Scene and Heard: LIVE!

Scene and Heard: LIVE!

Melia BensussenScene and Heard: LIVE! is a virtual cocktail hour hosted by Artistic Director Melia Bensussen. Each month features a new theatre topic with special guests, a short play reading and a question and answer period. During this period of isolation, Scene and Heard: LIVE! is a rewarding opportunity to connect with our community until we can return to the stories on our stage.

Thank you for joining us this past season for Scene & Heard: LIVE!

Our stage may have been dark, but we found ways to connect by keeping the dialogue alive and celebrating our love for Hartford Stage.

Starting from our premiere episode on March 25, 2020 through to our 2021/2022 Reopening Announcement on June 10, 2021, you have joined us, along with a company of accomplished panelists, in exploring a variety of topics in theater, civic engagement, education and community. During this period of isolation, Scene and Heard: LIVE! has been a rewarding way to connect until we could return to the stories on our stage.

And, Scene & Heard: LIVEwill return next year. Each new episode will be linked to the productions in our season. Check back here after Labor Day as we continue to grow our digital community.

Scene and Heard Archive

Episode 23: June 10, 2021, 6:00 PM

Raising the Curtain on the 2021/2022 Season

Announcing the 2021/2022 season at Hartford Stage! We are thrilled by the artists and projects that we have gathered to share with you—it is an array of artists and stories that will uplift our humanity, our joy, and our resilience.

Read Melia’s Message »

Episode 22: April 21, 5:00 PM

Radio Plays: Partnering to Share Our Stories

Scene & Heard on April 21 celebrates a brand-new partnership between Hartford Stage, EPOCH (Engaged, Public, Oral and Community Histories) at UCONN and Connecticut Public Broadcasting. Together, we will be launching a series of radio plays that will explore the lives of the people and cultures in our region. Joining us for this conversation are Tim Rasmussen, Chief Content Officer of CPB, Dr. Fiona Vernal, Director of EPOCH and Michael Bobbitt, the first commissioned playwright of this project. Be the first to hear about this family-friendly programming and go behind-the-scenes as the first story in the series is developed.

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Episode 21: March 24, 5:00 PM

Staying Creative, Engaged, and Curious

Theatre workers (artists, technicians, scenic painters, props artisans, wardrobe supervisors​, and more) are often some of the most multi-talented creators​, with a great variety of interests and expertise. ​ ​Over the past year ​without live on stage performance, many of these artists ​have adapted to the times, pivoting to focus on myriad endeavors and creations – from painting to woodworking to teaching to tennis, and beyond! This week we’ll highlight how theatre artists have ​applied their skills and artistry in new ​– and old – ways. Join Melia and our special guests for this one-year anniversary episode of Scene and Heard: Live! to catch up with theater makers about how they’ve been staying creative, engaged, and curious during this intermission.

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Episode 20: February 17, 6:00 PM

Beyond Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

Who gets to decide what is good on stage? (And is that even the right question.) Join us for an in-depth conversation about the current state of theatre criticism, and the need for further diversity in the field. Whose voices are heard when it comes to reviewing work on our stages?  And through what lens do critics view the work they see? Join critic/editor Diep Tran (American Theatre, Backstage, NBC Asian America); critic Soraya Nadia McDonald (The Undefeated, Film Comment, Fresh Air with Terry Gross; member, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, New York Outer Critics Circle, Television Critics Association, and American Theatre Critics Association; 2020 winner of the George Jean Nathan prize for dramatic criticism; a 2020 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism; runner-up for the 2019 Vernon Jarrett Medal for outstanding reporting on black life); critic and multidisciplinary artist Regina Victor (co-founder, Rescripted; member, HowlRound Theatre Commons National Advisory Council; Artistic Director, Sideshow Theatre; Board Member, The Sappho Project; Recipient, 3Arts Make A Wave); and journalist/critic Tim Leininger (The Journal Inquirer; member, CT Critics Circle, Outer Critics Circle and the American Theatre Critics Association), and Melia to discuss where we are at and where we could go – regionally and nationally – and why it matters.

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Episode 19: January 27, 2021

Adapting a Book into a Play

A writer who has straddled every line she’s come across,  Kim McLarin’s sharp, witty book Divorce Dog is a meditation on race, depression, parenting, writing, and dating. Join Melia Bensussen in a discussion about how McLarin is moving from page to stage, and how with humor and insight she is sharing her experience as a Black woman artist working and living in a predominantly White world. Miranda ADEkoje joins as a collaborator and performer, as we discuss how to move from written memoir to live theater, and, ask whom is each playwright ultimately writing for?  Excerpts from Divorce Dog will be performed as well.

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Episode 18: December 16, 2020

The Making and Meaning of A Community Carol

We know the famous story of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. So how do you go back to the page and reimagine it for this virtual moment? Dig into the collaborative process with the Artistic Team of Hartford Stage and some special guests. Hear behind-the-scenes stories, learn about the design process and toast to the holidays.

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Episode 17: November 18, 2020

Diversifying the Classics

What is a classic? What makes a classic a classic and what does it mean to expand what we consider the canon of classic plays? Join us as we dive into a conversation on what is considered a classic across cultures, including how we translate those classics for a new audience. Special guests include Barbara Fuchs and Maria Delgado.

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Episode 16: October 21, 2020

Political Theatre

We explore what we mean by “political theatre” with dramaturg and theatre historian Victoria Abrash. From the Greeks to Teatro Campesino, from the cabarets of Weimar Germany to the works of Odets and Kushner, we will discuss how even in the midst of this pandemic artists are creating civically engaged theatre allowing us to explore the issues of our day through a new lens.

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Episode 15: September 16, 2020

Deep Appreciation Book Club Partnership

A deep dive into learning more about our partnership with the Hartford Public Library and hear about the launch of our new collaborative book club which will celebrate works of fiction by Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Special guests include Hartford Public Library partners Bridget Quinn-Carey, Michelle McFarland, Liz Castle and Marie Jarry; Hartford Stage Neighborhood Ambassador Willie Mann; and Sharon Washington (author and performer of Feeding the Dragon — the show that helped launch this partnership!)

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Episode 14: August 5, 2020

Project: Transform

Featuring the student artists of Project: Transform, one of our summer Education programs, along side teaching artist Nilaja Sun (who you will remember from her remarkable creation and performance, Pike St.). These 12 teens from across Greater Hartford gathered virtually every day for six weeks with Nilaja to create a piece of theatre about the change they wish to see in the world.

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Episode 13: July 1, 2020

Adaptation for the Theatre

A conversation on the art and process of adaptation in the theatre – both what it means to adapt a particular work and how the theatre is adapting in this present moment. Joining the conversation will be playwright, Kirsten Greenidge,  as well as Quixote Nuevo creators Octavio Solis (Playwright) and KJ Sanchez (Director). Dramaturgs Charles Haugland (Director of New Work, Huntington Theatre Company) and J. Sebastián Alberdi (Literary Associate, Huntington Theatre Company) will also join the discussion.

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Episode 12: June 24, 2020

Father’s Day

A special Father’s Day episode to celebrate the Fatherhood Manologues created by My People Clinical Services, HartBeat Ensemble and the University of Saint Joseph. Fatherhood Manologues holds space for men, predominantly men of color, to come together through discussion and artistic expression around their experiences of fatherhood.

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Episode 11: June 17, 2020

Pride Month

In honor of Pride month, we hosted a conversation on how the arts, and a theatre like Hartford Stage, can continue to create a space that shares the stories of and empowers members of the LGBTQ+ community.

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Episode 10: June 10, 2020

Building Our Block

A conversation with our neighbors about the future of Church Street and the city of Hartford. A conversation on how Hartford Stage seeks to be a catalyst in the continued revitalization under Hartford’s new City Plan,  bolstering community, arts and activity on our block downtown on Church and Main Street.

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Episode 9: May 20, 2020

Theatre Mentorship

We celebrate ​vibrant mentorship of theatre-​makers, and specifically Hartford Stage’s relationship with The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. Now in its sixteenth year, The Hartt School/Hartford Stage Partnership in Training offers a unique alliance of an undergraduate acting conservatory program and a nationally known professional theatre. Hartt students and faculty have been seen in A Christmas Carol, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anastasia, The Comedy of Errors, The Age of Innocence, Henry V, The Flamingo Kid and ​many more ​productions.

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Episode 8: May 13, 2020

The Future of Theatre

A conversation with an extraordinary theatre maker—JoAnne Akalaitis. Her stories will give us insight into our craft and help us imagine where the theatre can go next. Plus hear from special guests: Dramaturg Vicky Abrash, Lighting Designer Jennifer Tipton and actor Kate Voyce.

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Episode 7: May 6, 2020

Our Volunteers

This week, we will celebrate a large troupe of Hartford Stage devotees that help make our theatre run – Volunteer Ushers! We will hear some great stories from some of our long-time ushers and why they love what they do. We will also hear from a few guest artists—David Alan Basche (United 93), McCaleb Burnett (Fast and Furious), Shona Tucker (New York Undercover) and Jennifer Van Dyck (Blindspot), among others—who started off their careers in the aisles.

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Episode 6: April 29, 2020

Johnny Baseball

Since among the things delayed and postponed is the opening day to our nation’s pastime, what better time for us to check in with the Johnny Baseball team? What is Johnny Baseball? It’s a new musical by Richard Dresser and brothers Robert and Willie Reale. The story involves circumstances relating to the Curse of the Bambino.

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Episode 5: April 22, 2020

A Celebration of Actors

This coming Wednesday, we want to celebrate our actors. They are our prophets of the stage, riveting to see and the vehicle through which we experience all the stories. Join us as we hear from our featured guests Marin Ireland, Robert Eli, Emilio Delgagdo, John-Andrew Morrison, Dan Macke, and—just added to our line-up today—Kristine Nielsen (The Women at Hartford Stage, and Vanya, Sonia Masha and Spike and Gary on Broadway).

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Episode 4: April 15, 2020

Ah, Wilderness!

Melia leads a conversation on her upcoming Artistic Director debut with Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness!  We will hear a scene from the play (featuring two students from The Hartt School), learn a bit about this Connecticut-based playwright, and discuss the design process and vision for the production (think of it like the first day of rehearsal!). And as always, will have a few artistic guests!

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Episode 3: April 8, 2020

Simona’s Search

Our special guest is Playwright Martín Zimmerman. He is the author of next season’s Simona’s Search, as well as a story editor and writer for one of my all-time favorite series, Ozark. We will be reading a scene from this play to further whet your appetite for next season.

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Episode 2: April 1, 2020

1 Night. 4 Artistic Directors. 40 Years of Hartford Stage.

Join Artistic Director Melia Bensussen as she hosts a roundtable discussion with former Hartford Stage Artistic Directors Mark Lamos, Michael Wilson and Darko Tresnjak. Plus, we’ll have a few surprise guests to join in the fun!

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Episode 1: March 25, 2020

Inaugural Episode

Artistic Director Melia Bensussen hosts the first episode of Scene and Heard: LIVE.

Read Melia’s Message »