Classical 91.5

Geva Theatre Center

Geva Theatre Center is kicking off its new season with what it's calling an innovative and unconventional production. "Recognition Radio" is a series of audio plays celebrating Black voices. The plays were written and directed by Black artists.

Creative producer Esther Winter wrote, "American theatre has historically compartmentalized the roles Blacks have played within its structures. But the reckoning this country is experiencing is changing that. Our writing, acting, singing, and creating are receiving a different level of recognition. We are now seen as more than a footnote or a stereotype. We are not a chapter. We are the book."

This hour, talk to the artists involved in the productions about what they hope audiences will learn from their stories, and about producing audio plays during a pandemic. Our guests:

  • Esther Winter, creative producer for “Recognition Radio: An Audio Play Festival Celebrating Black Voices”
  • Pirronne Yousefzadeh, associate artistic director, and director of engagement for Geva Theatre Center 
  • Kirsten Greenidge, playwright for “Feeding Beatrice: A Gothic Tale” 
  • Daniel Bryant, director of “Feeding Beatrice” 
  • Theresa M. Davis, dramaturg for “The Bleeding Class” 
  • Otis Ramsey Zoe, dramaturg for “we are continuous”
  • Christina Anderson, playwright for “The Resurrection of Michelle Morgan” 
  • Pascale Florestal, dramaturg for “The Resurrection of Michelle Morgan” 

Geva Theatre Center announced its 2020-21 season in March, although Artistic Director Mark Cuddy added the caveat that those plans could be challenged by the coronavirus pandemic.

That caveat landed this week, as Geva released plans for its “Reimagined” upcoming season, with four audio shows by Black writers and directors starting in October.

In one fell swoop, Geva Theatre Center on Monday announced it is postponing, canceling or re-platforming the remainder of this season’s events. 

And anticipating an end to the coronavirus pandemic that is shuttering the arts, it also announced on Monday its productions for the upcoming 2020-21 season, beginning with a Sept. 1 show about air guitars, and the people who love them.

Lisa Hoffman lost her eyes to a rare form of cancer when she was 14 months old. That shaped her life in many ways, and for the better.

"She lived life to the fullest from the day she was born," said Susan Hoffman, Lisa's older sister. "She never let her blindness stop her at all."

It was cancer which ultimately ended Lisa's remarkable life on Monday. She was 54 years old.

When's the last time you gave someone a standing ovation? We have a little debate over when to stand, and when to stay seated. The critics say that we stand too often, and that has removed the meaning of standing ovations. It's the adult version of "everyone gets a trophy." Or is it?

Our guests:

A new play at Geva Theatre tackles war, immigration, the refugee experience, and the gray area between right and wrong. “Heartland” is the story of an Afghan refugee and an American professor who form an unexpected friendship. It’s a production that speaks to the value theater can have in helping audiences understand the human stories behind political issues.

Our guests discuss the play, and how the arts can help us understand our world. We also preview Geva’s 46th season. In studio: