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Vivid Podcasts

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Jacqueline Goes To Film—A New Podcast

Episode 5: Laura and Dave Spotlight Noreen's Star Power

In this episode, Laura and Dave are joined by special guest Noreen Farley, star of our upcoming film, "Jacqueline Remembers All of This." Join us as we share our excitement about transitioning from past funding to actual filmmaking, discuss our production schedule, and gain insights from Noreen on bringing Jacqueline to life. It's an exhilarating peek into our indie filmmaking journey!

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Jacqueline Goes To Film—A New Podcast

Episode 4: Laura and Dave's 3 R's: Readings, Rehearsals, and Relaunches

In Episode 4 of "Jacqueline Goes To Film," hosts Laura Ekstrand and Dave Maulbeck take you on a captivating journey through the film's unique developmental process. This episode welcomes a new co-producer to both the team and the podcast, Nicole Callender, infusing the discussion with fresh perspectives and energy.

Dive into the electric atmosphere of a live screenplay reading at the theatre, where an engaged audience of about 40 witnessed the enchanting magic of Jacqueline's story coming to life. Laura, Dave and Nicole examine the nuances of developing a film with a theatrical touch, highlighting the often-overlooked value of rehearsals.

Noreen Farley's powerhouse performance takes the spotlight as the hosts share clips from the reading, providing a tantalizing glimpse into the dynamic characters and narrative. The episode also explores the intersection of physics and the visualization of dementia and Alzheimer's, offering unique insights into the film's thematic depth.

Please be sure to check out and back their Kickstarter:

Jacqueline Goes To Film—A New Podcast

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Episode 3: Laura & Dave Ride Again!
In this episode, Laura and Dave close out the year reflecting on the challenges of their recent Kickstarter campaign, candidly discussing the highs, lows, and unexpected turns. Despite falling short of the initial goal, the dynamic duo unveils exciting plans for a reboot in a few weeks on January 22, 2024.

The conversation delves into the transformative power of digital technology and social media in uniting artists and communities. Join Laura and Dave as they explore how these tools reshape the entertainment landscape, foster connections, and decentralize the industry. Get ready for an insightful exploration of resilience, innovation, and the ever-evolving dynamics of crowdfunding in the digital age.

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Jacqueline Goes To Film—A New Podcast

Episode 2: Laura & Dave Explore the Cinematic Landscape
In Episode 2 of our podcast, Laura and Dave dive deep into the heart of our Kickstarter campaign. We explore the significance of making our film at this particular moment, discussing the unique factors that make this project timely and vital. We also shine a spotlight on Noreen, an exceptional talent whose presence is sure to elevate this film. With her at the center of the story.
Additionally, we unravel the tapestry of locations, particularly the vibrant Summit, NJ. Hear how the surrounding universities and bustling malls create the perfect backdrop for our filmmaking journey. Join us for an insightful conversation that peels back the curtain on our exciting project!
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Jacqueline Goes To Film—A New Podcast

Episode 1: Laura & Dave Kickstart A Feature Film
Join hosts Laura Ekstrand and Dave Maulbeck as they dive into the history of their upcoming feature film, 'Jacqueline Remembers All of This.' They introduce the key players behind the project, share their hopes and aspirations, and set the stage for an exciting journey from concept to Kickstarter. Join them as they embark on this creative adventure and give you a sneak peek into the world of independent cinema.

You can learn more, and help us bring this project to life,
by checking out our Kickstarter campaign,
which will re-launch on January 22 and end on March 21, 2024!

Listen to Local, a monthly podcast with Laura Ekstrand

top ten local podcasts of 2019
-podcast business journaL

Laura Ekstrand, Artistic Director of Vivid Stage, formerly known as Dreamcatcher Rep, in Summit, New Jersey, explores what it means to make art and culture in New Jersey.
Join her for smart, thoughtful conversations with local actors, playwrights, directors, and arts professionals.

Season Five

LOCAL Season 5 Episode 6 with Sydney Fucito.

Spring 2023 | Season 5; Episode 6: Theatrical Journeys and Marketing Insights: A Conversation with Sydney Marie Fucito

In this episode of Local, Laura interviews Sydney Marie Fucito, a New Jersey-based actress with a passion for theatre and the arts. Sydney shares her journey, from earning a Theatre Arts degree at Centenary University to her current role as a Marketing Assistant at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

Sydney discusses her experience in marketing, focusing on learning Adobe products and keeping up with social media trends to engage younger audiences. Highlighting her favorite acting roles, Sydney explains her affinity for characters that are vastly different from herself. She shares the transformative experience of playing an arsonist in "Marisol" and emphasizes the importance of honoring the larger story through acting.

Sydney reflects on the emotionally taxing production of "Twirl" and its ability to start conversations and hold a mirror to the world. She also sheds light on the fast-paced nature of New Jersey's regional theatre scene, with short rehearsal periods and the upcoming season at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, including her involvement in a reading of a new play Acts of Creation by Brianna Barrett.

Join Laura Ekstrand and Sydney Marie Fucito in this insightful episode as they explore theatre, marketing, and the arts in New Jersey.

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WINTER 2023 | Season 5; Episode 5: Amy Adam - The Invisible Character: A Conversation with Stage Manager Amy Hadam-Rapp

In this episode of Local, Laura is joined by stage manager Amy Hadam-Rapp, the first stage manager to be featured on the show. Amy shares her experience working behind the scenes in the theatre industry and sheds light on the often-overlooked role of the stage manager. Laura and Amy dive deep into the art of stage management, discussing how it involves being an invisible character while also managing the logistical and creative aspects of a production. They also explore the challenges of being a middle manager, responsible for communicating the vision of the director to the cast and crew, and ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Join Laura and Amy as they celebrate the unsung heroes of the theatre and learn about the vital role stage managers play in bringing a production to life.

Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd.

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WINTER 2023 | Season 5; Episode 4: Andrew Binger - Breaking Barriers and Empowering Youth


In this episode of Local, Laura is joined by the multi-talented Andrew Binger, a respected educator, actor, director, consultant, and arts administrator from Newark, NJ. Andrew shares his experience as the Producing Artistic Director of Yendor Theatre Company, which is dedicated to developing, producing, and celebrating works by Black and Brown writers. Laura and Andrew also chat about his latest directorial project, "Only Human: An Evening of Short Plays" at Vivid Stage this month, and the importance of using the arts to explore social issues. Additionally, Andrew shares his passion for working with young people and how he uses theatre to empower them to tell their own stories. Join these two artists as they share their love of the theatre and their commitment to creating meaningful change through their work.

For more on Andrew visit:

Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd.

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FALL 2022 | Season 5; Episode 3: Vanessa Parvin - I Need to Be the Boss of the Thing

This month, Laura talks with Vanessa Parvin, a singer and voice teacher who is also the longtime musical director for the Vivid Dreamers summer program. Vanessa talks about her early history performing (when she met her husband), and how she has developed a life as an arts entrepreneur. Hear about how her work as a teacher, a singer in Marquee Five and manager of a carolling business intertwine to satisfy her itch to both create and to lead. Vanessa also talks about trends in musical theatre sound, and how she helps her students find their most authentic voice while becoming healthy and versatile singers.

For more about Vanessa:

Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd

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FALL 2022 | Season 5; Episode 2: Yolanda V. Fundora- You Learn To See

Join Laura for an incredible conversation with Summit NJ-based visual artist Yolanda Fundora. Entering the conversation with the big news of her work being displayed at the Clinton offices in Harlem. Yolanda goes on to talk about her process of creating art, and her transformative experience drawing the Matterhorn. The conversation spans many topics, including meeting her wife, her former life as a musician, digital art, and her childhood in Cuba.

Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd

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FALL 2022 | Season 5; Episode 1: Darin F. Earl II- I Want To Do It Now!

In the season premiere of Local season 5 Laura chats with the incredible young artist Darin F. Earl II. They talk about juggling multiple projects as a freelance artist, and the power in not finishing all projects right away. The conversation touches on reimagining choices around age, gender, and race in casting and the impact on theatre and storytelling. And the conversation gets intimate when Laura and Darin talk about the upcoming show Soft Animals and being vulnerable in the moment and in rehearsal.

Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd

Season Four 

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Summer 2022 | Season 4; Episode 7: Laura Ekstrand - These Things are What
I want

For the season finale, the tables are turned, and Laura Ekstrand takes her turn in the interview seat. Fellow Local producer Dave Maulbeck steps in to fill her interview shoes. These two friends have an enjoyable and fascinating conversation that is an absolute must-listen for every Vivid Stage fan! These two old friends discuss the dichotomy of living simultaneously as an Artistic Director and a Working Actress. The history of Vivid Stage, from formation to moving spaces, to raccoons falling from the sky. Her scariest role as an actress. Why improv is such a fun challenge and what she envisions in the next chapter of her life.


For more on Laura:


Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd

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May 2022 | Season 4; Episode 6: Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich - A play is never done. Ever.

This month Laura sits down with, Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich. After moving from Massachusetts to the confusing land of New Jersey, Barbara joined a writing group with former Local guest Lia Romeo. Laura and Barbara talk about the art of playwriting and how writing IS rewriting. They discuss Barbara's inspiration from real-world events, as well as how impersonal the business of submitting plays can feel - especially juxtaposed against the very personal nature of writing plays.


For more on Barbara:


Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd

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March 2022 | Season 4; Episode 5: Scott McGowan - It's Not Brain Surgery 

In this episode, Laura talks with company member Scott McGowan. Scott is a Pennsylvania native who was later transplanted to NYC and then New Jersey. Vivid Stage fans will remember years of Scott’s performances. Laura and Scott talk about his acting work and transition from musical theatre to plays. From his struggles to feel comfortable with improv to writing a one-man show. Don't miss this amazing conversation with two-time NJ Tony Award winner Scott McGowan.


Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd

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February 2022 | Season 4; Episode 4: Harriett Trangucci - If I Can Just Ease Something For a Moment

We are back from our winter break with a fresh episode of Local. In this episode, Laura sits down with Harriett Trangucci. Harriett grew up in Kansas City before becoming a New Jersey Resident. Fans of Vivid Stage will remember years of Harriett’s performances. Laura and Harriett talk about her acting work and her advocacy for children in need. It is a beautiful conversation that is at times funny, and other times heartwarming.


Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd

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December 2021 | Season 4; Episode 3: Emma Gibson - Theatre is Immediate

This month on Local, Laura connects with playwright, actor and director Emma Gibbson. Emma is a British playwright now based out of Philadelphia, where she founded the theatre company Tiny Dynamite. Vivid Stage fans can look forward to seeing Emma’s writing come to life in the main stage production of her play; Water in My Hands. Emma talks with Laura about her journey and evaluation as an artist — from her founding of a theatre company using Pepsi bottle caps, to the methodical writing  process of everything from prose, to poetry to theatre, and sometimes all three at once.  Be sure to listen in on this fascinating conversation between two theatre aficionados.


Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd

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October 2021 | Season 4; Episode 2: Harry Patrick Christian- I Respond Even Bigger In Life

In this episode of Local, Laura sits down with actor and teaching artist Harry Patrick Christian. Harry hails from the great state of Georgia where he began his acting career as a teenager. Vivid Stage fans know Harry well, from years of his amazing performances. Harry talks with Laura about his life as a teaching artist and actor, from his experience teaching workshops with the Passaic Police Department to performing one-man shows. Don’t miss this fun, sprawling, and fascinating conversation between two dear friends.


Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd

Season 4 Episode 1 Local with Stephanie Windland
September 2021 | Season 4; Episode 1: We don’t want you - we want someone from instagram that has cool tattoos.
Kicking off Local Season 4, Laura sits down with actor and singer Stephanie Windland. Stephanie received her BA in Musical Theater and Communication Studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, and currently lives and works in New York City. Vivid Stage audiences will remember her from the 2018 main stage production of Dead and Buried. Stephanie tells Laura what drives her to continue pursuing an artistic life and career—particularly after considering leaving it behind during the pandemic. Stephanie’s energy and wit radiates throughout this conversation, and we’re so thrilled to share it.
To learn more about Stephanie check out:

Season Three 

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September 2020 | Season 3; Episode 1: Deonté Griffin-Quick: Envisioning What's Possible
In this first episode of Season 3, actor, singer, arts administrator, and advocate Deonté Griffin-Quick joins Laura. Hear Deonté discuss how he made his way into arts administration, how he uses his voice to advocate for diversity and equity in the arts, and how important it is for him to continue flexing his creativity as a performer.
Local Season 3 Ep 2 David Lee White Interview
October 2020 | Season 3; Episode 2: David Lee White: It's My Medium
In this episode, Laura is joined by playwright and educator David Lee White. A longtime friend and frequent Dreamcatcher collaborator, David has worked with theatres and theatre programs across the New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania area. And this month with Dreamcatcher, we're thrilled to be virtually premiering David Lee White's audio play Ways to Be Happy.
David and Laura share a warm and lively conversation ”socially distanced on the Dreamcatcher stage” about the challenge of trying to write the current moment, how he first started writing Ways to Be Happy  in grad school and how it was developed since, the welcome respite of taking a laugh break, and what his 10-year-old son thinks of his life and work as a playwright. We're so happy to share this conversation with the wonderful David Lee White and we invite you to join the conversation and tell us what  you do to recharge and find happiness.
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December 2020 | Season 3; Episode 3: Jessica F. Baskerville
Jessica F. Baskerville is a playwright based in New Jersey. She joins Laura for a fascinating and wide-sweeping conversation, covering the personal, political, and the life and work of a young creative whose work thus far has been intimately focused on community and sotries in New Jersey. Jessica tells Laura about attending Whitney Houston Academy in East Orange where she was a middle school drama major, making her way with determination back to New Jersey for college after attending high school in Maryland, and some of the projects she’s produced since graduating from Montclair State University. Jessica has delved into history and themes of community, culture, and race, her work has been produced at Luna Stage, Montclair’s Undoing Racism Committee, and in December she premieres a one-act play part of Dreamcatcher’s Holiday Bites. This conversation is not to be missed, and Jessica F. Baskerville is a name and a voice that we’re so pleased to get to know.
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February 2021 | Season 3; Episode 4: Jeff Knapp - Come In and Make the Noises
Local is back! And to kick off the new year, Laura sits down with Dreamcatcher Rep’s resident Sound Designer Jeff Knapp. In this fascinating and intimate interview, Jeff talks his college radio DJ days, being a theater student at a school without a theater, and his infamous appearance in The Sound of Music as “Captain Von Knapp.” He goes on to talk being a theatre sound designer in the pandemic — from his foley work in Ways to Be Happy, to recording in-studio for the upcoming cabaret Kindred Spirits.
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March 2021 | Season 3; Episode 5: Jason Szamreta - We are not just ONE thing
This month on Local, Laura talks with Dreamcatcher Rep company member Jason Szamreta. In this fun, light-hearted interview, they get deep into what makes Jason tick and what makes him fulfilled — including his enthusiastic eating.  Jason discusses his decision to enter the field of social work in addition to acting, and how the two fields inform each other. They remember some favorite moments working together at Dreamcatcher, and look ahead to Jason’s role as Lil Nephew Balki in Dreamcatcher’s forthcoming web series Together Apart.
Don’t miss Jason as Nephew Balkie in Together Apart!
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April 2021 | Season 3; Episode 6: Daria M. Sullivan - I Want to Learn as Many of the Things…
On the April podcast we’re joined by Dreamcatcher Rep company member Daria M. Sullivan — the M is important, don’t forget the M! Laura and Daria talk about how they first met, racism in the acting industry, the audition grind, and the challenges and triumphs of discovering your voice as an artist. Don’t miss Daria this month in Everything is Super Great: A Comedy, opening April 29, 2021, and as Madame 6 in the ongoing webseries Together Apart.
Don’t miss Daria as Six in Together Apart!
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May 2021 | Season 3; Episode 7: Joe Sutton - Storytelling Through Captured Human Behavior
On the season finale of Local, Laura chats with the incredibly talented Joe Sutton. They talk about his return to New Jersey, his native New Yorker bias against the Garden State, and overcoming the Jersey stigma to fall in love with Montclair. Joe went to grad school as a director, but almost immediately realized that artistic opportunities were greater as a playwright. Within years of leaving grad school, he was writing plays professionally and seeing them produced. Laura and Joe then dive deep into the art and craft of playwriting. Joe talks about putting his own personal life and psychology into his work, from the more extreme to the more realistic, and the relationship between stage directions and the visual world of the play. Also, what to do about those plays in the drawer...
Don’t miss Joe's Twirl play reading!

Season Two

September 2019 | Season 2; Episode 1: Betsy True: Art Informs Art Informs Art
On the season 2 premiere of Local, Laura sits down with powerhouse of the New Jersey theatre scene Betsy True. Betsy talks her love of working on new plays, the importance of respect and trust in artistic collaboration, and all of the many ways her artistic expression comes to life, now and throughout her career -- directing, teaching, singing, writing, and more. Don't miss this thoughtful, intimate conversation!
October 2019 | Season 2; Episode 2: Emaline Williams: Tilling the Garden
Emaline Williams is a charming, smart presence you can find in theaters all over New York and New Jersey, including at Dreamcatcher Rep and Centenary Stage Company, as well as in film and commercials. Hers is a face you see around Dreamcatcher Rep a lot — helping us run smoothly behind the scenes and lighting up our stage in some of this season’s upcoming programming. Learn more about her story as a young actor in New Jersey, the pros and cons of joining the union early, and all of the sleep she doesn’t get while pursuing a life in the theatre.

Learn more about Emaline:

November 2019 | Season 2; Episode 3: Jeff Ertz: The Art of Throwing Pickles
Jeff Ertz is a NJ-based singer-songwriter, who has been featured on ABC’s ‘A Million Little Things,’ NPR’s ‘Reveal,’ as well as right here, because he composed the theme song for Local. In this episode of Local, Jeff tells the story of his music, and how he found his way into a creative and technology-driven career in post-production. He wears many hats and has gained experience and expertise in a variety of production and post-production roles, including editing documentaries, post-supervising feature films, sound design, sound mixing, and more.  Hear how storytelling is the thing that drives everything he does, and how making music keeps him sane.

Learn more about Jeff:


Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd

February 2020 | Season 2; Episode 4: Nicole Callender: Mind, Heart, and Body
This month Laura sits down with Nicole Callender—stunt coordinator, stuntwoman, intimacy coordinator, and actress—for a fascinating and inspiring conversation. Hear how the past 25 years have led Nicole to this unique moment in her career and family life, how she shows up for all aspects of her life—and how acting feels like coming home. 
March 2020 | Season 2; Episode 5: Julian Blake Gordon: Big Stupid Choices
This month Laura sits down with Julian Blake Gordon, an actor, classical pianist, and writer. Hear how Julian went from despising theatre to being a professional actor, how he experiences being a musician versus being an actor, and the importance of finding  community and collaboration as an artist.
May 2020 | Season 2; Episode 6: Steve Harper: When I grow up I want to be BUSY
In this episode of Local, Laura turns to Zoom for a conversation with her college pal Steve Harper.
Steve is a producer on the CBS show God Friended Me, a co-producer on the HBO Max series Tell Me Your Secrets, and writer and creator of the original web series Send Me.
They discuss his work acting, writing, networking, and building connections and brand. They delve deep into the differences between writing for TV and writing for the stage, and discuss his side passion for life coaching. 
Learn more about Steve at
Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd
June 2020 | Season 2; Episode 7: George Maull: Connect to the Music
In the final episode of season 2, Laura is joined via Zoom by George Marriner Maull, Artistic Director of the Discovery Orchestra. Maestro Maull is a conductor, violist, television host, and music educator.
Laura and Maestro Maull have an illuminating conversation on a range of topics, including  how he founded the Discovery Orchestra and why the orchestra is so committed to teaching audiences the listening skills to viscerally connect to classical music. They touch on the history of recorded music, the current state of live performance, and their hopes for the future.
Music by Jeff Ertz & John Todd

Season One

September 2018 | Episode One: Playwright James McLindon on 'Dead and Buried,' playwriting, and theater
This month, in the premiere episode of Local, Laura sits down with playwright James McLindon to talk about his dark comedy Dead and Buried, which the Detroit Free Press calls “funny, sad and heartwarming, often at the same time.” McLindon discusses some of the inspirations for his play, as well how he thinks about his work as a playwright and theater in general.  
Here's more on the study Laura mentions about theater and the synchronization of heartbeats:’-hearts-synchronise-during-performances
October 20, 2018 | Episode Two: Lulu French on Teaching and Performing Improv Comedy
Hear Laura's conversation with New Jersey actor, improviser, and small business owner Lulu French. Lulu shares what it takes to teach and perform improv comedy -- to children, to adults, and to businesses -- and she brings out some of her go-to comedic characters.
Find Lulu at and her business at
November 25, 2018 | Episode Three: Michael Aquino: Building A Creative Life
In the third episode of Local, Laura sits down with the multi-talented Michael Aquino, a musician, actor, and creative audio producer from Northern New Jersey. They discuss some of his latest projects and how his creative career has evolved over time. Be sure to listen to the end when Aquino performs an original song.
February 3, 2019 | Episode Four: Jessica Joyce on Art through the Lens of Synaesthesia
Visual artist Jessica Joyce joins Laura Ekstrand for a conversation about making art through the lens of Synaesthesia, a neurological condition that for Jessica means she can hear sound and also see the line and shape of its tambour. Hear how this sensory experience of the world affects Jessica's art, including the story of her amazing collaboration with dancers at UNRULY Collective.
March 21, 2019 | Episode Five: Dave Maulbeck on Art, Improv, and How to Play a Pony
Laura welcomes longtime Dreamcatcher company member Dave Maulbeck for a chat about his many artistic talents: acting, improv, comic books, and getting paid thousands of dollars to eat a hot dog.
Dave explains the impetus for co-creating The Kinetix, a comic book series centering around teenage superheroes with disabilities, and he talks about how his love of visual art influences all that he does, including acting. Enjoy the intimacy and fun of this conversation between these friends who have been making moments on stage together for 20 years.
April 21, 2019 | Episode Six: Clark Carmichael: How To Be A Consummate Actor
This month on Local - Laura sits down with her good friend, Clark Carmichael. They talk about his acting and directing methods, casting adventures, and raising a family. It’s a fascinating peek into the world, art and industry of working actors.

May 13, 2019 | Episode Seven: Lia Romeo & Erin Mallon: I am Playwright Hear Me Roar
For the Local Season 1 finale Laura is joined by two guests, Lia Romeo and Erin Mallon, both of whom are NJ playwrights. This three-woman conversation is a fun exploration of the play creation process, being a mom and an artist, and what led them both to the artform.
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