The Soul of the American Actor

INTERVIEWS with ARTISTS

BEN VEREEN

JEANINE TESORI

PSALMAYENE 24

SYLVIA MCNAIR

MICHAEL McELROY

DEIDRE KINAHAN

BOB ARI

PAUL TAZEWELL

PATRICIA ROZARIO

NANCY RHODES

MAIA DANZIGER

EARL “PEANUTT” MONTGOMERY

WILLIE RUFF

DENNIS D’AMICO

GRACE CACHOCHA

KAREN SAILLANT

JENNIFER HORNE

JEANIE THOMPSON

ROBERT PERRY

WAYNE SIDES

JAMIE LEE McMAHAN

“To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.”  
– Marlon Brando

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
– Helen Keller

“The theatre should be treated with respect. The theatre is a wonderful place, a house of strange enchantment, a temple of illusion.”
– Noel Coward

“Cultivate an ever continuous power of observation...see the sunlight and everything that is to be seen.”
– John Singer Sargent

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
– T.S. Eliot

 

 


Articles

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company

Black Theatre United

Mabou Mines

Theater J

Pangea World Theater

Round House Theatre

Bucks County Playhouse

Charleston Stage

Maryland Ensemble Theatre

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

PURE Theatre Company

Ronald Rand’s “CREATE! How Extraordinary People Live to Create and Create to Live”

Virginia Stage Company

Constellation Theatre Company

League of Professional Theatre Women

Maryland Hall

BlackRock Center for the Arts

Great American Songbook Foundation & Academy

Kennedy Center REACH

Inter Act Art Theatre

“Grand Ball in the Belle Epoch” – Edwardian Period Style Salon

“You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.”
– Richard Bach

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
– Wilma Rudolph

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”
– William Faulkner

“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
– Ernest Hemingway

“My favorite piece of music is the one we hear all the time if we are quiet.”
– John Cage

 

 

 

 

“The only revolution that counts is a revolution of the human spirit.”
- Henrik Ibsen

 “You are not your thoughts or behavior. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain.”
- Eckhart Tolle

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
- Robert F. Kennedy

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”
- Napoleon Hill

 

Round House Theatre

When “The Soul of the American Actor” sat down to talk with Artistic Director Ryan Rilette about the future of The Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland, the theater had just undergone a massive multi-million-dollar renovation.

Mr. Rilette began by saying, “The full interior renovation reflects Round House Theatre’s commitment to community engagement by creating an adaptable performance space and transforming the lobby into a warm and welcoming community gathering place, so that the audience will come early and stay late after the show. From the flexible stage and seating arrangements, to the full bar and café, to the grand staircase and additional seating in the lobby, he says “every part of this renovation will help us expand our impact and join the top tier of regional theatres in America.” 

He went on to say, “The theater renovations are part of ‘Full Circle,’ a fourteen million dollar capital campaign which was launched last year, and also funds the Resident Artist program that commissions new works by women playwrights and playwrights of color, as well as the expansion of Round House’s free-ticket program for students and other artistic and access initiatives.

“The main mission of the Round House Theatre,” according to Rilette, “is to make audiences empathize and to see other worlds they haven’t seen before. I want to captivate audiences with stories that inspire compassion, evoke emotions and demand conversation. At the same time, to create a collaborative environment where artists can do their best work, foster a commitment to excellence and highlight voices that have been historically misrepresented and under-resourced by the theater field.”

“Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)” by Suzan-Lori Parks, at Round House Theatre, 2015

“We had opened our 2019-2020 season with the regional premiere of Jocelyn Bioh’s hit off-Broadway comedy. “ School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play,” Mr. Rilette continued. “Roundhouse is thrilled that the first show of the season was entirely with female and female-identifying actors along with a predominantly female creative team. Six years ago, Round House committed to the idea that fifty per cent of their productions would be written by women. That commitment has now grown to include all disciplines, encompassing the creative teams, cast and crew.”

“Another major aspect of Round House Theatre is education,” Rilette shared with us. “We’re also producing shows during the season that will also appeal to teenagers. I want to bring teens into the theater to create a new generation of theatergoers because we need to capture kids around the age of 18.”

Round House Theatre’s 2019-2020 season also included two Tony Award-winning hits. Ryan Rilette and Jared Mezzocchi co-directed Simon Stephens’ adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling book, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” 

Alan Paul made his Round House directorial debut with “Spring Awakening,” Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s musical adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play about a group of repressed and restless adolescents grappling with the onset of adulthood. “Spring Awakening” won the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Book, Original Score, and Orchestrations in 2007.

“Spring Awakening” at Round House Theatre

Round House Theatre also offers an array of educational programming in Bethesda, their education center in Silver Spring and in schools, including acting classes for kids of all ages, a teen performance company, a young artist performance company, and a scene study class for older active adults and an internship program.

Cristina Sastre stars in “Spring Awakening” at Round House Theatre (photo: (C. Stanley Photography/Round House Theatre)

Round House Theatre has scheduled during 2020, “Homebound,” an original webseries of ten-minute episodes that will air over ten weeks between April 27th and June 29th exploring life under the Stay-at-Home orders in the nation’s capital. “Homebound” will feature Round House Theatre resident artist Greg Wallace with Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, plus seven local artists who lost work as a result of the cancellation of the theater’s spring shows. Round House Theatre has paired the artists with ten of Washington D.C.’s leading playwrights, each creating stories that the actors can film themselves at home. These episodes will be supported by four of the Round House Theater’s designers and directed by Round House Artistic Director Ryan Rilette and Associate Artistic Director, Nicole A. Watson.

Looking ahead, Round House Theatre’s 2020-2021 season will include a music-filled regional premiere of “Quixote Nuevo” by Octavio Solis, Martyna Majok’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Cost of Living,” followed by “Paradise Blue” by Dominique Morisseau, a pair of World Premieres: “it’s not a trip, it’s a journey” and “We declare you a terrorist…” performed in repertory, and the final production will be “The Tempest,” adapted and directed by renowned magician, Teller (of Penn and Teller) and director, Aaron Posner. For info: Round House Theatre 4545 East-West Highway Bethesda, MD 20814-0688, (240) 644-1100, www.roundhousetheatre.org

“The Tempest” at Round House Theatre

 


"It is a law of life that man cannot live for himself alone. Extreme individualism is insanity. The world's problems are also our personal problems. Health is achieved through maintaining our personal truth in a balanced relation of love to the rest of the world. No expression is more emblematic of this relation than the creative act which we call art. No art by its very constitution typifies the social nature of that creative act more than the theatre. The theatre, to be fully understood and appreciated, must be seen as a manifestation of this process of interchange between society and the individual. It must be judged as a continuous development of groups of individuals within society, a development which becomes richer, acquires greater force and value as it grows with the society in which it originates. Only in this way can the theatre nourish us.  - Harold Clurman

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