Click through to read about (and listen to) podcasts that focus on theatre, the Broadway industry, New York City cabaret scene and more.
What It Is: A roundtable discussion with technologist James Marino, writer Michael Portantiere and theatre critic Peter Filichia.
Format: A 15-minute conversation with someone who has an impact on the Broadway scene, followed by reviews of new Broadway/Off-Broadway shows and a wrap-up of news and current events.
"I love podcasts, I listen to podcasts everyday," said Marino. "When we started our podcast, there was nothing out there, really, that discussed theatre and Broadway. Matthew Murray and I started the podcast with Peter as a conversation every Sunday morning for a number of years. Scheduling conflicts and family responsibilities brought us Michael. We've been influenced by This American Life, Maxamoo, Theater People, Slate's daily podcast… We try to focus on Broadway and the major Off-Broadway events that are happening."
Why You Should Be Listening: James Marino, Michael Portantiere and Peter Filichia give listeners a unique perspective on the current state of theatre. They often invite critics, writers and artists to their roundtable to debate how theatre is evolving. The most recent episode invited Playbill.com's own Carey Purcell to discuss her A Woman's World column, as well as James Lapine to discuss changes made to Into the Woods for the film.
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What It Is: Broadway interviews with host, author and theatre enthusiast Patrick Hinds.
Format: A long-form interview show focusing on Tony winners, Broadway legends and today's hottest theatre stars. They get the inside scoop on how their guest became successful, discuss career highs and lows, get advice for those breaking into the business and provide at least one funny and/or embarrassing story.
"Along with producers Mike Jensen and Vonia Arslanian, I created Theater People after the terrific podcast Downstage Center went off the air," said host Hinds. "We figured that sooner or later, someone would pick up where that show left off. When nobody did, we figured that if we ever again wanted to hear Broadway celebs share their stories, we'd need to create the show ourselves. And thus, Theater People was born."
Why You Should Be Listening: In the very in-depth podcasts with Patrick, you feel like you are listening in on a warm conversation about the subject's career. The most recent episode interviewed Keala Settle, who revealed that she auditioned for the Hairspray tour to play one of the DooWop girls, only to get cast as Tracy, and how it nearly made her leave the business.
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What It Is: The Ensemblist is an inside look at the experience of being a Broadway performer — from the first rehearsal through performing eight shows a week and beyond. Whether you're an experienced theatre professional or a passionate fan, The Ensemblist will give you the opportunity to get to know new performers and the great work they do on stage, while also shedding light on some of the hidden inner workings of the Broadway experience.
Format: The Ensemblist is created and hosted by Mo Brady (The Addams Family, "Smash") and Nikka Graff Lanzarone (Chicago, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) and features interviews with performers who make up the ensemble of Broadway.
"The podcast focuses on the unsung heroes of the theatre world — the ensemble members who make each show tick," said Brady. "Episodes cover things that the general public might not know about — being a swing, replacing someone in a show, dancing with a partner night after night, what it's like to be dance captain or create new work from the ground up — and really celebrate the community we're in. The podcast came from our love of our community. Working on Broadway, we were aware of the incredible talents of ensemblists, who perform eight shows a week, but whose names are not above the title. So we decided to create a way for theatre fans (and future members of the Broadway community) to hear about what it's really like to live and work on Broadway."
Why You Should Be Listening: A fascinating celebration of the people below the title, each episode delves into one aspect of the theatre experience. Episodes on swings, dressers and touring are just a few aspects of The Ensemblist's scope. Episodes generally interview three people on the same subject, seamlessly splicing answers together to create a narrative. Props, too, for great music selections!
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What It Is: A podcast dedicated to New York City theatre beyond Broadway, created by Lindsay Barenz.
Format: Maxamoo's Theater and Performance Podcast hosts roundtable discussions about current theatre, and it features interviews with playwrights and performers.
"I started the podcast because I love listening to podcasts like NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour and Slate's Culture Gabfest, but they rarely include theatre coverage," said Barenz. "I wanted to listen to a podcast with smart people talking about theatre, especially indie theatre in New York. I couldn't find one so I started one."
Why You Should Be Listening: Often moving outside of Broadway's purview, Maxamoo delves deep into plays (and musicals) Off-Broadway, talking about theatre that isn't always in the spotlight. Smart conversation about the significance and importance of a given subject, the podcast has often shed light on shows I didn't even know were happening. They also round up and recap the many theatre festivals that happen in NYC and beyond.
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What It Is: A theatre comedy podcast, in which theatre lovers Patty Devery and Emily Faye Oakley talk about the week in theatre.
Format: Patty & Emily (as they're so commonly referred to) talk shop and take listener questions and suggestions.
"We've been doing video reviews and sketches for a few years, but we never really had a medium to discuss the aspects of theatre we chat about most often, like Kate Baldwin's mix or Betty Buckley's Instagram," said Oakley. "Every episode, we talk about the shows or concerts we've seen and get updates on any major theatre news. We also have two staple segments: 'The Carolee Update,' wherein we discuss anything that happened with Carolee Carmello that week, and 'The Laura Benanti Tweet Of The Week,' wherein we pick our favorite tweet of Laura's. We also interview shmazing people, like Erin Davie and Emily Padgett, Kate Baldwin, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Kate Wetherhead and Molly Pope."
Why You Should Be Listening: Patty & Emily, comedy partners and hardcore Broadway fans, let us listen in on their conversations about theatre. Very funny and very opinionated, these two ladies give voice to what fans often think. The fantastic episode interviewing Molly Pope is a must.
What It Is: A comprehensive collection of the best cabaret performances in New York City, including the works of musical theatre composers, classical favorites and new musical readings.
Format: Produced and hosted by Victor Legrá, The Set List provides an inside look into the creation of brand-new musicals within the New York cabaret circuit. The podcast features exclusive interviews, live performances and full soundboard recordings from concerts around the city.
"Growing up in Miami, it was difficult to see Broadway shows, let alone special one-night concerts at Joe's Pub," said Legrá. "Every so often, a YouTube video from one of these concerts would surface, and those four-and-a-half minutes would keep me fueled for weeks. I want to give similar theatre geeks an easier way to be involved in the cabaret scene and, hopefully at the same time, increase audience engagement with lesser-known artists. Many established songwriters and singers started getting noticed within the cabaret scene. Look what it's done to Tony nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and Wicked's Lindsay Mendez. A quick free podcast download on iTunes, and you are immediately transported into a cabaret act in NYC.
"As a producer, I also find it imperative to support emerging artists for the future of Broadway and musical theatre. The Set List gives these emerging singers and songwriters a voice. The most inspiring part of producing the podcast is being able to work with composers I looked up to as a theatre geek back in high school. Not only am I fan of their work, but a friend and collaborator."
Why You Should Be Listening: New musicals are born in New York City's cabaret scene, and Victor Legrá is bringing the hottest concerts around Manhattan to those who were unable to attend. He sits down with new and emerging songwriters to talk about their process and shares exclusive audio of their concerts. Be on the lookout for live performances, too! Kenita Miller's episode is a must-listen. Check Out An Episode!
What It Is: A podcast curated by Broadway producer Ken Davenport, whose Broadway credits include The Visit, It's Only a Play, Mothers and Sons, The Bridges of Madison County, Macbeth, Kinky Boots and Godspell, among others.
Format: Ken Davenport sits down with general managers, producers, directors and more artists on the creative end to talk about theatre in his half-hour installments.
Why You Should Be Listening: An expansion of Ken Davenport's popular blog on producing theatre, The Producer's Perspective interviews producers, general managers and more about the nitty-gritty of becoming a producer, as well as give an overview of the subject's career. Listen to Jordan Roth's episode as he talks about falling into producing and becoming the youngest theatre owner on Broadway.
What It Is: Downstage Center was the American Theatre Wing's acclaimed theatrical interview program that spotlights the creative talents on Broadway, Off-Broadway, across the country and around the world. It was produced in association with CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and it aired weekly on XM Satellite Radio from April 2004-November 2008. After a hiatus, the program returned from August 2009-July 2011. In 2010, there were nearly 1 million downloads from the Downstage Center archives. The program was retired in January 2013, but over 300 episodes are available.
Format: The program was created and hosted by Howard Sherman and John von Soosten from April 2004-November 2008. After a hiatus, the program returned as podcast with Sherman as sole host from August 2009-July 2011.
Why You Should Be Listening: Howard Sherman's fantastic interviews with a variety of subjects on the creation of theatre may be retired, but it is essential listening. From listening to Jason Robert Brown talk through the creation of a song to Laurie Metcalf or Judith Light talk about process, there isn't a dull episode in the batch of over 300.
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(Robbie Rozelle is the Graphic Designer for Playbill.com. Follow him on Twitter at @divarobbie)