By Sharon Eberson
When the going gets tough, there’s no one like a theatermaker for getting the job done.
Even before the pandemic shut down live theater, podcasts such as City Theatre’s “CIty Speaks” and Steve Cuden’s “Storybeat” were highlighting Pittsburgh theater stories.
Tressa Glover had a different take on the kind of podcast she wanted to do. Most of us know Glover as an actress and producer who, with her husband, Don DiGiulio, lead the No Name Players collaborative that produces plays and musicals, as well as “The Sisters Sorella” sitcom and SWAN Day Pittsburgh, part of a global event that provides a platform for women artists.
You can add to that list a different type of creative endeavor, although not too far a stretch for a someone whose calling is telling good stories.
The “Yinz Are Good” podcast was born to celebrate “the good stuff happening out there and the good people who are making it so.”
On Monday, March 7, from 6:30-8 p.m., Glover will host a live interview with a public audience – a first for “Yinz Are Good” – with guest Gisele Fetterman, the Second Lady of Pennsylvania.
Glover hosted a live Christmas show with Pittsburgh actor and storyteller extraordinaire Tim Hartman, but that audience, amid COVID restrictions, was invited guests only.
“We knew when we did this live again, we wanted it to be when things were opening up more,” Glover said.
“I was so glad to get Gisele because of the number of organizations she’s involved in. As far as having that live audience, you have to think, ‘Who would be a great personality in person and for a chat?’ So, that was the thinking when we decided to do another live show.”
“Yinz Are Good” live takes place at Orbis Caffe in Mt. Lebanon. When it is noted that they will be in Connor Lamb territory, and Lamb is running against fellow Democrat Lt. Governor John Fetterman for a U.S. Senate seat, Glover allows that it’s bound to come up, “But this is not about politics.”
Gisele Fetterman’s work as an activist and nonprofit executive, as well as her striking social media presence, have made her a public figure in her own right. She is on the front lines of the fight for immigration reform and is founder of the nonprofit Free Store 15104, as well as a cofounder of For Good PGH and 412 Food Rescue.
Most “Yinz Are Good” guests are not as well known as Fetterman, and it has been heartening that suggestions about people and organizations doing good works in Pittsburgh continue to keep Glover busy.
“When we were starting out, we were focusing on good stuff you may not have heard of, as opposed to the big ones,” Glover said. The first interview was about the Cafe on the Corner on the North Side, with Teresa and Michael Blackwell. In addition to all these good works they do in their community … they were distributing free lunches during the pandemic.”
Glover mentions learning about Tiffany Huff-Strothers’ When She Thrives, started specifically to help single mothers, and then she’s on a roll: the Emma Munson Foundation, which was created after a family tragedy and promotes charitable activities; Scent With Love; Socks With a Mission; Kelly Brennan’s “Caroline’s Infusion Day,” a children’s book to help children like her daughter who make regular hospital visits …
The hits just keep on coming.
“The way that it has grown is a bit surprising,” said Glover. “I had the idea right before the pandemic started, but I didn’t have the tech knowledge. I was just starting to feel creatively, as an actor and producer, I wanted to try something different – not walk away from acting, but I wanted to connect with people in a different way. I just didn’t know what that meant.”
What she was certain of was, there were many stories worth telling, and she is, after all, a storyteller. As of March 1, “Yinz Are Good” was at podcast No. 43, and about to go live with more good stuff happening in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh theatergoers have seen Lisa Ann Goldsmith onstage in everything from the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz to, well, a whole lot of Shakespeare credits. She also has taught Shakespeare First Folio classes at Youngstown University and for Pittsburgh Public Theater. And you should hear her talk about the Bard.
Really. You Should.
The self-described “cheeky, irreverent, informative” podcast “The Bardcast: It’s Shakespeare, You Dick!,” hosted by Goldsmith and Owen Thompson, was honored in New York Shakespeare’s most memorable audio-based Shakespeare offerings of 2021. The site for all things Shakespeare said: “This entertaining and irreverent podcast from actors and educators, Lisa Ann Goldsmith and Owen Thompson tackles a wide array of questions about Shakespeare, and does so in an easygoing, humorous way, with such examinations as what sports were popular in Shakespeare’s day, what some of the sexual innuendo in Shakespeare’s plays means, and more.” The podcast recently hit 7,000 downloads and, as noted at http://www.broadwayworld.com, The Bardcast Players will present “As You LIke It” via a YouTube live stream on the Bard’s birthday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m., and April 24 at 3 p.m.
Not a podcast, but …
For a live onstage take on performing Shakespeare, I hope you were able to catch American Moor at the Pittsburgh Playhouse last month. Keith Hamilton Cobb performed his play about being a Black performer who feels Shakespeare’s words to his core, only to constantly be told by white educators and theater makers how he should manifest the roles that were open to him. I caught the Saturday night performance, which included a post-show reception and exhibition of related multidisciplinary art.
Do you know of more podcasts or unique theater experiences happening in around Pittsburgh? Email Sharon Eberson at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more in OnStage Pittsburgh