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Downstage Center
Go in-depth with the leading artists and professionals working on stage today when you go Downstage Center. Downstage Center is the American Theatre Wing's acclaimed weekly theatrical interview program that spotlights the creative talents on Broadway, Off-Broadway, across the country and around the world, with in-depth conversations that simply can't be found anywhere else. Now in its sixth year, Downstage Center, produced in association with CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, has been featured by the Associated Press and Slate.com as the place to go for theatrical talk. New editions will be available every other Wednesday from this website, where you can listen online, download the programs or subscribe to the podcast.

Beth Leavel
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Beth Leavel

Mamma Mia!'s newest leading lady, Beth Leavel, talks about slipping into the polyester disco gear of Donna Sheridan, describing the rare opportunity of joining a long-running production and still getting a full rehearsal period, as well as the benefit of coming in with an almost entirely new set of leading actors. She also talks about one of her earliest professional experiences, understudying Lynn Redgrave in The King and I at the St. Louis MUNY; snagging a role in the first national tour (and later joining the Broadway cast) of the original 42nd Street, even though she hadn't studied tap dancing since childhood; originating the role of Tess -- initially a two-line part -- in the original production of Crazy for You; taking over the role of Dorothy Brock after first standing by for Christine Ebersole in the 2001 Broadway revival of 42nd Street; how playing Vera in Mame and the Countess in A Little Night Music informed her Tony-winning performance as The Drowsy Chaperone; why she loves playing Miss Hannigan in Annie (including the time she appeared with some 70 orphans at once); her work in the new musicals Dancing in the Dark and Minsky's on the west coast and the recent workshop of Elf; and how she managed to research one of her roles at a diner in New Jersey.

Original air date - December 28, 2009
Running Time - 59:15

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