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As I expected, it was a total pleasure to talk with the unfailingly articulate arts leader Stephanie Gularte of American Stage today on dRTB Live. Among the many highlights:

• Her excellent answer to a question that’s been bugging me of late: Why do so many professional theater companies hereabouts feel it necessary to give their subscription seasons an over-arching theme? And which comes first: the theme or the play selections? Her answer helped me understand why this trend is so popular — and useful.

• The accident of timing that made folks laugh when she announced that a particular play would be part of the 2019-20 season.

• The fact that American Stage resident playwright Natalie Symons wrote her play The People Downstairs with a certain local actor in mind.

• The difference between the experiences of founding a theater, as Gularte did in 2004 (Capital Stage in Sacramento), and joining a company that was already long-established (the now-42-year-old American Stage, where she came on board in 2015).

• Her potential fallback career in case this whole theater thing doesn’t work out.

Give it a listen — it’s one more reason to marvel at the intelligence and talent we have in abundance in the Tampa Bay arts scene.


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