsal; the importance of heading for the full stop and the dogged pursuit of an idea; and the value of going for the truth instead of going for the comedy…because going for the truth gives you better comedy. (Length 22:51)

Juliet To Hotspur

Character actor Alejandra Escalante has played ingenues at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago (Isabella, Measure For Measure), American Repertory Theatre in Boston (Desdemona, Othello), and for five seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Juliet, Romeo and Juliet; Miranda, The Tempest; Princess of France, Love’s Labor’s Lost) where she also played gallant Hotspur in Henry IV, Part 1. Blessed with both the ability and the opportunity to play that kind of range, Alejandra talks about the perils and wonder of being a character actor trapped in an ingenue’s body; her initial reaction to being offered the role of Harry Percy; studying and then copying big ol’ barrel-chested dudes; how some of the most wonderful and successful actors never went to college theatre programs; the desire to revisit certain roles; and the joys of working with your former fiancé/now husband. (Length 18:43) (Pictured: Alejandra Escalante as Juliet and Hotspur in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival productions of Romeo and Juliet and Henry IV, Part 1. Also pictured: Daniel José Molina as Romeo.)

691. Michael Morrow’s ‘Passage’

Michael Morrow stars in the Lifeline Theatre production of Middle Passage, Charles Johnson’s National Book Award-winning novel (“a novel in the tradition of Billy Budd and Moby-Dick,” according to the New York Times Book Review) adapted by Ilesa Duncan and David Barr III (and directed by Duncan). Michael discusses how he came to be cast in this epic production, and how he’s journeyed from the DePaul University BFA program to Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Michigan Shakespeare Festival, and beyond; how he learned to buckle swashes and paint pictures with words; what it means to Choose; the miracle of a deus ex Quackenbush; shout-outs to David Blixt and the late PJ Paparelli; and the incredibly important power of telling stories for those who can’t. (Length 20:08) (Pictured: Michael Morrow and Patrick Blashill in the Lifeline Theatre production of Middle Passage, adapted by Ilesa Duncan and David Barr III from the novel by Charles Johnson. Directed by Ilesa Duncan. Photo by Suzanne Plunkett.)

The Impostors Theatre

Rachel Borgo is the Executive Director of Chicago newest young theatre ensemble, The Impostors Theatre Company, a group of like-minded Valparaiso theatre department alums who believe in the value of playing pretend. Featuring the paradox of being both boastful and self-deprecating; the importance of identity (with reference to the Folger Shakespeare Library’s “Shakespeare & Beyond” Blog); the power of transformation and change; the glory of being childlike without being childish; the wonder of finding a home at Collaboraction Studios; Rachel’s screenwriting debut with When Jeff Tried to Save the World; the enormously supportive theatre community (sometimes including dogs); the need to get your clicks up; and finally, the career advantages of always carrying Pepto-Bismol in your purse. (Length 17:56)

Episode 632. Preparing And Doing

There’s a difference between rehearsing and performing and this week actors Dan Saski and Austin Tichenor, plus stage manager Elaine Randolph, talk about the specific challenges of touring a show with multiple combinations of actors to different venues around the country. Featuring unabashed fondness for The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged), many comings and goings, the trick of doing a show you can only perform 4-5 weeks a year, unconventional processes, how much preparation can you actually do without the other actors, what’s language-driven and what’s movement-or-music-driven, incorporating new technicians in every city, speedy backstage changes captured on video, keeping theatre a living thing, how sometimes the lack of preparation brings magic, and ultimately the joy of seeing what different actors bring to the same roles. (Length 21:48)

Episode 605. The Actors Gymnasium

Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi is the artistic director and co-founder of The Actors Gymnasium, a physical theatre school with a huge emphasis on circus and telling stories through movement. A longtime collaborator with Chicago’s Tony-winning Lookingglass Theatre, Sylvia created the underwater choreography for Lookingglass’ current production of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and talks about how she creates her work and the value of her collaborators, the invaluable nature of literally growing up in the circus, questioning the value of not taking a risk, learning the language of physicality, getting actors to a different level, and the joy of watching a performer discover new skills and manners of expression. (Length 19:20)

Episode 433. American Acting ‘Crisis’

”Emmy-nominated Casting Director Sandi Logan (Cristela, Monk, Boomtown, several tours for the Reduced Shakespeare Company) talks about the business of casting film and television, and the alleged ‘Crisis in American Acting’ (find the link to the essay that talks about this here). Featuring the differences between American and British actor training; the Read more…

Episode 340. Directing A Comedy

”We share thoughts about comedy with director William Brown, who talks about his Writers’ Theatre production of David Ives’ The Liar which is earning rave reviews this month in Chicago. Featuring the joys of being at the epicenter of the action, the advantages of actor investment, the truth about technique, the Read more…

Episode 314. Reduced Musical Abilities

”A jam session broke out recently when we got the band back together for Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) brush up rehearsals. Matt Rippy, Michael Faulkner, and Mick Orfe play their music and talk about their musical backgrounds and abilities. Featuring original compositions, the gifts of wrong notes, examples of how musical skills can Read more…

Episode 18. Meet Dom Conti

”Meet Dom Conti. What makes the man-child tick? Dominic Conti, our lanky athletic third, tells us who he is and why it’s cool he has an orgy. Featuring mash notes to Chicago, quick answers to great questions, and a special appearance by Mike Bunin, one of the stars of the Read more…