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Hey Playwright

Hey Playwright

By Hey Playwright
Have you ever thought about writing a play but had no idea where to start? Each week, join playwrights and teaching artist pals Tori and Mabelle as they discuss playwriting and life, and leave you with a prompt to get to work. Whether you want to learn how to write a play or just need a little creative inspiration and cheerleading, this podcast is for you.
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Getting Home with Marsha Norman
In the Season 4 premiere, Tori and Mabelle talk with award-winning writer, educator and activist Marsha Norman about her career, the importance of women writing about women, her work as an educator, and the architecture of a play. Other topics discussed include conjuring the Writing Spirit, setting a 2-year deadline to finish a play, pastafarians, writing from rage, and her upcoming book about how to write a musical.
January 22, 2022
BONUS: Script Club with Brian James Polak
In this bonus episode, it's script club time! Tori and Mabelle talk with Brian James Polak, producer and host of American Theatre magazine’s The Subtext podcast, about the evolution of his play, “Here Rests the Heart.” Other topics discussed include the freedom to explore as a playwright, the importance of using your voice, and seeking a positive impact in your community.
January 09, 2022
The Observational Comedy of Herbert Siguenza
In the Season 3 finale, Tori and Mabelle recap a busy time of year and then talk with Herbert Siguenza about his journey from visual artist to theatre-maker; the importance of excavating the past to understand the present; and his play development process, including his approach to adaptations.
December 19, 2021
Reimagining TYA with Ashleigh Akilah Rucker and Samantha Miller
Tori and Mabelle talk with Ashleigh Akilah Rucker & Samantha Miller, two of the inaugural grantees of the 2021 ReImagine: New Plays in TYA program.
December 03, 2021
She Persisted: Playwrights in Conversation
Tori and Mabelle talk with Jacquelyn Reingold, Jennifer Maisel and Laura Rohrman, three Honor Roll! playwrights featured in “She Persisted: Thirty Ten-Minute Plays by Women over Forty.”
November 25, 2021
Collecting Infinity Stones with Ahmed Kenyatta Dents
Tori and Mabelle talk with Ahmed Kenyatta Dents about his goal as Director of Venue Experience at the San Diego Repertory Theatre; justice and representation in theatre; breaking down the rotten wood of old structures; and the quantum possibility of multiple yous.
November 18, 2021
A Conversation with el Maestro José Cruz González
Tori and Mabelle talk with the legendary José Cruz González who shares how he came to playwriting out of necessity; the importance of inviting yourself to come back to the playwriting table; and why children make the best dramaturgs.
November 09, 2021
The Forward Momentum of Donna Hoke
Tori and Mabelle talk with Donna Hoke about her journey as a gig writer into playwriting; embracing and owning your hometown; the value of development workshops; and the art of documenting submissions.
October 11, 2021
Lucy Wang and the Reverse Law of Gravity
Tori and Mabelle talk with Lucy Wang about her leap from Wall Street trader to playwright; ageism and sexism in American theatre; the revolutionary effect of laughter; and the parallels of playwriting and baseball.
September 29, 2021
Monster Talent of the American Theatre: Christian St. Croix
Tori and Mabelle talk with Christian St. Croix, an emerging talent in the theatre world who is no stranger to theatre-making. Christian shares his theatrical journey, the evolution of his play, “Monsters of the American Cinema,” and the importance of tenacity and hope.
September 20, 2021
Love 5: The Tennis Plays
In the Season 3 kickoff, Tori and Mabelle host Love 5: The Tennis Plays festival celebrating the work of eight playwrights from around the world who submitted their 5-minute masterpieces to the tennis-inspired Hey Playwright short play festival.
September 15, 2021
Do you have a five-minute tennis play or have you been itching to write one? On this mini episode, we put out the call. Deadline is approaching quickly so act fast! Plays are due August 27, 2021 at 11:59 PM PT.
August 23, 2021
BONUS: Steven Oberman and the DIY MFA in Self-Producing
Tori and Mabelle talk with playwright Steven Oberman about playing multiple roles as playwright/actor/director and producer in his one-man show, Blurred at the Edges, about the life of Dr. John Langdon Down.
August 03, 2021
BONUS: The Bright Light of Stephanie Kauffman
In this mini episode, traveling Tori and Mabelle talk with Stephanie Kauffman, owner of Mose Mary and Me, a boutique custom & pop culture prayer candle company in New Orleans, LA. We even offer up a prayer... candle writing prompt.
May 31, 2021
The Illimitable Generosity of Idris Goodwin
In the Season 2 finale, Tori and Mabelle talk with Idris Goodwin about his life as an art-maker. He shares his journey from Detroit to Chicago and beyond and how all of the places shaped his life’s work and play. Along the way, he drops knowledge around freestyle cyphers, finding your tribe, expanding narratives, the empowerment of educators and students, as well as how the teacher acts as DJ, fostering the energy of students.
May 17, 2021
The "Yes, and" of Jacole Kitchen
Tori and Mabelle talk with Jacole about her roles as La Jolla Playhouse’s Director of Arts Engagement and In-House Casting, as well as her directorial hat for the POP (Performance Outreach Program) world-premiere of Idris Goodwin’s play, "Pick Me Last". Jacole shares her  “yes, and-edness” approach to life; her mission statement as a theatremaker; LJP’s artist-driven approach and their shift to online streaming; and the joyful collaboration with other theatremakers for "Pick Me Last".
May 08, 2021
The Eternal Vigilance of Josh Irving Gershick
Tori and Mabelle talk with Josh about his development of “Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America.” He shares the sacred duty of oral history storytelling, including transparency and honor, focusing on a theme, and preserving the voice of the subject. Other subjects include: the importance of a playwright’s mission statement, artistic generosity, and Josh’s continued drive to uplift the stories of every day queer folk.
April 29, 2021
The Fabulous Monsters of Diana Burbano
Tori and Mabelle talk with powerhouse playwright, teaching artist and Southern California Dramatists Guild Rep, Diana Burbano, about her punk rock musical play, Fabulous Monsters. Other topics include music as an entry point to character development, ageism and sexism in the music industry, Latinas in the punk movement, and joy and anarchy.
April 19, 2021
For the Love of...Gina Femia
Tori and Mabelle talk with the fantastically prolific and lovely human, playwright Gina Femia. Gina discusses the evolution of her play, For the Love of (or, the Roller Derby Play). Gina reveals insights into her writing process, the importance of workshopping and rewriting, and starting from a place of love.
April 12, 2021
The Elaborate Wisdom of Kristoffer Diaz
Tori and Mabelle talk with playwright, librettist, screenwriter and educator, Kristoffer Diaz. Kristoffer discusses various works including his Pulitzer-prize finalist play, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Football Football Football and Going Left, as well as his adaption of RENT for Fox and writing for Netflix's GLOW. Other topics include the democratization of theatre, the importance of industry relationships and “chasing the churn.”
April 02, 2021
Guillermo Reyes on “That Day In Tucson”
Tori and Mabelle talk with playwright and educator, Guillermo Reyes, about his play, “That Day in Tucson,” which centers on Daniel Hernandez Jr., the young man credited with saving congresswoman Gabby Giffords’s life when a man opened fire on a crowd hitting 19 people and killing six. Guillermo reveals the challenges and triumphs of dramatizing a real-life event and discusses his upcoming streaming performances of “Men on the Verge of a His-panic Breakdown” and his new musical, “Hit Music.”
March 28, 2021
Unleashing Superpowers with Starry Krueger
Tori and Mabelle talk with educator and TYA playwright, Starry Krueger, about the Imaginary Theater Company, her pivot to teaching and producing online theatre, and the importance of art as a tool for catharsis and empathy.
March 19, 2021
The Twofer! Jordan Marie Finley and Cecelia Kouma
It's a two-for-one episode! In the spirit of the 2021 Plays By Young Writers Festival, Tori and Mabelle talk with Jordan Marie Finley, two-time winner of Playwrights Project’s annual California Young Playwrights Contest. Jordan shares her journey into playwriting and the inspiration for her plays, as well as how a twitter post led to front row tix to Elton John; her most liked tiktok featuring a WB actor and her appearance on Michelle Obama’s Twitter feed. THEN, Cecelia Kouma, Executive Director of Playwrights Project, joins the show to discuss her 20+ years with the organization; the evolution of the Plays by Young Writers festival; and her development of the Community Storytelling programs. 
March 09, 2021
Following Hunches with Robby Lutfy
Tori and Mabelle talk with Cygnet Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director, accomplished theatre-maker and all-around beautiful human being, Robby Lutfy. Robby shares his approach to reading plays through multiple judgement-free reads using his *vomit writing* free-writes to lift the rocks created by the playwright. Robby discusses wrestling with his own artistic mission statement by taking the theatre to couples counseling; the importance of giving young people agency in the theatre; and for theatres to rise post-pandemic more equitable and inclusive to create bridges of empathy. His writing prompt involves self-reflection to build empathy.
February 26, 2021
V-Minute Valentines Festival
Tori and Mabelle host the V-Minute Valentines festival celebrating the work of nine playwrights from around the world who submitted their 5-minute masterpieces to the Valentine-inspired Hey Playwright short play festival.
February 15, 2021
Connecting Magic, Past & Present with Aleta Barthell
Tori and Mabelle talk with triple threat actress, playwright and teaching artist, Aleta Barthell. Aleta reveals how she connects historical moments with current events through magical realism in her plays Window of Shame (Finalist, 2020 National Playwrights Conference, O’Neill Theater Center; Finalist, HUMANITAS/CTG Playwriting Prize), Walking Down the Corn, and Night Witches: Flight Into Fantasy. Aleta also introduces the writing ribbon and the important link between movement and creativity.
February 10, 2021
Midlife Mutineer, Colette Freedman
Tori and Mabelle talk with the multi-talented powerhouse, Colette Freedman. Colette shares her journey from her first 10-minute play to internationally produced playwright, and the value of writing with passion and the intention to get your work out in the world (and off of the computer!). She also drops advice that led to her successful career as an award-winning novelist, teaching artist and script doctor, inspiring listeners to avoid the career pigeonhole trap. She leaves us with a sustainable prompt for 365 days a year and reminds us to be kind and go create something!
January 27, 2021
Season 2 Premiere: A Good Shoe is a Good Shoe is a Good Shoe
Season 2 is here! Tori and Mabelle dive into Season 2 with a check-in of their 90-Day Play experiment, shoes as the dangling carrot for finishing pages, favorite love stories, AND an invitation to submit to the next Hey Playwright contest, V-Minute Valentines!
January 22, 2021
We made it to our Season Finale!
Tori and Mabelle round out their 12-episode season with a cornucopia of topics including: upcoming writing projects; the joy of smooth writing utensils; dislodging constipated gel pens; a seasonal asking for a friend; and an invitation to journey with them on their “The 90-Day Play” adventure inspired by Linda Walsh Jenkins’s book. This week’s writing prompt invites you to peek back at the past (from the future!).
December 04, 2020
The Creative Alchemy of Sarah Greenman
Tori and Mabelle talk with one of their artist idols: Sarah Greenman. A storyteller, visual artist and Woo-woo catalyst, Sarah discusses the evolution of her Creative Alchemy Oracle Deck, playwriting, motherhood and the importance of choosing this life every day. Her upcoming projects, as well as her acclaimed play, Leni, based on the life of Leni Riefenstahl, are also discussed. Sarah offers two prompts inspired by Maggie Smith’s poem, “Good Bones."
November 17, 2020
Tom Steward, A True Legacy Character
Tori and Mabelle talk with theatremaker, film aficionado and podcaster, Tom Steward. Tom digs into the details of dissecting film sequels, starting with dialogue to create compelling stories, holding onto your writing drafts AND the importance of self-advocating. He also shares which horror movie he’d choose to be trapped in. He gives a potentially haunting (but not necessarily) prompt to jumpstart your writing.
November 02, 2020
5-Minute Frights Festival
Tori and Mabelle host the Five-Minute Frights festival celebrating the work of eight playwrights from around the world who submitted their short plays to the first Hey Playwright short play festival.
October 26, 2020
Creative Trespassing with Tania Katan
Tori and Mabelle talk with Penguin Random House inspirational speaker and creative disruptor, Tania Katan. Tania shares insights about the two Cs of creativity, her life as a best-selling author and Curator of Shenanigans, and how she found her “in” as a public speaker. Tori and Mabelle receive new job titles: Motivational Grader and Storytelling Reporter. Tania drops two writing prompts, including one from her award-winning book, “Creative Trespassing: How To Put The Spark And Joy Back Into Your Work And Life.”
October 20, 2020
Mindful Contest Submissions
Tori and Mabelle drop helpful tips on prepping for contest submissions (hint: Don’t be like Johnny Smartypants), including resources for finding opportunities. Everyone’s a winner with a  contest-inspired writing prompt.
October 12, 2020
The Magnetic Optimism of Izzy Ster
Tori and Mabelle talk with award-winning playwright and high school senior, Izzy Ster who shares her thoughts about distance learning, the magic of theatre, and the importance of doing what makes you happy. Izzy gives us a timely scene prompt, just right for the times.
October 04, 2020
Hey Playwright Call for Entries!
Tori and Mabelle announce a call for entries for the 5-Minute Frights - a Zoom festival of spooky short plays. Sign up by October 7, 2020 to get started. More info at
September 30, 2020
The Recalibration of Albert Park
Tori and Mabelle talk with one of their favorite actors, Albert Park. Albert discusses his journey as an actor and what he has been up to during the pandemic. The Twilight Zone, eating off the floor, and junior high are also discussed.  Albert provides a sensory exercise to spark up an idea for something to write about.
September 27, 2020
Sage and Super Fun Playwright Thelma Virata de Castro
Tori and Mabelle talk with playwright, teaching artist, and calming presence Thelma Virata de Castro. Among many other things, Thelma talks about her work as a playwright and a standardized patient. And she serves up a really great prompt. 
September 19, 2020
Productivity and the Pandemic
Tori and Mabelle discuss where their inspiration comes from, the magic of eavesdropping, and nice smells. There's an exercise to try the next time you go grocery shopping and a writing prompt to get you going.
September 12, 2020
Superstar Maria Patrice Amon and the Latinx New Play Festival
Tori and Mabelle talk with Dr. Maria Patrice Amon, founder and executive producer of the Latinx New Play Festival at the San Diego Repertory Theatre. Jane Fonda, expired mayonnaise, and the sedentary lifestyle are also discussed. A writing prompt tops off the fun.
September 04, 2020
Hello, World
Meet Tori and Mabelle, your hosts who talk playwriting, discuss virtual theatre during the pandemic, and compare game faces (or lack thereof). A writing prompt pushing the limits of creative constraints concludes the episode. 
September 01, 2020
Hey Playwright, it's our trailer!
Hey Playwright is a new podcast about playwriting, theatre, and life., featuring tips, tricks, and writing prompts to get you going.
August 11, 2020