Host Luisa Lyons chats with Sean Pollock, director, executive producer, and designer of the upcoming production of A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant LIVE!
Sean shares what it was like being a child actor, working with ego driven directors, and the challenges of working with children. He also speaks candidly about prohibitive union rules, as well as the the difficulties of self-producing a TV LIVE production.
A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant LIVE! was filmed over two performances at The 14th St Y in early November 2022. It will be available to stream for free on IFT Network TV in 2023.
Sean Pollock is an NYC based multidisciplinary writer, director, designer, and teaching artist. Select directing/playwriting credits include: UP IN FLAMES (Annoyance Theatre Chicago), COWL GIRL (LIU Brooklyn), THIS IS A PLAY ABOUT NEWSCASTERS (Austin College, TX), THE BED SHOW (Philly Theatre Week), AMERICAN JUGGALO (Here Arts Center). Off-Broadway: A VERY…SCIENTOLOGY PAGEANT LIVE! (14th St. Y), TRUMP RALLY (Theatre Row). TV/Film: A VERY…SCIENTOLOGY PAGEANT LIVE! (IFT Network), THE OMEGA-3! A CLIMATE CHANGE MUSICAL ADVENTURE (Museum Of Natural History), WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO REACH YOU ABOUT YOUR CAR’S EXTENDED WARRANTY (NomadTV Festival, Global Shorts Festival), PROTECT THE PIGEONS FROM EATING USED CONDOMS (Absurd Film Festival, Red Film Festival, Global Shorts Festival). Training: Ithaca College, NTI, Directors Lab North, Directors Lab Chicago, Directors Lab West. He is currently a Norman Steinberg Scholar pursuing his MFA in Writing and Producing for Television at Long Island University Brooklyn/Steiner Studios, and the current Artistic Director/Co-Founder of Unattended Baggage. pollocksean.com, insta @seanp_yo.
Learn more about Unattended Baggage.
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Financially support A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant LIVE! here.
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Filmed Live Musicals is created by Luisa Lyons, an Australian actor, writer, and musician. Luisa holds a Masters in Music Theatre from London's Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and now lives, works, and plays in New York. Learn more at www.luisalyons.com and follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Host Luisa Lyons chats with Planet Money host Kenny Malone and composer Kit Goldstein Grant all about the creation of the new superhero musical Micro-Face! Learn about the inspiration behind the musical, the workshop process, and the special one-night-only staged reading! With guest appearance by actor Sebastian Treviño.
Kit Goldstein Grant is a composer, lyricist, librettist based in NYC. She likes to write musicals about topics ranging from the serious fallout of colonialist attitudes to giant noses running away. Her musical THE NOSE (that’s the one about the giant nose) has been produced several times in South Africa and NYC, and her musical THE GIANT HOAX had its NYC premiere at Theater Row. Kit has studied at Juilliard, the Tony-Award winning BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshop, and holds a M.M. in Composition from Brooklyn College. She teaches musical theater writing with Paper Kite Arts. Follow Kit on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Learn more at:
www.kitgoldstein.com and www.totallyirrelevantproductions.com.
Kenny Malone Kenny Malone is a correspondent for NPR's Planet Money podcast. Before that, he was a reporter for WNYC's Only Human podcast. Before that, he was a reporter for Miami's WLRN. And before that, he was a reporter for his friend T.C.'s homemade newspaper, Neighborhood News. His work has won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Use of Sound, the National Headliner Award, the Scripps Howard Award, and the Bronze Third Coast Festival Award. He studied mathematics at Xavier University in Cincinnati and proudly hails from Meadville, PA, where the zipper was invented. Follow Kenny on Twitter. Watch Kenny's favorite filmed live musical here!
Filmed Live Musicals is the most comprehensive online searchable database for musicals that have been filmed live on stage. Visit www.filmedlivemusicals.com to learn more. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also support the site at Patreon. Patrons get early access to content, no matter how much you pledge.
Filmed Live Musicals is created by Luisa Lyons. Luisa is an Australian actor, writer, and musician. She holds a Masters in Music Theatre from London's Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and now lives, works, and plays in New York. Learn more at www.luisalyons.com or follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
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It’s part three of our three-part Sondheim special! Host Luisa Lyons chats with Margaret Hall all about the 2011 filmed live musical Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY with the New York Philharmonic.
Margaret Hall is one of the foremost emerging theatre historians of her generation. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama (Musical Theatre) from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, and is currently obtaining her Masters in Musical Theatre History from New York University, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, the first degree of its kind to be granted worldwide. Margaret is currently the Night and Weekend Editor for Playbill.com, in addition to her work as a teacher of musical theatre history. Her first book, Gemignani: Life and Lessons from Broadway and Beyond will be released Spring 2022. Follow @itsmargarethall and sign up for Margaret’s monthly newsletter at www.margaret-hall.com.
Pre-order Gemignani: Life and Lessons from Broadway and Beyond (as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from this link).
Host Luisa Lyons chats with Ricky and Dana Young-Howze, also known as RnD, theatre critics who throughout the pandemic have reviewed over 200 digital theatre productions.
In this deeply informative discussion, RnD share wisdom about digital theatre, being critics, theatre and accessibility, and the impact of disability on audiences both in person and online.
We chat about how chronic illnesses affected Ricky and Dana’s careers, how the pair became theatre critics, how a series of unfortunate events at the start of 2020 almost led to their quitting reviewing altogether and how the pivot to digital theatre opened up a whole new world of access to theatre. We discuss disability and theatre access, the role of critics in theatre, seeking out work by queer, Black, and disabled artists, why brick and mortar theatres have resisted digital theatre, and more!
RnD also known as Ricky and Dana Young-Howze (they/them) are theatre critics from South Jersey. They have reviewed over 200 digital theatre reviews during the pandemic. They are vocal advocates for how digital theatre can be tool for indie, BIPOC, LGBTQ, and artists with disabilities. Besides reviewing they offer 1-on-1 Theatre Criticism classes, social media consulting, and dramaturgy. Talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find our articles at www.rndyounghowze.tumblr.com and www.howlround.com/two-hundred-digital-theatre-reviews-and-counting. Venmo: @rndyounghowze. Become a patron at www.patreon.com/rndyounghowze.
Host Luisa Lyons chats with Singaporean actress, singer-songwriter and arts educator Ethel Yap.
Learn how Ethel worked to establish herself as an actor in her home country of Singapore after training in London, how Pangdemonium was formed, how working with The Theatre Practise (TTP) helped Ethel learn Mandarin, the state of unions — and the role of government — in Singaporean theatre, Chinese-language musicals Liao Zhai Rocks! and Lao Jiu, and Pangdemonium’s production of Urinetown.
Ethel Yap is a Singaporean actress, singer-songwriter and arts educator who has appeared in numerous theatre and television productions in a variety of lead and supporting roles. Her work includes Liao Zhai Rocks, Beauty World, Lao Jiu: The Musical, Four Horse Road, Untitled Women, PROJECT Utopia and the Singapore stagings of Tribes by Nina Raine and Urinetown: The Musical. As a singer-songwriter, she released her debut EP in 2017 and continues to write music that centres on themes of identity and meaning in the folk genre. She is also a passionate arts educator and momma of one very active little boy!
Learn more at www.ethelyap.com and follow Ethel on Facebook, and Instagram.
This week on the Filmed Live Musicals podcast, host Luisa Lyons chats with actor/dancer/singer James T. Lane.
Topics include the influence of Robert Guilluame and the importance of being able to see people that look like you on stage, Forbidden Broadway and movie musicals as a gateway to musical theatre, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Chorus Line, coining the phrase “sad understand”, working at the Jen Waldman Studio, words of wisdom from Baayork Lee, why writers and artists should share their work widely, and the development and staging of James’ new play Triple Threat: A Play That Moves and Sings.
James T. Lane is an actor singer dancer based in New York City. A true triple threat, he brings joy, electricity, nuance, humor, and heart to roles on Broadway, across the United States, and throughout the world. James's powerful love for his craft and for his fellow human beings shines through in all that he does. Learn more at www.jamestlane.com and follow James on Instagram and Twitter.
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This week, host Luisa Lyons chats with actor Jalynn Steele about the upcoming livestream of Titanique the Maiden Voyage Concert. Titanique is a new parody musical that reveals what really happened to Jack and Rose on that fateful night, as told by Céline Dion!
In this laugh-filled chat, we talk about the joy of performing, going to State for theatre, what Jalynn learnt during the pandemic, performing with COVID restrictions, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, and the importance of diverse representation on Broadway.
Jalynn Steele is an energetic light placed here on earth to shine joy to everyone. Through the years she has graced many stages across the world and is extremely excited to join the awesome cast of Titanique! Credits include; Broadway: The Lightning Thief: A Percy Jackson Musical, Off Broadway: Sistas: The Musical, National/International Tour: Fosse, Regional Theatre: Mamma Mia, Beehive, and Little Shop of Horrors. Other credits include; Sesame Street, After Midnight, Rock of Ages, Burn the Floor, The Wiz, Songs for a New World, and recently, many virtual performances. Her life’s creed, “Live, laugh & love!” Follow on Facebook and Instagram.
Titanique the Maiden Voyage Concert will be livestreamed at 7.30pm EDT on May 2. Tickets are available from Stellar.
The Filmed Live Musicals podcast is available wherever you listen to podcasts including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, and more! If you like what you hear, please leave a review and help get the word out!
On episode 17 of the Filmed Live Musicals podcast, host Luisa Lyons chats with the Creative Director of HMDT Music, Tertia Sefton-Green.
We chat about HMDT Music's extraordinary children's theatre education program pre-pandemic, the fortuitous decision to downscale in 2019, and the new female-led musical Jina and the STEM Sisters. The musical is available to stream on demand worldwide until April 11. Book your tickets here!
HMDT Music, twice winner of the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Education and of the 2020 Excellence in Musical Theatre Award, is a leader in commissioning inspiring musical works embedding the arts across all areas of learning for young people. Key successes include: Trench Brothers commemorating ethnic minority soldiers in WW1; Shadowball ground-breaking baseball and jazz opera; Hear Our Voice international tour of a new work compiled from children’s Holocaust writings. HMDT runs an extensive Saturday Music Programme and arts-rehabilitation projects for young offenders. Their Creative Director Tertia Sefton-Green has created, commissioned, managed all their large-scale projects in addition to fundraising and writing some of the libretti. She also conducts their I Can Sing! music theatre programme. Learn more at www.hmdt.org.uk.
Thank you to the Filmed Live Musicals patrons Josh Brandon, Mercedes Esteban, Rachel Esteban, James Lane, David Negrin, Jesse Rabinowitz and Brenda Goodman, Al Monaco, David and Katherine Rabinowitz, and Bec Twist for your support.
Filmed Live Musicals is the most comprehensive online searchable database for musicals that have been filmed live on stage. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also support the site at Patreon. Patrons get early access to content, no matter how much you pledge.
Episode 7 of the Filmed Live Musicals podcast is out!
This week I chat with the Executive Director of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT), Julie Leach. Based in Sarasota, Florida, WBTT is a non-profit theatre founded in 1999 by Nate Jacobs. The company’s mission is “to produce professional theatre that promotes and celebrates the African American experience, that attracts diverse audiences, supports and develops African American artists, and builds the self-esteem of African American youth.”
We look at how WBTT were able to pivot during the COVID-19 shutdown, connection with community, the business end of putting theatre online, and Vinnette Carroll's Your Arms Too Short to Box With God.
Learn more WBTT's filmed live productions Your Arms Too Short to Box With God and Rockin' Down Fairytale Lane in the Filmed Live Musicals database, and check out WBTT's current productions at www.westcoastblacktheatre.org.
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Filmed Live Musicals is a labor of love. All the thanks to patrons Josh Brandon, Mercedes Esteban, Jesse Rabinowitz and Brenda Goodman, Al Monaco, David and Katherine Rabinowitz, and Bec Twist for your support!
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This week's blog title comes from Langston Hughe's poem "Note on Commercial Theatre," which is spoken by Brenda Braxton in the 1979 musical When Hell Freezes Over I’ll Skate. In researching last week’s blog post, History Has Its Eyes, I was fascinated by the biography of the musical's director, Vinnette Carroll, and decided to spotlight her incredible career in this week's post.
Carroll was one of the first African American women to direct on Broadway, and the West End. She was nominated three times for a Tony Award, and was the first (and regrettably, still the only), African American woman to be nominated for a Tony Award for Best Director. She was an Obie and Emmy Award winner, and celebrated in her lifetime as a driving force for theatre by, and about, African American people.
Over the course of her career, Vinnette Carroll created and wrote 16 musical plays, many of which were written with long-time collaborator Micki Grant. Carroll also collaborated with Alvin Ailey and Langston Hughes. Her work has been credited with launching the careers of actors such as Cicley Tyson, Clarence Williams III, James Earl Jones, Jennifer Holliday, Brenda Braxton, and Cleavant Derricks, among many others.
Born in New York in 1922, Carroll spent most of her childhood in Jamaica. She returned to New York City to attend high school and, thanks to her father’s thriving dental practice, enjoyed a rich cultural life attending theatre and receiving music lessons.
To satisfy her father, Carroll trained to be a psychologist. Shortly after leaving her PhD program at Columbia University in 1948, Carroll sought to pursue her true passion as an actor. She attended the New School and the Actors Studio, training with Erwin Piscator, Lee Strasberg, and Stella Adler.
Upon completion of her actor training in the early 1950s, Carroll found regular acting work, but was frustrated by the limited range of roles made available to her as an African American woman: maids, and roles that reinforced negative stereotypes of people of color. In response, Carroll created her own work and successfully toured a one woman show.
Carroll began teaching acting at the High School for the Performing Arts in 1955, a position she held for 11 years. During this time, Carroll developed a passion for directing.
In 1964, Carroll won an Emmy Award for the television production Beyond the Blues, a dramatization of works by African American poets.
In 1968, Carroll joined the New York State Council on the Arts as the new director for the Ghetto Arts Program. The Ghetto Arts Program (GAP) sought to provide collaborative theatre experiences for African American and Hispanic communities in New York, and establish a new repertory company that created new work.
In her capacity as director of GAP, Carroll founded the Urban Arts Corps (UAC). Within a few years Carroll left GAP and became the artistic director of the UAC. The UAC trained a troupe of actors from African American and Hispanic backgrounds, who wrote and performed original material. Later knowns the Urban Arts Theatre, the UAC worked in schools, colleges, and prisons to bring theatre, and theatre training, to minority audiences.
Throughout her 10 years with the Urban Arts Corps, Carroll directed over 50 productions. Musical highlights include But Never Jam Today, Don’t Bother Me I, I Can’t Cope, and Your Arms Too Short to Box with God.
Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, which first opened at the UAC in 1970, opened on Broadway at the Playhouse Theatre in 1972. The musical earned Carroll a Tony nomination for Best Director of a Musical and played 1065 performances. It will be performed in 2018 as part of Encores! Off Center’s summer program.
Your Arms Too Short to Box with God transferred to Broadway in 1976, earning Carroll her second Tony nomination for Best Director. The musical was revived on Broadway in 1980, 1982, and 1996.
But Never Jam Today, was an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland featuring gospel and calypso-infused music. The musical adaptation began life as Alice, and after much re-working and several off- and off-off-Broadway runs opened on Broadway in 1979. It was a commercial flop and closed within a week of opening.
In 1984, living in Florida in “semi-retirement,” Carroll founded the Vinnette Carroll Repertory Company. The company was renamed the Metropolitan Diversity Theatre at Carroll's request in 2000 after she suffered a debilitating stroke. The theatre is now the home of Fort Lauderdale’s Cinema Paradiso.
Despite Carroll’s immense body of work, just one of her shows was filmed live for public distribution: When Hell Freezes Over I’ll Skate. The musical had a short run at the UAC in January 1979, before being presented as part of the Lincoln Center’s Black Theatre Festival in May of the same year. An hour-length version of the musical co-directed by Carroll was presented on PBS in June 1979. When Hell Freezes Over I’ll Skate was released on VHS in 1999, and on DVD in 2003. Sections of the musical are currently available on YouTube.
In the capture of When Hell Freezes Over I'll Skate, we get a mere glimpse of Carroll’s incredible talent as a writer and director. One wonders if Carroll had been born white, and a male, how much more of her work we could have continued to enjoy watching today.