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Out of the Rehearsal Hall

Out of the Rehearsal Hall

By Geva Theatre Center
From Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York, Out of the Rehearsal Hall takes a deep dive into the theatrical process. The third season celebrates courageous storytelling and our own power to make change, and to shape a better world for us all. The guests this season are artists, scholars and curators of content from around the country and right here in Rochester, the ancestral and occupied territory of the Onondowaga, or as we say in English, the Seneca People. Hosted by Literary Director Jenni Werner.
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Currently playing episode

Episode 3-6: Vietgone Prologue

Out of the Rehearsal Hall

Episode 3-9: Director Mark Cuddy and actors Gus Cuddy and Mari Vial-Golden
In this episode, Jenni Werner is joined by Mark Cuddy, Gus Cuddy and Mari Vial-Golden to discuss Geva’s production of Nick Payne’s Constellations, the power of improvisation, the surprising comfort of Beckett’s Godot, the ups and downs of working with your family, taking risks and finding hope in chaos. 
February 14, 2022
Episode 3-8: Actors Jean McCormick and Matthew S. Morgan
In this episode, Jean McCormick and Matthew S. Morgan, two of the principal actors in Geva's annual production of A Christmas Carol, join Jenni to talk about their favorite pieces of prop business, the highs and lows of touring productions, shadow puppetry in The Lion King, lessons they've learned about acting, auditioning and collaboration, and what makes performing in A Christmas Carol at Geva so rewarding each year.
December 06, 2021
Episode 3-7: Ginny Nguyen
In this episode, we talk with Webster-resident Ginny Nguyen, who fled Vietnam with her family in 1975, and after several months in an Arkansas refugee camp, started a new life in Rochester. This story has been a source of inspiration for everyone involved in Geva’s production of Vietgone, written by Qui Nguyen, whose parents met in that same refugee camp. Ginny’s re-telling of this journey, and of her father’s sense of honor and her family’s perseverance, is really remarkable.
October 19, 2021
Episode 3-6: Vietgone Prologue
In this episode of Out of the Rehearsal Hall, we welcome you to an audio prologue for Qui Nguyen's Vietgone. Before COVID disrupted our lives, audiences would arrive early to Geva productions to hear a presentation about the show they were about to see. Since we can't do that in person right now, we're thrilled to offer this version! Hear an excerpt of an interview with Rochester resident Ginny Nguyen, who left Vietnam with her family in 1975. And then the director and cast of Vietgone introduce themselves and talk about the play. And join us at the theatre soon for Vietgone!
September 27, 2021
Episode 3-5: Projection Designer Rasean Davonte Johnson
In this episode, projection designer Rasean Davonte Johnson (Geva's THURGOOD and RING OF FIRE), joins Jenni Werner to talk about his process and the artists and theatres that have had an influence on his career and his aesthetic. It's a conversation that ranges from Dracula and magic and nostalgia to creating an evocative storytelling style through metaphor and image. Davonte specifically speaks about the questions that inform the process of projection design, and the role that it can play in theatrical storytelling. What does it take to evoke a sense of a visual story, without telling that story in a literal way? And how does that inform the emotional journey of the performance? Sometimes that kind of storytelling comes from unexpected places, and we talk about some great examples of his work.
September 06, 2021
Episode 3-4: Maia Directors
This episode features Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Evren Odcikin, Kareem Fahmy and Pirronne Yousefzadeh, the four incredible forces behind Maia Directors. The organization is a consulting service for organizations and artists engaging with MENASA stories – those from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. These change makers discuss trends in the theatre field, the importance of being of service (and valuing that work) and collaborations on projects like Madhuri Shekar's The House of Joy, the premiere of Ismail Khalidi and Naomi Wallace's adaptation of The Corpse Washer, and the Big Bridge Theatre Consortium's commission of Rohina Malik.
June 28, 2021
Episode 3-3: Daniel Banks
In this episode, we talk with director, deviser and dance dramaturg, Daniel Banks about socio-political awakenings, storytelling traditions and innovations, justice and spirituality and the work that breaks your heart open, makes you want to create something new, and inspires dialogue and healing. Associate Artistic Director and Director of Engagement Pirronne Yousefzadeh co-hosts.
May 24, 2021
Episode 3-2: The Changemakers
This episode features the Changemakers: Rochester Women Who Changed the World exhibit at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, which inspired Geva’s Tenacious Women project. We start by talking with Kathryn Murano Santos about the innovative and inclusive process that led to this exhibit. And then, sisters Mimi W. Lee and Lily Lee share the incredible inspiration of their mother, the events that led them to create the Asian/Pacific Islander/American Association of Greater Rochester, and the role of education in combatting Anti-Asian hate. And in the final segment of the episode, we feature writer, editor and historian Joan Coles Howard and Youth History Ambassadors from Teen Empowerment, Tashiana Williams and Nino Irizarry in a discussion about the importance of sharing our history through generations.
May 10, 2021
Episode 3-1: Christopher Rivas
Christopher Rivas is an incredible storyteller in any medium, and in this episode, he talks about the climate crisis and the beauty of this world, Porfirio Rubirosa (inspiration for James Bond) and just how vital it is to see people who look like you in stories that inspire you, and the power of telling stories from the heart. Geva's company manager Angela Giuseppetti co-hosts.
April 26, 2021
Episode 2-6: Playwright/Director/Producer Chay Yew
In our first podcast episode of 2021, we’re thrilled to feature a conversation with playwright/director/producer, Chay Yew. Geva audiences will have an opportunity to see his work as a director this winter, with his direction of Brian Quijada’s Where Did We Sit on the Bus? And long-time Geva audiences may remember the production of Naomi Iizuka’s 36 Views, which Chay also directed. Associate Artistic Director Pirronne Yousefzadeh joins Jenni Werner for this inspirational conversation that focuses on the ways in which we can all open doors for others to follow us, and create opportunities for the next generation to grow and succeed. 
February 01, 2021
Episode 2-5: Sound Designers Justin Ellington and David K. Samba
In this episode, Esther Winter, creative producer for Recognition Radio, and Jenni Werner talk with sound designers David K. Samba and Justin Ellington about jazz music, the nature of collaboration, sound design and composition as an out of body experience, and how we’re all sound designers at heart, even if we don’t know it yet.
December 21, 2020
Episode 2-4: Sound Designers Christie Chiles Twillie and Larry Fowler
Recognition Radio's Creative Producer Esther Winter joins Jenni Werner for a conversation with sound designers Christie Chiles Twillie and Larry Fowler. Join us for a great conversation about how sound designers build worlds onstage, and how their work has become even more pivotal with more and more theatrical work living only online. And, a special bonus, a handful of dogs make accidental guest appearances, which a sound designer might have placed slightly differently!
December 07, 2020
Episode 2-3: Playwrights Christina Anderson and Harrison David Rivers
In this episode, playwrights Christina Anderson and Harrison David Rivers join Pirronne Yousefzadeh and Jenni Werner for a joyful conversation about listening to the voices in your head, finding inspiration in poetry, novels and raunchy rap lyrics, making space for imagination and representation onstage. And of course, the conversation features their plays in Geva's Recognition Radio Festival.
November 02, 2020
Episode 2-2: Playwrights Chisa Hutchinson and Kirsten Greenidge
In this episode, playwrights Kirsten Greenidge and Chisa Hutchinson join Fran Da Silveira and Jenni Werner for an impassioned conversation about their work and inspirations, how August Wilson impacted them both as young people, and the renaissance of the Black horror genre. And of course, a conversation about their work featured in Geva's Recognition Radio Festival. Note: the conversation includes a couple of swear words.
October 19, 2020
Episode 2-1: Sonja D. Williams
In the first episode of season two, Jenni Werner is joined by co-host Esther Winter, creative producer for Geva's Recognition Radio Festival - an audio play festival celebrating Black stories - to talk about the festival and Esther's many roles in the Rochester-area arts community. And then guest Professor Sonja D. Williams, author of Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio and Freedom to talk about the pioneering writer and producer of radio's first Black radio dramas. Join us for a conversation about radio history, Durham's script writing (the good and the bad), innovative artistic choices, missed deadlines and incredible impact.
October 05, 2020
Episode 10: Director Mikael Burke
In Episode Ten of Out of the Rehearsal Hall, Geva's Assistant Literary Director Fran Da Silveira joins Jenni Werner once again for an invigorating conversation with director Mikael Burke. They talk about the impact of music and silence on our understanding of language, and about creating a personal artistic mission, and envision a bold new theatre coming out of this pandemic. Oh, and Fran reveals the connection between stalking and dramaturgical research...
July 13, 2020
Episode 9: Costume Designer Christina Selian
In Episode Nine of Out of the Rehearsal Hall, Geva’s Wardrobe and Wig Supervisor Karin Eckert joins Jenni Werner to talk about her journey from Rochester to the West End, and around the U.S. (with a stop at “The Price is Right”), and back to Rochester; and then they talk with costume designer and crafts teacher Christina Selian about the difference between clothing and costumes; her journey to costume design; Christina’s deep admiration for actors and the collaborative nature of theatre; and the peace that comes from creating work by hand.
June 22, 2020
Episode 8: Fight Director/Intimacy Coordinator/Actor Rocío Mendez
Fran Da Silveira and Jenni Werner talk with fight and intimacy director Rocío Mendez. The conversation starts with an acknowledgment of the moment the U.S. is in as a country, after the deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and more, and what some of our responsibilities in this moment might be. The conversation explores Rocío's inspiration to enter a field that is dominated by white men (and her success at doing so!), her work on last year's production of The Royale by Marco Ramirez (a Kitchen Theatre production presented at Geva), the importance of intimacy choreography, and the brilliance and confidence of RuPaul's Drag Race.
June 09, 2020
Episode 7: Performer Madeleine Lambert
In this episode, Jenni is joined by Geva's former stage operations manager Carolyn Pike for a conversation with actor Madeleine Lambert. Carolyn and Jenni talk about just what a stage operations manager does, and a particularly memorable - and unexpected - onstage appearance. And then Madeleine joins us and we discuss her favorite running shoe, how marathons and performance are related, what it is like to play Susan B. Anthony,  and the power of good stories.
June 01, 2020
Episode 6: Universes' Steven Sapp and Mildred Ruiz
In this episode, Pirronne Yousefzadeh and I catch up with Steven Sapp and Mildred Ruiz, the co-founders of the performance ensemble, Universes. It's a really wonderful conversation about their inspirations, about the Geva-commissioned piece AFRICANTIC and the blues, and the ways that the theatre has and hasn't changed since the ensemble's founding 25 years ago. Oh, and Pirronne and Mildred have a little dust-up about the word "devised."
May 25, 2020
Episode 5: Performer Jen Cody
This episode features Jen Cody, truly one of the funniest actors around. We talk about how fate played a role in her becoming a professional actor, how she discovered her gift for comedy, how Actors Equity Association is working to address the current crisis, and how much joy there is to be found in online workout videos. (Also, Jen tells her late father's favorite joke.) Geva's executive director Chris Mannelli co-hosts, and we illustrate the importance of timing.
May 18, 2020
Episode 4: Playwright Dipika Guha
In this episode, playwright and TV writer Dipika Guha (Yoga Play) talks about her international childhood, how learning you are a playwright might be "bad news," the snacks in a TV writers room, and women who've changed the world. Fran Da Silveira, Geva's assistant literary director and a playwright herself, co-hosts, and we talk about two people who changed our lives.
May 11, 2020
Episode 3: Brian Quijada
We talk with poet-playwright-composer-performer Brian Quijada about how looping has impacted his life and work, snooping parents and teenage love letters, and the happy accident of choosing a college program that puts your career on an exciting path. Brian shares with us a mashup he created, and we talk about what's on the horizon. Geva's company manager Angela Giuseppetti co-hosts, and talks about how working for the wardrobe department prepares one to become a company manager and shares what happened when Geva made the decision to cancel shows and postpone rehearsals.
May 04, 2020
Episode 2: Playwright Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder
We talk with Looks Like Pretty playwright Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder about being a Southern storyteller, bourbon happy hours, her 105-year old grandmother, and her next project. Geva's Associate Director of Education, Lara Rhyner, co-hosts, and shares what the education department has in store for students and educators this spring and summer.
April 27, 2020
Episode 1: Director Shelley Butler
In this inaugural episode of Out of the Rehearsal Hall, Geva's Literary Director Jenni Werner and Associate Artistic Director/Director of Community Engagement talk to Shelley Butler about her work as a director in non-profit and commercial theatre, working in Japan, a surprising RV trip across the country, and finding hope for what comes next.
April 20, 2020
April 3, 2020
April 03, 2020