Stage Talk

Theater aficionado Steven Hunt takes listeners backstage to chat with actors, directors, playwrights and technical artists about the theater scene in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. When multiple events allow, a calendar of the best live performances and stage events in Southcentral Alaska is also provided.

Twenty-five years ago, Jerry and Sandy Harper founded Cyrano's Theatre Company located at the corner of 4th Avenue and D Street in downtown Anchorage. This summer, the Board of Directors announced that the company will be moving to the former Out North Contemporary Art House located on Debarr Street midway between midtown and east Anchorage. This week on Stage Talk, Cyrano's Producing Artistic Director Teresa Pond and Board Member Jay Burns drop by to tell us about all the new and exciting opportunities this will bring to the company as well as a few fond memories of the old space. KSKA: Friday, June 23 at 2:45pm

KSKA: Friday, June 16 at 2:45pm Stage Talk continues its summer series of focusing on upcoming seasons and this week we invite Reed Smith, General Director of Anchorage Opera to drop by and let us know what they have in store for their "Happily Ever After" 2017-18 season. LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Friday, June 9 at 2:45pm This years marks the 25th anniversary of one of the nation's premier theatre conferences and it's right here in Valdez, Alaska. The Last Frontier Theatre Conference started under the leadership of Dr. Jo Ann C. (Jody) McDowell and has been led by conference coordinator Dawson Moore since 2003. While at the core of the conference is the Play Lab, in which playwrights have their original works read to and given feedback by conference participants, the week-long event also features live performances, workshops in everything from acting and improvisation to playwriting and dramaturgy--and if that isn't enough, there is even a fringe festival that goes way into the evening. Conference Coordinator Dawson Moore joins Stage Talk via a phone line this week to let us in on all the details. LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Friday, June 2 at 2:45p.m. Every summer Stage Talk likes to highlight upcoming seasons and this week we begin by featuring Anchorage Community Theatre. Executive Director Sara Athans drops by to give us a report on last year's season as well as a preview into next year's. LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Friday, May 26 at 2:45pm Of the three elements that go into making performing arts what it is, one is the space in which both performers and audience share. It is that place where we, as a community, come to share common experiences. Seventy years ago, Cap Lathrop created such a space in the 4th Avenue Theatre. This weekend, a 70th Anniversary Celebration is occurring to commemorate that founding and on today's Stage Talk Sandy Harper and Ron Holmstrom gather to share stories about the theatre and to let us in on some of the goings on of the celebration. The Celebration will happen May 27-29 on 4th Avenue, the Performing Arts Center and the Anchorage Museum. LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Friday, May 19 at 2:45pm. If you've ever wondered why "the grass is always greener over the septic tank" all you need to do is drop by Stage Talk this week as we talk about Cyrano's Theatre Company's production of Allison and Margaret Engel's one woman show Erma Bombeck: At Wit's End. Ursula Gould, who plays Erma Bombeck, along with director Krista M. Schwarting are Steve's guests this week. Erma Bombeck:At Wit's End is currently playing at Cyrano's and will continue until June 4th. LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Friday, May 12 at 2:45pm Playwright Neil Simon is a master of comedic writing and so even California Suite, a play that debuted in 1976, is just as funny and relevant to today as it ever was. Valley Performing Arts is currently running this classic play of four different stories all connected by one space: The Beverly Hills Hotel suite 203-204. Director Matt Firmin drops by Stage Talk this week to let us know how he approached the show, how he worked with his actors and how he made a few updates. California Suite runs through May 28th. LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Friday, April 28 at 2:45pm Though a child may be taught the concept of what is right and what is wrong, it is only through life's specific experiences that she starts to understand what those concepts really mean and how they can affect her and loved ones around her. Such is the story of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird as adapted to the stage by Christopher Sergel and presented by Perseverance Theatre in the Discovery Theatre. Actors Keith McCoy ("Tom Robbins"), Theo Houck ("Dill") and Seth Coppens ("Scout") join host Steve Hunt this week on Stage Talk. To Kill a Mockingbird opens April 28th and runs through May 7th. LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Friday, April 21 at 2:45pm In 1980, Robert Pond, candidate for Master of Arts degree in Theatre Arts at Portland State University presented his thesis: The History of Community Theatre in Anchorage, Alaska 1946-1976. Today, as he is preparing that thesis for a book, he drops by Stage Talk to chat about his personal recollections and experiences from his long career of producing theatre. Bob is one of the most recognized figures in Anchorage theatre and currently is one of the co-founders of RKP Productions which is planning on producing two Menotti operas later this year. LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Friday, April 14 at 2:45pm Spring Returns. And so it does in the remounting of Director and Choreographer Brian Jeffery's aptly named dance piece being performed as part of UAA's Department of Theatre and Dance's New Dances 2017 this weekend at the UAA Fine Arts Building Main Stage. Fifty-eight dancers, choreographers and technician/designers have come together this year to present exciting new works. Joining Brian on this week's Stage Talk is triple threat (dancer, choreographer and lighting designer) Katie O'Loughlin to give us an insight into what goes into producing such an ambitious body of work. New Dances 2017 performs April 13-16. LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Friday, April 7 at 2:45pm During KSKA's Spring Fund Drive, Stage Talk goes to great lengths... or distances to bring exciting guests to the show. In this case we go to Australia (via Skype) to talk to playwright Timothy Daly about the premier of his play, The Afterlife of J. Edgar Hoover being produced by RKP Productions in association with Cyrano's Theatre Company. Joining Timothy in the studio are Director and Producer Dick Reichman and Producer Audrey Weltman Kelly. The Afterlife of J. Edgar Hoover performs at Cyrano's Theatre Company April 7th through the 23rd. LISTEN NOW

KSKA: Friday, March 31 at 2:45pm Julie Kramer's stage adaptation of Rona Jaffee's ground breaking novel The Best of Everything follows the lives of five women working for a Manhattan publishing firm in the early 1950s and is currently being performed at Anchorage Community Theatre (until April 9th.) Uncannily timely today, this play examines the lives of these women trying to make it in the business world while balancing personal lives and relationships. This week Director Krista Schwarting and actors Kimberly Allely and R. Scott Cantrell drop by the studio to talk about the play on Stage Talk. LISTEN NOW

KSKA: Friday, March 24 at 2:45pm Often considered the greatest play written in the English language, Shakespeare's Hamlet is as complicated it its psychological examination of the particular characters as it is enlightening of the human spirit. TBA Theatre is presenting this timeless work at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium on the campus of UAA March 24th through April 2nd and two of the actors, Wayne Mitchell and Jessica Faust drop by Stage Talk this week to let us know how they are approaching the play. LISTEN NOW

KSKA: Friday, March 17 at 2:30pm Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita) are recognized as two of the most popular musical theatre composer/lyricists today and The Alaska Fine Arts Academy of Eagle River is producing one of their most enduring, and earliest works based on the story of Joseph from the Old Testament, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. On this week's Stage Talk, AFAA's Executive Director Lailani Cook brings two of the actors, Arthur Braendel and Emma Wasko to talk about how this show is as entertaining for the entire family today as it was when it premiered in 1968. Joseph runs March 24-April 1st. LISTEN NOW 

KSKA: Friday, March 10 at 2:45pm Cyrano's Theatre Company is presenting Noel Coward's classic Comedy of Manners, Private Lives about a divorced couple, now on honeymoons with their new spouses, who meet and discover that they are still attracted to each other. Director Teresa Pond and actors Frank Delaney and Stefanie Suydam drop by Stage Talk this week to talk about how this play is still as "fantastically funny" as it was back when it was first produced in 1930. Private Lives runs March 10 through April 2 at Cyrano's Theatre Company. LISTEN NOW

KSKA: Friday, March 3 at 2:45pm A young 17-year old Tlingit leaves Juneau to go to his grandparents' remote village to begin a journey into himself and his culture is the subject of Frank Henry Kaash Katasse's play They Don't Talk Back being produced by Perseverance Theatre and performing in the Sydney Laurence Theatre March 3rd through the 12th. Skyler Ray-Benson Davis, who plays the young "Nick", stops by the studio this week along with Anchorage General Manager Josh Lowman to talk about among other things Skyler's own journey as a young Tlingit man who learned a lot about his own culture by performing in this exciting new play.

KSKA: Friday, February 24 at 2:45pm. Pre-Moth Radio Hour, This American Life and even Alaska's own Arctic Entries, author Studs Terkel took tape recorder in hand to interview real people doing real jobs across the country and then published a book about the people he met. Later, renowned composer Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin) collaborated with several other composers and song writers (James Taylor, Craig Carnelia, etc.) to bring that book to the stage in the form of the musical Working which is being presented by the University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Theatre and Dance. In their last weekend (Feb 24-26), Director Nova Cunningham and two of the actors from the show, Jacob Marforth and Jordan Crenshaw drop by Stage Talk this week to give us some background on all of these remarkable people. LISTEN NOW

KSKA: Friday, February 17 at 2:45pm Valley Performing Arts is presenting Ken Ludwig's popular farce, Lend Me a Tenor February 17th-March 5th at their theatre in Wasilla. Dropping by the studio this week to talk about it are Actor Todd Broste and Actor and Director Kelly Lee Williams. Listen to Stage Talk to hear how Williams, as Director, has made some very interesting choices to solve one of the more challenging aspects of the play and also how Broste considers his character to be one of the most fun ones he's ever played. LISTEN NOW

KSKA: Friday, February 10 at 2:45pm Anchorage Opera Company is presenting Tom Cipullo's opera Glory Denied based on the true story of the longest held American captive during the Vietnam War and what happens with his life when he returns. Stage Director Helena Binder and Conductor Douglas Kinney Frost drop by the studio this week to tell us about their unique concept of how they have chosen to present this moving story. Glory Denied performs in the Sydney Laurence Theatre starting February 10th and going through the 18th. LISTEN NOW

KSKA: Friday, February 3 at 2:45pm What's better than going to hear Billie Holiday perform at Emerson's Bar and Grill? Hearing four Billie Holidays performing at Anchorage Community Theatre in Lanie Robertson's Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill performing at ACT February 4th-19. Director Matt Fernandez, along with two of the "Billies", Vivian Melde and Kinley Norman drop by Stage Talk this week to give us the scoop on how they do it. LISTEN NOW