With her unique style of hosting, best described as “Podcast Verite," actress Ilana Levine gives her listeners access to conversations with today's most fascinating celebrities -- with her raw, honest and hilarious interviews. Guests include Matthew Broderick, Lucas Hedges, Octavia Spencer, Ben Platt, Edie Falco, Laura Linney, Judith Light, Tony Shalhoub, Molly Ringwald, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Chenoweth and more. New episodes are released on Tuesdays.
Oct. 17, 2017
Cazzie David, daughter of "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" creator Larry David, was followed by TMZ the day she moved into her college dorm. Any hopes for an anonymous matriculation were blown immediately -- and most of the students Cazzie encountered on campus weren't quite sure how to interact with the child of a major Hollywood star. The one person who didn't seem to be nonplussed by it all was Elisa Kalani. In her refreshingly straight forward manner, Elisa acknowledged how wonderful -- and strange -- it was to have Cazzie at the school. The two freshmen became fast friends and have remained the best of friends ever since those first surreal days. Cazzie and Elisa, co-creators of the critically acclaimed web series "Eighty-Sixed," chat with Ilana about their work and what it means to be "millennials." Elisa and Cazzie describe their relationship to technology as second nature -- but as millennials they are actually on the cusp; they lived a life before having all of these technological advances and social media so they know life before and after Snapchat. "Eighty-Sixed," as described by Cazzie, is simultaneously critical of her generation and sympathetic. In other words, it's honest, real and of course hilarious. These two young, smart writers go in depth with Ilana about what it was like doing a project that shot in Larry David’s home -- but didn’t involve Larry David! Cazzie shares what it feels like being the child of a famous father -- and they both discuss what’s next for them. These brilliant young women are taking Hollywood by storm on their own terms with their unique take on what it’s like to be in your 20’s in America today.The two met their first week at Emerson College and forged a friendship that has turned into a prolific creative partnership since graduating.Here is what critics had to say about this spotlight into the world of millennial break ups."(DAVID’S) BRITTLE, DEADPAN CHARISMA IS INNATELY WATCHABLE, AND THERE ARE FEW FULL-LENGTH SHOWS SUCCESSFULLY MINING THE COMPLEX NORMS AND PRESSURES OF SOCIAL-MEDIA ETIQUETTE THROUGH A COMEDIC LENS." — NY MAGA"CAZZIE DAVID MIGHT BE THE NEXT VOICE OF A GENERATION...SHE [REMI] IS NOT HERE TO IMPRESS YOU. AND WE'RE SERIOUSLY IMPRESSED." — REFINERY29"WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT EIGHTY-SIXED IS THAT IT NEVER FEELS LIKE IT’S TRYING TOO HARD. THE INTERNET IS FULL OF OVERLY AMBITIOUS WEB SERIES, BUT THIS ONE IS FULLY SELF-AWARE AND DELIGHTFULLY WRY." — DECIDER
Oct. 10, 2017
Bill Camp, the Emmy and Tony nominated actor, has had an illustrious career on stage and in film for over three decades. His most recent turn as "Dennis Box" in HBO's highly acclaimed limited series "The Night Of " earned him an Emmy nomination for his compelling portrayal of an NYPD Detective in pursuit of the truth. Camp brought tremendous pathos and dimension to the role -- as he does to every role he plays. Beloved by some of the most accomplished directors of our time including Mike Nichols and Stephen Spielberg, Camp has become one of the most sought after actors working today. On this episode, Bill opens up to Ilana about his years of "deviant" behavior and how he weathered the storm. He also shares intimate and hilarious details of his courtship and ultimate marriage to actress, Elizabeth Marvel. Bill is best known for his Emmy Award nominated performance (Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series) in HBO's critically acclaimed limited series "The Night Of," starring alongside John Turturro and Riz Ahmed directed by Steve Zaillian and written by Richard Price. Bill is currently filming the "The Looming Tower," where he will portray FBI veteran Robert Chesney. The upcoming Hulu series in the based on Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that chronicles the events that led to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Bill recently shot the Francis Lawrence-directed spy thriller "Marble," based on Jason Matthew’s espionage novel. This film also marks his second time working with Steve Zaillian, who is attached as a producer on the Fox feature. Additionally, Bill filmed "The Land Of Steady Habits" both written and directed by Nicole Holofcener with Anthony Bregman of Likely Story producing. Bill also shot a pivotal role in "Molly’s Game" directed by Aaron Sorkin and co-starred alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan in "Wildlife," Paul Dano’s directorial debut. Other upcoming films include "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, "Woman Walks" Ahead directed by Susanna White, and Scott Cooper’s latest feature, "Hostiles." This will be his second time working with Cooper, as the duo previously collaborated on "Black Mass." Last year, Bill held key roles in "Midnight Special" and "Loving" (both from writer-director Jeff Nichols) as well as "Jason Bourne" directed by Paul Greengrass. Bill has also appeared in "Gold" for director Stephen Gaghan, "Aloha" for director Cameron Crowe, "Birdman" (Academy Award Winner, Best Picture) for director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, "Love & Mercy," "12 Years a Slave," "Lincoln," "Compliance," "Lawless," "Tamara Drewe" and "Public Enemies."On the small screen he has played recurring roles on "The Leftovers," "Manhattan," "Boardwalk Empire" and "Damages."A veteran of the stage, Bill received a Tony Award nomination for his performance as Reverend John Hale in Arthur Miller’s "The Crucible," directed by Ivo Van Hove and produced by Scott Rudin. He is an alumnus of The Juilliard School and recipient of several awards and honors, including the Obie, Elliot Norton, Drama Desk, and Boston Critics Association.
Oct. 3, 2017
Gillian Pensavalle is the host of "The Hamilcast" podcast. Gillian started the podcast at the beginning of 2016 because of her love, passion and obsession with all things "Hamilton, An American Musical." Each week Gillian has conversations with members of the Hamilton community, theater luminaries, friends and Hamilton fans about all things ... Hamilton. Slowly Gillian's audience has grown and grown -- and it is now regarded as the "official" podcast of Hamilton by its cast members. In the summer of 2017, Lin Manuel Miranda recognized Gillian on twitter with his signature "I see you @TheHamilcast" and a conversation began -- a conversation that has culminated in a four hour dialogue between Lin and Gillian that has become known as #Lintoberfest on "The Hamilcast" podcast. Find out how it all evolved and unfolded on this exciting new episode of "Little Known Facts with Ilana Levine."A born and raised New Yorker, Gillian Pensavalle is a karaoke enthusiast who says hello to dogs on the street, but always asks permission first. She is a proud Ravenclaw and loyal to House Stark.Gillian is the creator, executive producer, and host of "The Hamilcast: A Hamilton Podcast," the first Hamilton podcast to hit the airwaves in January of 2016, which has since earned the title of "The Official Hamilton Podcast" among cast members and has listeners in over 140 countries. Guests include over two dozen people involved in Hamilton including cast members, crew, musicians, and the man who started it all: Lin-Manuel Miranda. How lucky we are to be alive right now indeed.Gillian is also the co-creator and co-host of comedy podcast "True Crime Obsessed," with podcast maven Patrick Hinds. This smart, well-researched, respectful, and hilarious podcast received critical acclaim almost instantly thanks to the duo’s undeniable chemistry, nonstop passion, and zero tolerance policy for garbage people. Teaming up with her husband Michael Paul Smith, Gillian is the co-creator, producer, and star of "The Residuals," a successful comedy series based on the couple's the real-life auditioning for commercials in New York City. Guest stars include Horatio Sanz, Michael Torpey, and Emily Tarver.In the digital video world, Gillian has pitched, wrote, hosted, produced, and edited over 2,000 videos that have been distributed to over 12,000 partner sites including The Huffington Post, Hearst, AOLOn, MSN, Amazon, USA Today, and Roku. Topics included viral animal stories, dumb criminals, travel tips, "Game Of Thrones" and "Breaking Bad" recaps, and general pop culture. From telling a story straight to camera or editing text-only videos, Gillian’s pieces have amassed over tens of millions of views.With over ten years of experience in the entertainment industry, Gillian is a content creator through and through: she is an actor, voice-over artist, on-camera host, podcaster, editor, writer, SAG signatory producer, and showrunner.Twitter: @GillianWithaG / @TheHamilcastInstagram: @GillianWithaG / @TheHamilcast
Sept. 26, 2017
Allison Janney, a seven-time Primetime Emmy Award winner, had dreams of becoming an Olympic figure skater. That dream ended when, at age 17, she ran through a sliding glass window. The injury was serious, and, suddenly Allison's future goals shifted. She found herself at Kenyon College and she became a theater major. While at Kenyon Allison was discovered by Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward who had come to the college to direct a play at their alma mater. They encouraged Janney to go to NYC and pursue a career in acting professionally. What happened after that is the subject of this funny and intimate conversation with host Ilana Levine, a dear friend of Allison's. The two met and became fast friends when Ilana was starring in the HBO series "Tanner 88" with a mutual friend. Allison walks us through her audition for "The West Wing" and opens up about why the recent loss of her brother makes starring on the CBS hit show "Mom" all the more important for her during this emotional time.The incredibly versatile Allison Janney has taken her place among a select group of actors who combine a leading lady’s profile with a character actor’s art of performance. Currently starring alongside Anna Faris in the CBS/Chuck Lorre sitcom, “Mom,” Janney also received rave reviews for her turn as ‘Margaret Scully’ on Showtime’s groundbreaking drama “Masters of Sex.” Janney won Emmys for both roles in the same year; a rare feat in Emmy history. She won a second Emmy for “Mom” the following year, bringing her total number of ATAS statues to seven. She was also recently honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition, Janney has continually taken on movie roles during her hiatus weeks from the sitcom. She’s completed filming “I, Tonya” with Margot Robbie for Miramax Films. Janney also appeared in two of the previous summer’s biggest box office titles: the adorably animated “Minions” and “Spy” with Melissa McCarthy. Prior feature work includes “The Duff,” Jason Bateman’s directorial debut “Bad Words,” the Dreamworks’ animated film “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” and “The Way, Way Back” with Steve Carell and Toni Collette. Additionally she co-starred in the much anticipated feature film "The Help" based on the best-selling novel of the same name, winning the Ensemble awards from the Screen Actors Guild, National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics. For her role in Todd Solondz's film "Life During Wartime" she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress by the Spirit Awards. She received another Spirit Award nomination for her work in the independent feature “Our Very Own,” and starred opposite Meryl Streep in “The Hours,” which received a SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture. Other feature credits include the Academy Award winning film “American Beauty” (for which she won a SAG Award for Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture) as well as “Nurse Betty,” “How to Deal,” “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Primary Colors,” “The Ice Storm,” “Six Days Seven Nights,” “The Object of My Affection,” and “Big Night.” On TV, she is renowned for her starring role in the acclaimed NBC series "The West Wing," where she won a remarkable four Emmy Awards and four SAG Awards for her portrayal of White House Press Secretary ‘CJ Cregg.’ She made her Broadway debut in Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter” for which she earned the Outer Critics Circle Award and Clarence Derwent Award. She also appeared in Arthur Miller’s "A View from the Bridge," receiving her first Tony Award nomination and winning the Outer Critics Circle Award as well as the musical "9 to 5," Janney made her return to Broadway earlier this year in the revival of John Guare’s “Six Degrees of Separation."
Sept. 19, 2017
Celia Keenan-Bolger, a native of Detroit, Michigan, has made a very impressive mark in the Broadway community. A Tony nominee beloved for her talent, kindness and political activism, Celia has moved effortlessly between musicals and straight plays. She burst onto the scene with her role in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." Shortly thereafter she captivated audiences as Laura in "The Glass Menagerie," showed her comedic genius in "Peter and the Starcatcher," and moved us to tears when she starred in "Les Miserables" (a childhood dream).In this intimate episode Celia discusses how she handles the highs and lows that inevitably come along with a life in the theater. Married to actor John Ellison Conlee, Celia shares what it's like for two actors in a marriage and she opens up about the joys and surprises of parenthood. Celia also touches on her early years -- including her time with Sutton Foster in the children's theatrical troupe "The Peter Pan Players." Listeners will feel closer to -- and more in awe of -- this deeply talented, and equally kind, award-winning actress.CELIA KEENAN-BOLGER- Broadway: Glass Menagerie (Tony Award Nomination, Drama Desk Award, Dorothy Loudon Award), Peter And The Starcatcher, (Tony Nom, Drama Desk Nom, Drama League Nom), The Cherry Orchard, Les Miserables (Drama Desk nom.), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Tony Nom, Theatre World Award, Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble), Off Broadway: Tumacho (Clubbed Thumb) The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center Theater), Merrily We Roll Along (City Center Encores), A Small Fire (Playwrights Horizons), Bachelorette (2econd Stage). TV: Louie, The Good Wife, Nurse Jackie, Good Behavior, Elementary, Blue Bloods, Law & Order SVU, Heartland. Film: The Visit, Mariachi Gringo, Breakable You, Diane (upcoming). Celia is a graduate of The University Of Michigan.
Sept. 12, 2017
Julianne Moore, the Academy Award winning actress, spends time with Ilana talking about her nomad childhood in a military family, her early years in NYC waitressing, and her first break -- being cast on a soap opera playing twins.In the 90's as the indie film world took off so did her career and she talks in depth about the roles she chooses and how she approaches them. A star who has appeared in over 70 films Julie, as she is known to friends, has remained grounded because of her devotion to her husband and children. Raising her family in New York City has been a way to remain connected to a life of normalcy although her marriage to director Bart Freundlich, has made filmmaking a family business. Julianne and Bart met while making his film "The Myth of Fingerprints" together and it's a love story that Julianne tells in great detail on the podcast. Over the course of an hour Ilana and Julianne talk about the films that made Julianne famous, the pressure on actresses to look a certain way, the paparazzi and its impact on her family, how she decides on doing a role that has nudity and her ability to make the transition so elegantly from being herself to making the leap into playing the character once "action" is called on the set of a film. This is Julianne Moore -- up close and personal.Julianne Moore is an Academy Award and Emmy winning actor, and the first American woman to be awarded top acting prizes at the Cannes, Berlin, and Venice film festivals. She is also a NY-Times best selling author, for her children’s book series Freckleface Strawberry. Julianne is on the Advisory Council of The Children's Health Fund, is a supporter of the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance and in 2015, became founding chair of the Everytown for Gun Safety Creative Council, a creative community established to help amplify the movement to end gun violence in America. In 2017, she will be seen in the upcoming films KINGSMAN 2: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE, WONDERSTRUCK, and SUBURBICON. She lives with her family in New York City.
Sept. 5, 2017
Brian d'Arcy James (award winning actor) originated the role of King George in "Hamilton," The Broadway musical. He has starred in over 14 Broadway shows and just as many film and tv shows. Among them, the Academy Award winning film "Spotlight," "13 Reasons Why," "Smash," "Unabomber," "Ghost Town," and many more upcoming projects.In this candid conversation, Brian shares with Ilana the tough choice he had to make when the opportunity to star on Broadway in "Something Rotten" was presented at the same time "Hamilton" was going into rehearsal for it's Public Theater run. This and other stories about his life in the theater make for one of the most compelling and hilarious episodes of "Little Known Facts."Brian dʼArcy James is an award-winning theater, film, and television actor as well as a recording artist. Hailed recently as “one of the most celebrated actors of his generation in both straight plays and musicals” (Jeremy Gerard, Deadline), Brian is a three-time Tony nominee, and an Obie and Drama Desk Award winner for his varied and extensive work in the theater on Broadway and off-Broadway. Brian reprised his award-winning role as King George III in Lin-Manuel Mirandaʼs musical HAMILTON at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway. He originated the role of King George (“played with vaudevillian brilliance”—Ben Brantley, The New York Times) in the sold-out Off-Broadway run of Hamilton at The Public Theater. In 2015, immediate following Hamilton, Brian starred in the Broadway musical SOMETHING ROTTEN, for which he was nominated for a 2015 Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and Drama League Distinguished Performance Award.In film, Brian starred in the 2016 Academy Award–winning Best Picture SPOTLIGHT, alongside Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams as the four-member “Spotlight” columnists for the Boston Globe. Brian was awarded the 2016 SAG Award, Critics Choice Award, Gotham Award and the Independent Spirit’s Robert Altman Award for Best Ensemble for his portrayal of Matt Carroll. 2017 proved to be a busy year with the spring premiere of the Netflix series THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, in which Brian co-stars with Kate Walsh, followed by his appearance in Discovery Channel’s Manhunt:UNABOMBER miniseries. Additional credits include guest starring roles in THE GOOD WIFE, THE BIG C and PERSON OF INTEREST, among many others. A veteran of the stage with more than a dozen Broadway credits to his name, highlights include his Tony award nominated performances for starring roles in SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS and SHREK THE MUSICAL, as well as roles in Broadway plays such as MACBETH, TIME STANDS STILL and LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE. Off Broadway highlights include his Obie winning solo performance of THE GOOD THIEF, Drama Desk nominations for GIANT and THE WILD PARTY along with originating roles in NEXT TO NORMAL and FLOYD COLLINS, among others. As a recording artist, Brian has a Grammy nomination for his performance on the Broadway Cast Album of SOMETHING ROTTEN. His solo Christmas album FROM CHRISTMAS EVE TO CHRISTMAS MORN features holiday classics along with three original songs including the popular song “Michigan Christmas.” Brian dʼArcy James resides in New York City with his wife and daughter. He has supported and performed many times for an organization in his hometown of Saginaw, Michigan, called the Field Neurosciences Institute (FNI). The mission of the FNI is the prevention, early diagnosis, care and cure of neurological diseases, disorders and injuries.
Aug. 29, 2017
Brendan McDonald is the co-creator and executive producer of "WTF" with Marc Maron. He is an Emmy-winning producer and veteran of television, radio and digital media. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.Brendan McDonald, Emmy Award winner and co-creator/producer of "WTF" with Marc Maron, discusses the evolution of their ground-breaking podcast and how they made history when President Obama came on the show. Brendan grew up in a family devoted to the arts and the seeds were planted at an early age to appreciate and create art with integrity. His own performance background and his encyclopedic knowledge and obsession with "Saturday Night Live" all played a part in his becoming the co creator of "WTF." He met Marc Maron in the early days of Air America when they were hired to create a live radio show together and it was clear to Brendan that Marc was the next Howard Stern. As a kid, Brendan performed in school plays but he understood early on what it would take to chase a career as a performer. So he set his sights on producing and he has done so for decades working with some of the biggest talents in news, but with Marc and the 'WTF" podcast, he has gained international recognition as a pioneer in the world of podcasting. His is a great success story where a labor of love and a passion for hard work has made something uniquely special. Together with Marc Maron, he has written and edited a book creating an oral history of life by weaving together stories from the podcast called 'Waiting for the Punch."
Aug. 22, 2017
At 23, actor Ben Platt won the Tony Award for the physically and emotionally demanding role of Evan Hansen in the Tony Award winning musical, "Dear Evan Hansen." Platt has said in order to take on such a demanding role he lives a monkish existence. As long as he is performing the role everything he does on stage and off is in service of the play. He has changed his diet, works carefully with a vocal coach, physical therapist and even endures the ancient form of alternative medicine known as "cupping." In this intimate conversation with Ilana Levine, host of Little Known Facts, he describes his childhood, his lifelong passion for musical theater, his love of Judaism, family, sexuality, what he learned from Meryl Streep about acting and more never heard before details about this uniquely gifted rising star.BEN PLATT originated the title role in "Dear Evan Hansen" to critical acclaim (Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League nominations) and won the 2017 Tony Award for his Broadway performance. Platt was the original Elder Cunningham in the Chicago production of "The Book of Mormon" and reprised the role on Broadway (dir. Trey Parker and Casey Nicholaw). Film: Benji Applebaum in "Pitch Perfect" and "Pitch Perfect 2," "Ricki and the Flash" (dir. Jonathan Demme), "Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk" (dir. Ang Lee), "Drunk Parents" (dir. Fred Wolf). National Tours: "Caroline, or Change" (directed by George C. Wolfe). Regional credits include "Dear Evan Hansen" (Arena Stage), "The Black Suits" (Barrington Stage Company), "The Power of Duff" (dir. Peter DuBois/New York Stage and Film), "Dead End" (dir. Nicholas Martin/Ahmanson Theatre), :The Music Man," "Mame," "Camelot," and "The Sound of Music" (dir. Gordon Hunt/Hollywood Bowl).
Aug. 15, 2017
Jen Rudin, author of “Confessions of a Casting Director,” offers listeners a unique behind the scenes experience of the casting process. A child actress herself, Jen shares tips and stories for both the seasoned actor and young professionals, on how to best navigate the often harrowing and unruly process of auditions. In this funny, candid and insightful interview, Jen explains the process of auditions from the perspective of the casting director. Learn why going in and doing the best you can is always better than not taking advantage of every opportunity. Even when the call comes in the night before...Jen Rudin is an award-winning casting director who began her thirty-year career in show business as a child actor at age eight. As a casting executive at the Walt Disney Company, Jen conducted extensive talent searches all over the United States, identifying and hiring actors who went on to star on Broadway in "The Lion King," "Mary Poppins" and "The Little Mermaid" and in beloved Disney movies like "The Incredibles," "The Princess and the Frog," "Chicken Little" and "Brother Bear." Her company, Jen Rudin Casting, casts projects in New York and Los Angeles. She is the author of "Confessions of a Casting Director."
Aug. 8, 2017
Jerry Mitchell, Tony Award winning director and choreographer, is a living legend! He is the creator of Broadway Bares, a burlesque show that has raised millions of dollars for Broadway Cares -- an organization devoted to supporting people living with HIV. His midwestern upbringing and his talent uncovered at a young age are all part of his unique and inspiring success story. JERRY MITCHELL (Director/Choreographer) is currently represented on Broadway as the Director of the Gloria Estefan bio-musical, On Your Feet, having previously received TONY Awards in recognition of his choreography for the 2013 TONY-Award winning Best Musical, Kinky Boots, for which he was also nominated as Director and the 2005 revival of La Cage Aux Folles. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for his choreography in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which he also directed and co-produced in the West End. In the 35 preceding years, Jerry has been involved with over 50 Broadway, Off-Broadway, West End and touring productions, starting as a dancer for Agnes De Mille in Brigadoon and thereafter assisting Michael Bennett and Jerome Robbins. His Broadway debut as Choreographer, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, was followed by The Full Monty (TONY nomination), The Rocky Horror Show, Hairspray (TONY nomination), Gypsy (starring Bernadette Peters), Never Gonna Dance (TONY nomination), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (TONY nomination), Imaginary Friends, Legally Blonde (TONY nomination), which he also directed, Catch Me If You Can and Kinky Boots (also currently running in London, Australia, Japan, Korea and on a U.S. tour, with Germany up next.) Jerry’s memorable film work includes In and Out, Scent of a Woman, Jeffrey, Drop DeadGorgeous and Camp. For television, he recently choreographed the NBC live production of Hairspray, as well as several seasons of TheRosie O’Donnell Show, was nominated for an Emmy for his choreography created for The Drew Carey Show, was featured as the host of Step It Up and Dance and appeared in his role as Director/Choreographer of Legally Blonde in The Search for Elle Woodsand of Peepshow in Ice Loves Coco. Twenty-seven years ago, Jerry conceived and created Broadway Bares, a comedy burlesque show performed annually for the charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. He continues to serve as Executive Producer of Broadway Bares, with a book, website and satellite productions in Fire Island Pines, Las Vegas (Peepshow, which enjoyed a five-year run of continuous performances) and London (West End Bares). Most recently, Jerry received the Drama League’s Founders’ Award for Excellence in Directing and the George Abbott Lifetime Achievement Award from his peers, the latter being especially meaningful to him in that he was directed by the 96 year old Mr. Abbott in the Broadway revival of On Your Toes. A native of Paw Paw, Michigan, Jerry attended Webster Conservatory in St. Louis, from which he received an Honorary Doctorate.
Aug. 1, 2017
Nikka Graff Lanzarone comes from a long line of Broadway performers and Tony Award winners. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she spent her youth figuring out how to get to New York City. Nikka was always clear from a young age that she needed to live where there was a Broadway and to Broadway she arrived. Cast in the Pedro Almodovar musical, "Women on the Verge," Nikka quickly became a beloved member of the Broadway community and her one woman show, "Hero Worship," made her an immediate darling of the Cabaret world. She and Mo Brady co-host "The Ensemblist," a Broadway podcast that shines a light on all the people who make a Broadway show happen, both on stage and off.Nikka Graff Lanzarone is a New York City-based performer, writer, podcaster, cat lady, lover of the Internet, wife, and nerd. She’s appeared on Broadway in Chicago (Velma Kelly)andWomen on the Verge… (Marisa) and Off-Broadway in Sweet Charity (Ursula, New Group) Hello Again (The Whore, Transport Group), Zorba (Encores!), and Seussical (Lucille Lortel Theatre). Favorite regional credits include My Paris (Long Wharf), The Jungle Book (Goodman/Huntington Theatres), A Chorus Line(Paper Mill Playhouse) and Into the Woods (Baltimore Centerstage/Westport Country Playhouse). She also did a stint as a Vegas showgirl in Jerry Mitchell’s Peep Show. Film: Bandslam. TV: “Unforgettable,” “Smash,”“Live from Lincoln Center.” Recordings: “Women on the Verge…” and “Seussical” cast albums. Her podcast, The Ensemblist, is changing the conversation about what it means to make a successful life in the theatre. Follow @nikkalanz on social media. More: nikka-graff-lanzarone.com.
July 25, 2017
Alex Gansa, creator of "Homeland," takes us on a behind the scenes journey of his career as an award winning writer in Hollywood. He and Co-creator Howard Gordon, began their life in out west as Test Prep instructors for the children of Hollywood elite. From their they went on to write for television. Hear how these two young upstarts went from wide eyed hopefuls to being two of the most successful writers and show runners working today. Gansa shares deep personal stories of his struggles and successes and if you love "Homeland" you will learn about how the show came together, casting stories and never before heard anecdotes from the set of the Showtime award winning series.Alex Gansa is the showrunner, co-creator and executive producer of Showtime’s thriller HOMELAND, starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin. HOMELAND premiered in October 2011 to critical acclaim and the highest debut ratings for a freshman drama on the network. HOMELAND won the 2012 and 2013 Golden Globe for Best Television Series, and a 2012 Emmy in six different categories including Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series and Best Drama Series. Additional honors include two 2012 WGA awards in the categories of Best New Series and Episodic Drama, 2013 Producers Guild Award, the Peabody Award, Television Critics’ Association Award, Critics’ Choice Television Award and was named one of AFI’s Top Ten Programs of the Year in both 2011 and 2012.Gansa previously served as an Executive Producer on the long-running 24, the CBS series NUMB3RS, and DAWSON'S CREEK, and as a Consulting Producer on ENTOURAGE. His other work includes the hit series THE X FILES for Fox, SISTERS for NBC, and the critically acclaimed series MAXIMUM BOB that he created for ABC.Gansa lives in Los Angeles.
July 11, 2017
Little Known Facts with me, Ilana Levine, is taking the new two weeks off so I can spend some quality summer time with Dom and the kids. But worry not, as we'll return with all new episodes on July 25th. We have some amazing guests coming into the podcast clubhouse over the next couple of months and I am excited to share their stories with you.
July 4, 2017
Gus Birney, the youngest actress to date on the podcast, gained her reputation as the new "it girl" with her starring role in the prestige cable drama, "The Mist." At 17 she has already walked the runway for Kanye West during fashion week and co-starred with Marisa Tomei in the critically acclaimed production of "The Rose Tattoo." The daughter of Tony award winning actor Reed Birney and OITNB star Constance Schulman, she shares with great candor the day to day life of growing up in a household with actors who sometimes worked and sometimes didn't, why high school wasn't a great fit for her, and how a 3a.m. trip to a downtown NYC salon is normal in the world of modeling. Gus shares her struggles with the constant reality of being the youngest person in an ensemble and also shares how she negotiates her creative desires with the downtime that actors face and the trauma and hilarity of self taping with her mother -- all of which make for a hilarious and poignant interview with this remarkable young talent who is a moviestar on the rise.Gus Birney was born and raised on the upper west side in NYC. Went to the professional performing arts school for high school. Her first professional job was one of the Clean and Clear girls for their commercials. She guest starred on "Chicago Med," played Marissa Tomei's daughter in :The Rose Tattoo" at Williamstown, opened Kanye West's show at NY Fashion week last fall and just recently wrapped the first season of "The Mist." Based on Stephen King's novella (was also a movie) and shot for four months in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Gus is a songwriter and has performed at The Bitter End, Rockwood Music Hall and Arleen's Grocery. She is scheduled to shoot a new Sarah Jessica Parker film in the summer of 2017.
June 27, 2017
Ryan Raddon known as Kaskade to his millions of fans is a world renown Electronic Dance Music DJ and chart topping artist. In this episode of "Little Known Facts" he sits down with Ilana and discusses his life as a trailblazer in the house music world and describes the choices he has to make in order to balance his life as a family man and a devout Mormon and his life on the road ten months out of the year. From growing up in his close knit family in Chicago, the birthplace of House Music, to his international fame as one of the most successful DJ's in music history - this is a one of a kind conversation where Ryan reveals things about himself he has not discussed in previous interviews.Multi GRAMMY Award-nominated singer, songwriter, producer and remixer Kaskade is a titan in the dance music world, and a groundbreaking innovator in the music industry as a whole. Bending the curve by which his contemporaries measure themselves, Kaskade has an unprecedented string of “firsts”. He was the first DJ to land a Las Vegas residency, the first ever solo electronic dance artist to sell-out both Navy Pier in Chicago, and the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the first dance artist to perform and sell out at the Los Angeles Convention Center in its 45-year history with a career-defining solo headline date in front of 30,000 fans. A three-time Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival veteran, Kaskade made history in 2015 where he was the only electronic musician to headline the festival and drew the two largest crowds in its storied sixteen-year existence. Crowned by The New York Times as “the new face of electronic dance music,” Kaskade has been bridging the gap between old school music purists and a new generation of music lovers. Relentlessly touring the world and playing to tens of millions people around the globe, he has been in the trenches for over a decade, laying the groundwork for a titanic musical and cultural shift. With nine studio albums and five GRAMMY nominations to his name, Kaskade’s global reach is ever-expanding. He has headlined every major North American festival, and was recently inducted into Pete tong’s Hall of fame, and sold out London’s The Steelyard on his most recent UK date. His single “Fakin It” was first premiered in the UK when Kaskade went back to back with Danny Howard on his primetime “Dance Anthems” slot on BBC Radio 1. While Kaskade’s handwriting is all over the history of electronic music, his influence today is at an all-time high. His latest full length album, "Automatic" [Warner Bros. Records/Arkade] claimed the #2 spot on the Billboard Dance /Electronic Albums Chart. Automatic commanded a Top 15 placement on the U.S. Digital Chart, as well as amassing over 50 million streams on Spotify in less than a year’s time. His live set from Ultra Music Festival 2016 has garnered over 1.9 million views in a matter of months. (Watch here) Kaskade continues his reign in Las Vegas with an unprecedented mult-venue long term residency for Hakkasan Group, and his social media reach continues to connect him with his audience in an authentic and powerful way. Rolling Stone asserts, “Kaskade represents an intensely positive side of dance music culture”, another cornerstone in the foundation that sets him apart."
June 20, 2017
Tony Award Winner, Ben Platt and Academy Award nominee, Lucas Hedges share the podcast stage on this episode of "Little Known Facts with Ilana Levine". These two huge stars are old friends and share their history, passions, struggles and triumphs with great candor on this special episode. Go behind the scenes backstage at "Dear Evan Hansen" and listen to Lucas share what he does before he performs. The two talk about how they handle fame, family, pressure, next projects and what they do for fun-which may surprise you!Ben Platt - Ben Platt originated the title role in Dear Evan Hansen to critical acclaim (Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League nominations). Platt was the original Elder Cunningham in the Chicago production of The Book of Mormon and reprised the role on Broadway (dir. Trey Parker and Casey Nicholaw). Film: Benji Applebaum in Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, Ricki and the Flash (dir. Jonathan Demme), Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (dir. Ang Lee), Drunk Parents (dir. Fred Wolf). ŒNational Tours: Caroline, or Change (directed by George C. Wolfe). Regional credits include Dear Evan Hansen (Arena Stage), The Black Suits (Barrington Stage Company), The Power of Duff (dir. Peter DuBois/New York Stage and Film), Dead End (dir. Nicholas Martin/Ahmanson Theatre), The Music Man, Mame, Camelot, and The Sound of Music (dir. Gordon Hunt/Hollywood Bowl).Lucas Hedges - As a child, Lucas Hedges made his feature film debut as an extra in his father's film Dan in Real Life. He went on to play major roles in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, Jason Reitman's Labor Day, Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem, Michael Cuesta's Kill the Messenger, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea, Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, and Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. His received critical acclaim for his role in the play, Yen. He was nominated for over 20 awards for his role in Manchester By The Sea and won multiple awards for his gorgeous work in the film.
June 13, 2017
Alan Alda has been a household name for decades. He is a rare breed of celebrity -- down to earth, funny, kind and a deeply thoughtful human. He is an advocate for women's rights, a passionate devotee of science and an artist still fiercely committed to the craft of acting, writing and directing. On this episode of Little Known Facts, Alda shares very personal stories from his life. He discusses in heartbreaking detail growing up as the only child of a schizophrenic mother in a time when no one spoke of such things; he talks of his father who was a well known performer on the Burlesque circuit, someone who went on to international stardom only to go back to square one again and again. Alan Alda saw firsthand from an early age the great highs and lows of an acting career. Yet with the role of 'Hawkeye Pierce' on the groundbreaking, iconic hit television series M*A*S*H, Alda became a huge star He reinvents himself with every role and in his conversation with Ilana, he shares his process for creating a character and how to live in the moment. Listen as Alan share his insights on fame and how his passion for art, science, activism and family make him a deeply curious and mindful person.Alan Alda has earned international recognition as an actor, writer and director. In addition to The Aviator, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, Alda’s films include Crimes and Misdemeanors, Everyone Says I Love You, Flirting With Disaster, Manhattan Murder Mystery, And The Band Played On, Same Time, Next Year and California Suite, as well as The Seduction of Joe Tynan, which he wrote, and The Four Seasons, Sweet Liberty, A New Life and Betsy’s Wedding, all of which he wrote and directed. Most recently, his film appearances have included Tower Heist, Wanderlust, and Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. In 2016, he appeared as Uncle Pete in Louis CK’s groundbreaking web series Horace and Pete. He has the distinction of being nominated for an Oscar, a Tony, and an EMMY - and publishing a bestselling book - all in the same year (2005). In all, he has received 6 EMMYs and has been nominated for an EMMY 34 times. Alda played Hawkeye Pierce on the classic television series M*A*S*H, and wrote and directed many of the episodes. His EMMY nominations include performances in 2015 for The Blacklist, in 2009 for 30 Rock, in 2006 for West Wing (for which he received an EMMY), and in 1999 for ER. In 1994 he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. He hosted the award winning series Scientific American Frontiers on PBS for eleven years.On Broadway, he has appeared as the physicist Richard Feynman in the play QED. He starred in the first American production of the international hit play ART. He has received 3 Tony nominations. In addition to his nomination for the revival of Glengarry Glen Ross, he was also nominated for the Tony Award for his performances in Neil Simon's Jake’s Women and the musical The Apple Tree. Other appearances on Broadway include The Owl and the Pussycat, Purlie Victorious and Fair Game for Lovers for which he received a Theatre World Award.He helped found the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and is the author of a play entitled Radiance – the Passion of Marie Curie. His wife, Arlene, is the author of nineteen books. They have three daughters and eight grandchildren.
June 6, 2017
In honor of these two brilliant actors and their 2017 Tony Award nominations here are interviews with the star of Falsettos and Girls, Andrew Rannells, and the star of Dear Evan Hansen and Pitch Perfect, Ben Platt. Andrew Rannells - Andrew Rannells plays Elijah on the hit HBO series, Girls. He is also known for his work as Elder Price in the 2011 Broadway musical The Book of Mormon, which earned him a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. As a featured soloist on the musical's Original Broadway Cast Recording, he won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. His other Broadway credits include Jersey Boys, Hairspray, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Falsettos. He portrayed King George III in Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical Hamilton on Broadway. Ben Platt - Ben Platt originated the title role in Dear Evan Hansen to critical acclaim (Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League nominations). Platt was the original Elder Cunningham in the Chicago production of The Book of Mormon and reprised the role on Broadway (dir. Trey Parker and Casey Nicholaw). Film: Benji Applebaum in Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, Ricki and the Flash (dir. Jonathan Demme), Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (dir. Ang Lee), Drunk Parents (dir. Fred Wolf). ŒNational Tours: Caroline, or Change (directed by George C. Wolfe). Regional credits include Dear Evan Hansen (Arena Stage), The Black Suits (Barrington Stage Company), The Power of Duff (dir. Peter DuBois/New York Stage and Film), Dead End (dir. Nicholas Martin/Ahmanson Theatre), The Music Man, Mame, Camelot, and The Sound of Music (dir. Gordon Hunt/Hollywood Bowl).
May 30, 2017
Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon are both nominated for 2017 Tony Awards for their roles in The Little Foxes. These two stars of stage and screen switch roles nightly which is a stunning achievement, especially because the women they play are polar opposites. Here are my interviews with Cynthia and Laura, revisited in honor of their nominations and their beautiful work in Lillian Hellman's Tony Award nominated play.Laura Liney - Laura Linney is an American actress who works in film, television and theatre. Her film work includes Genius, Nocturnal Animals and The Dinner. Most recently she has been seen in Mr. Holmes, You Can Count On Me, Kinsey, The Savagaes, The Fifth Estate, Hyde Park on Hudson, The Squid and the Whale, Mystic River, Absolute Power, The Truman Show, Primal Fear, The Mothman Prophecies, Love Actually, The House of Mirth, The Details and Congo, among others. She starred in and produced the Showtime Series The Big C for four seasons for which she won a few awards, as she did for her portrayal of Abigail Adams in the HBO miniseries John Adams directed by Tom Hooper. Early in her career she starred as Mary Ann Singleton in Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series, a job for which she continues to be most grateful and proud. She appeared as Kelsey Grammer’s final girlfriend in the last six episodes of Frasier, was directed by Stanley Donen in Love Letters, and starred opposite Joanne Woodward in Blindspot. She has appeared in many Broadway productions, most notably Time Stands Still and Sight Unseen both directed by Daniel Sullivan and written by Donald Margulies, and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible directed by Richard Eyre opposite Liam Neeson with whom she has worked many times. Other plays include Six Degrees of Separation, Honour, Uncle Vanya, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Holiday and The Seagull. She has been nominated three times for the Academy Award, three times for the Tony Award, once for a BAFTA Award, and five times for the Golden Globe. She has won one SAG Award, one National Board of Review Award, two Golden Globes and four Emmy Awards. She holds two honorary Doctorates from her alma maters, Brown University and The Juilliard School. Cynthia Nixon - Cynthia Ellen Nixon is an American actress, known for her portrayal of Miranda Hobbes in the HBO series Sex and the City for which she won the 2004 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She reprised the role in the films Sex and the City and Sex and the City 2. Her other film appearances include Amadeus, The Pelican Brief, Baby's Day Out, Little Manhattan, 5 Flights Up, Stockholm, Pennsylvania, James White and A Quiet Passion. Nixon made her Broadway debut in the 1980 revival of The Philadelphia Story. Other Broadway credits include The Real Thing, Hurlyburly, Indiscretions and The Women. She played Eleanor Roosevelt in the HBO TV film Warm Springs. She went on to win the 2006 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the original production of Rabbit Hole, a second Emmy Award in 2008 for her guest role in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2009 for An Inconvenient Truth. In 2011, she played Michele Davis in the TV film Too Big to Fail, before returning to Broadway in the 2012 play Wit.