9 episodes

So the show’s a smash. But why? And why now? THE BACKDROP puts theater's biggest hits and most compelling productions in context — featuring interviews with the creators and cast, punctuated by a punchy, deeply researched dive into the reasons why this particular production is relevant at this particular moment. Join host Emmy and Writers Guild Award winner Kevin Bleyer (The Daily Show) and producer Nella Vera for this thoughtful mix of historical scene-setting and related current events — the full backdrop. Oh, and it’s also funny.

The Backdrop Kevin Bleyer & Nella Vera

    • Performing Arts
    • 5.0, 23 Ratings

So the show’s a smash. But why? And why now? THE BACKDROP puts theater's biggest hits and most compelling productions in context — featuring interviews with the creators and cast, punctuated by a punchy, deeply researched dive into the reasons why this particular production is relevant at this particular moment. Join host Emmy and Writers Guild Award winner Kevin Bleyer (The Daily Show) and producer Nella Vera for this thoughtful mix of historical scene-setting and related current events — the full backdrop. Oh, and it’s also funny.

    Episode 8: Quick drop with an update

    Episode 8: Quick drop with an update

    A quick drop with an update about the next two episodes, featuring the backdrop on Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and the musical Come From Away — two acclaimed productions now on hold because of the coronavirus. And why that’s a shame, considering what each has to say about why there’s no need to panic.

    Credits
    The Backdrop is hosted by Kevin Bleyer and produced by Nella Vera.
    The Backdrop artwork is by Philip Romano.
    Follow Kevin Bleyer and Nella Vera on Twitter: @kevinbleyer / @spinstripes
    The Backdrop is a proud member of the Broadway Podcast Network.

    • 6 min
    Episode 7: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, PART II

    Episode 7: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, PART II

    The Play That Goes Wrong is a great play about bad theater. Kevin says it’s also one of the best plays, comedy or drama, to hit Broadway in the past decade. In part one, he interviewed creator and original cast member Henry Lewis (of Mischief Theatre), and actors Matt Harrington and Matt Walker, to figure out just how it packed so many laughs in a simple premise. Here in part two, Kevin gets the full backdrop from New York Times comedy critic Jason Zinoman (author of a bestselling book on David Letterman, Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night) on what the success of this play says about the current state of Broadway.

    Resources
    The Play That Goes Wrong opened on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre in April 2017. It moved to New World Stages in February 2019 where it is currently playing. For tickets and information, visit https://www.broadwaygoeswrong.com/index.php.
    Visit Mischief Theatre: https://mischiefcomedy.com/
    Follow Jason Zinoman on Twitter: @zinoman
    Order Jason’s book, Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night

    Credits
    The Backdrop is hosted by Kevin Bleyer and produced by Nella Vera.
    The Backdrop artwork is by Philip Romano.
    Follow Kevin Bleyer and Nella Vera on Twitter: @kevinbleyer / @spinstripes
    The Backdrop is a proud member of the Broadway Podcast Network.

    • 24 min
    Episode 6: WILL ARBERY

    Episode 6: WILL ARBERY

    "The war is coming, dude.” So says a central character in one of the most talked about plays of the year. Is she right? Could be, who knows. But if a civil war returns, Will Arbery is undoubtedly the right playwright to spin our basest impulses into high art. In this “backdrop eavesdrop,” Kevin and Will speak one-on-one only days after Will’s play Heroes of the Fourth Turning landed on a heap of ’top 10’ lists in 2019. They talk empathy, writing anxiety, and the obstacles in offering a political play in hyper-political times. 
    A highly acclaimed production of Heroes of the Fourth Turning directed by Danya Taymor was presented at Playwrights Horizons in the Fall of 2019. It was chosen as a New York Times Critics Pick and was named to its Top Ten of 2019 list.
    Read the New York Times review by Jesse Green: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/07/theater/heroes-of-the-fourth-turning-review.html
    Read the five star review by Helen Shaw in Time Out New York: https://www.timeout.com/newyork/theater/heroes-of-the-fourth-turning
    Follow Will Arbery on Twitter at @willarbery and on Instagram at @warbery.

    Connect with us
    Follow Kevin Bleyer and Nella Vera on Twitter: @kevinbleyer / @spinstripes
    The Backdrop on Twitter and Instagram: @backdroppodcast 
    https://www.facebook.com/TheBackdropPodcast
    Email us with story ideas or feedback: BackdropPodcast@gmail.com

    Credits
    The Backdrop is hosted by Kevin Bleyer and produced by Nella Vera.
    The Backdrop artwork is by Philip Romano.
    Special thanks to Eva Dickerman.

    • 33 min
    Episode 5: SAMUEL D. HUNTER

    Episode 5: SAMUEL D. HUNTER

    Samuel D. Hunter is the MacArthur genius award-winning playwright who may have started small — as a teenager growing up in Idaho — but has since assembled a deep roster of plays set there. And that’s the point: small towns, all the better to explore big ideas. A Bright New Boise, Lewiston/Clarkston, Pocatello. For his latest, Greater Clements, he mines new territory, and he says it's both his most personal and his most ambitious attempt yet. 
    This is the first of our one-on-one, writer-to-writer conversations about not just a play, but the full backdrop on what it takes to create theater, and a full body of work. We’re calling them our “backdrop eavesdrops."

    Greater Clements is currently playing at Lincoln Center Theater through January 19, 2020. For tickets and information, visit www.lct.org
    See a montage from the show at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGU_RfSApvE
    Learn more about the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cEKBVZyj2A
    Visit Lincoln Center Theater on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    Connect with us
    Follow Kevin Bleyer and Nella Vera on Twitter: @kevinbleyer / @spinstripes
    The Backdrop on Twitter and Instagram: @backdroppodcast 
    https://www.facebook.com/TheBackdropPodcast
    Email us with story ideas or feedback: BackdropPodcast@gmail.com

    Credits
    The Backdrop is hosted by Kevin Bleyer and produced by Nella Vera.
    The Backdrop artwork is by Philip Romano.
    Special thanks to Lincoln Center Theater and Nick Buchholz.

    • 37 min
    Episode 4: HARRY TOWNSEND'S LAST STAND

    Episode 4: HARRY TOWNSEND'S LAST STAND

    Harry Townsend’s Last Stand is a comedy about what could be tragedy — the decline of a man beyond his prime, and the struggle of a son to connect with his fading father. Written by playwright George Eastman, it hits close to home for Kevin, who interviews — and laughs along with — Broadway legend and Tony winner Len Cariou and his co-star, Tony nominee Craig Bierko, and gets vital and timely advice about caretaking from AARP’s caregiving expert, Amy Goyer.

    Resources
    Harry Townsend's Last Stand performs at City Center Stage II. Visit https://www.harrytownsendslaststand.com/ for tickets and information.
    For information and resources about eldercare and aging, visit https://www.aarp.org/

    Walk down memory lane with Len Cariou and Craig Bierko in their signature roles:
    Len at Feinstein's/54 Below for a Sondheim show: https://youtu.be/qbTzzRFqT8o
    Craig at the 2000 Tony Awards: https://youtu.be/uh7KiFmzlic

    Credits
    The Backdrop is hosted by Kevin Bleyer and produced by Nella Vera.
    The Backdrop artwork is by Philip Romano.
    Follow Kevin Bleyer and Nella Vera on Twitter: @kevinbleyer / @spinstripes

    A proud member of the Broadway Podcast Network

    • 40 min
    Episode 3: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

    Episode 3: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

    The Play That Goes Wrong is a comedy about a mystery. It was also a huge hit — during its run, it became the longest-running play on Broadway. Kevin has a mystery he needs solved: the mystery of why he has seen it seven times. To solve that whodunnit, Kevin interrogates creator and original cast member Henry Lewis, actors Matt Harrington and Matt Walker, even the comedy critic for the New York Times (Jason Zinoman) — who, it must be said, has only seen it twice.

    Resources
    The Play That Goes Wrong opened on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre in April 2017. It moved to New World Stages in February 2019 where it is currently playing. For tickets and information, visit https://www.broadwaygoeswrong.com/index.php.
    Visit Mischief Theatre: https://mischiefcomedy.com/
    Follow Jason Zinoman on Twitter: @zinoman
    Order Jason’s book, Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night

    Credits
    The Backdrop is hosted by Kevin Bleyer and produced by Nella Vera.
    The Backdrop artwork is by Philip Romano.
    Follow Kevin Bleyer and Nella Vera on Twitter: @kevinbleyer / @spinstripes
    The Backdrop is a proud member of the Broadway Podcast Network.

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

Theater Fan 100 ,

Loved it

Best out there.

Guy Ticket ,

Great interviews

Not your usual, basic interviews. As a theater fan, I appreciate that this podcast puts in the extra effort. The context is helpful.

Lamp84 ,

Fascinating!

Loved hearing from important NYC theater voices about the recent Broadway production of August Wilson’s Jitney. Gives historical context, discussed relevant issues of today related to the show, and other Wilson insights. Will be back for more!

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