Each Friday at 8:30 PM, Winer will interview a different distaff talent, ranging from actresses to playwrights to artistic directors. First up is Harris, a 40-year stage veteran and frequent Tony nominee.
"Women in Theatre" is produced by a organization called The League of Professional Theatre Women. Isobel Robins and Harriet Slaughter are co-presidents. The executive producer is Ruth Mayleas and Betty L. Corwin, of the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, co-produced the series. The League is an advocacy group, created to cast a spotlight on the achievements of female theatre artists.
"In our politically-aware times, it might seem odd to create a series solely around women in theatre," said Linda Winer in a statement. "After so many years, shouldn't the category have withered away and become irrelevant?" But, no. Winer pointed to a 2002 study by the New York State Council on the Arts.
"Although women submit about half of all the works available to artistic directors," she said, "only 16 percent of produced plays are by women and 17 percent have female directors — down from 21 percent and 23 percent, respectively, since the previous year." Winer, one of the few female New York drama critics in a profession dominated by men, has often taken up the woman's point of view in her reviews and features. For instance, when New York Times critic Bruce Weber openly wrote that he perhaps did not "get" the 2002 Broadway comedy The Smell of the Kill because it was about women plotting the deaths of their husbands and he was a single man, Winer responded to his reaction in print.
The series schedule runs as follows: Rosemary Harris, actress, April 4
Lynne Meadow, artistic director, Manhattan Theatre Club, April 11
Dael Orlandersmith, playwright and actress, April 18
Cherry Jones, actress, April 25
Elizabeth McCann, producer, May 2
Paula Vogel, playwright, May 9
Molly Smith, artistic director, Arena Stage, Washington D.C., May 16
Virginia Louloudes, Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY, May 23
Heidi Ettinger, set designer, May 30
Diana Son, playwright, June 6
Daryl Roth, producer, June 13
Willa Kim, costume designer, June 20
Suzan-Lori Parks, playwright, June 27
CUNY TV, the cable television station of the City University of New York, is available to more than two million households throughout the city’s five boroughs. It is on channel 75 on Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems. It's also on RCN.
The series will become part of the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive, which was founded by Corwin.