The American Theatre Wing has announced the return of its acclaimed interview show "Downstage Center," back by popular demand. The show returns as a podcast on Monday, August 3 with Tony Award-winner and Billy Elliot star Gregory Jbara. Hosted by American Theatre Wing Executive Director Howard Sherman, "Downstage Center" will continue to feature weekly in-depth interviews with the leading artists and professionals working on stage today. Podcasts are available through iTunes or an RSS feed. Click http://americantheatrewing.org/downstagecenter to subscribe.
"Downstage Center has grown to be a vital part of The American Theatre Wing's mission, because it offers listeners the opportunity to hear theater artists discuss their entire careers at length, not merely their current projects," Sherman said.
On the return episode of "Downstage Center," Jbara traces his stage career from his first grade appearance as the title role in Frosty the Snowman all the way to his Tony Award-winning turn in the current Broadway musical Billy Elliot. Along the way, he discusses a college career that began at the University of Michigan and wrapped up at the Juilliard School; his first significant role as The Monster in the campy Have I Got a Girl For You (The Frankenstein Musical); chronicles the sudden acclaim (Off Broadway) and quick demise (on Broadway) of Caryl Churchill's Serious Money; his various appearances in Forever Plaid around the country -- and how he made more doing it in Washington, DC than the original cast made in the New York company; what it was like to work with show business icons like Jerry Lewis (in Damn Yankees) and Julie Andrews (in Victor/Victoria); how his role of André, and the songs, in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels were shaped as the show was being developed; and what it's like to play opposite a different actor as Billy every single night in Billy Elliot -- often not knowing who he'll be on with until moments before the curtain rises.
"Downstage Center" aired weekly on XM Radio from 2004 - 2008, where guests included Edward Albee, Alan Ayckbourn, Norbert Leo Butz, Michael Cerveris, Kristin Chenoweth, Neil Patrick Harris, William Ivey Long, Patti LuPone, Alan Menken, Bebe Neuwirth, Jack O'Brien, Bernadette Peters, Phylicia Rashad, Vanessa Redgrave, Tom Stoppard and many more. All 227 episodes are available for listening and download on The Wing's website and iTunes, where there have already been 2,000,000 downloads and counting!
The American Theatre Wing (Theodore S. Chapin, Chairman of the Board of Directors; Howard Sherman, Executive Director) is best known as the creator of the Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards®, which it presents annually with The Broadway League. In addition to "Downstage Center," The Wing sponsors many activities, all dedicated to recognizing excellence and supporting education in theatre. These programs include "Working in the Theatre," a weekly television program on CUNY TV which gathers panels of theater artists to discuss their crafts; "Guides to Careers in the Theatre," a video series developed for schools and libraries; a grants program for New York City not-for-profit theatre companies, which has awarded nearly $3 million since its inception; the Theatre Intern Group, a career development program for young professionals; SpringboardNYC, a two-week college-to-career boot camp for young performers moving to NYC; and the Jonathan Larson® Grants, given annually to honor emerging composers, lyricists and book writers. Visitors to www.americantheatrewing.org can listen to archive episodes of "Downstage Center," all as free, on-demand streaming audio and podcast and can view or download an archive of "Working in the Theatre" episodes.