Hang & Focus: The Podcast from the Official State Theatre of Arizona


Welcome to Arizona Theatre Company’s podcast titled Hang & Focus. Titled such because sometimes we want to just “HANG out and chat” and other times we want to “be serious and FOCUS”, but we want to do it all with you! Not only that, “hang & focus” is a lighting term, and each tech has a “hang & focus” time where lighting instruments are placed on the grid above the stage in order to create the lighting design!

Hang & Focus is now available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and YouTube. This is our way to keep us all connected to the art we create, the artists we love and support, and our uber-talented staff and you, our patrons – all the people that ARE Arizona Theatre Company! Be sure to subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or YouTube to automatically have new episodes added to your podcast platform of choice. Be sure to subscribe to follow along with the new releases!


Episode Index

Episode 33: LIVE SPECIAL EDITION with Sean Daniels and Ben Scheuer

Arizona Theatre Company’s Sean Daniels (Artistic Director) hangs out with Ben Scheuer, performer and writer of the award winning one-man-musical, The Lion in a special interview that was recorded a few months ago, at the onset of the Pandemic shutdown.

ATC is excited to present Ben Scheuer’s recent London Concert for our ATC audiences from October 20-27 and wanted to offer our audiences a more intimate conversation with him in advance of showcasing his talent!

#ATC #WeAreArizonaTheatreCompany


Episode 32: SPECIAL – MUJER! and Arts in Color Takeover

MUJER! is a feminist fashion and beauty magazine aimed at representing women as they really are—diverse, creative, passionate, flawed but beautiful—human.

MUJER!’s mission is to change preconceived, patriarchy-derived notions of female beauty. There are no ads, no photoshopping and all of our models are 25+ (in real life, women do not disappear after this age).

MUJER! is produced in Mexico City and distributed worldwide. (https://www.mujerrev.com)

Arts in Color was founded in 2013 to celebrate, inform and inspire poc theater artists. We conducted equity & inclusion work, interviews, reviews, provided history, auditions, celebrated poc students showcasing across the country and much more! Currently the site is being revamped but you can find us on FB in the meanwhile (https://www.facebook.com/ArtsinColor/)

Shavanna Calder is the Creative Director for MUJER! and founder of Arts in Color. She is a first-generation actor, stylist, singer, writer and human! Credit Highlights: SNL, Grammys (2018), Hairspray (National Tour), CBS ‘Best of’ Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase, For Colored Girls (Lady in Green), Caroline, or Change (Emmie) etc. Shavanna is a Wellesley College and NYU alumna who also works in arts focused equity & diversity strategy. (www.shavannacalder.com)

Spread Empathy

Insta: shaviexo

Featured interview with:

Kara Branch is a New York based costume designer. Her recent design projects include Till: The Musical with American Theater Group and Imagining Madoff and Brecht: Call and Response with New Light Theater Company. Recent Assistant design credits include Hamilton (National Tour), Slave Play (Broadway), The Secret Life of Bees at Atlantic Theater Company, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark at Signature Theater Company and Detroit ’67 at The McCarter Theater. (https://www.karabranchdesigns.com/)


Nikiya Mathis and Shavanna met at Hairversations a glorious event for Black women to discuss our hair within the industry. Nikiya is an actress & the creator of ActTRESSES Hair, a Hair & Wig design company. ActTRESSES Hair Consulting, specializes in supporting actors of color in film, TV and theater. She is also a drama desk award nominee & Antonyo Award Winner. She’s worked on a variety of projects including For Colored Girls at The Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem & Jessica Jones. (https://www.acttresseshair.com/)

#ATC #WeAreArizonaTheatreCompany #Mujer #ArtsinColor

Episode 31: Featuring Billie Jo Herberger

Arizona Theatre Company’s Sean Daniels (Artistic Director) and Chanel Bragg (Associate Artistic Director) will be hanging out with Phoenician Philanthropist and NAU Alumn, Billie Jo Herberger.

Billie Jo Herberger has been a Phoenix resident since 1969 and was named the 2013 Woman of the Year by Women of Scottsdale. According to a 2015 article highlighting her in the Phoenix Magazine, “Billie Jo serves as an inspiration to many – she’s survived cervical cancer, breast cancer and malignant melanoma without losing a sliver of her spunk or spark. She doesn’t cover up her scars, but displays them proudly as ‘badges of courage.’”

The Herbergers are well known in the Valley for their support of the arts. Just last year they were inducted into the Herberger Performing Arts & Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2019 and had a new Scottsdale arts award named after them –  the Herberger Award for the Arts. They have given generously to arts organizations including the Herberger Theater, the Phoenix Theater, Valley Youth Theatre, Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona, Scottsdale Philharmonic, Phoenix Art Museum, Scottsdale Center for the Arts as well as other important non-profits such as Release the Fear, Key to the Cure (TGen), Kids Read USA, and Phoenix Heart Ball.

Episode 30: Featuring the cast of Slow Food

Arizona Theatre Company’s Sean Daniels (Artistic Director) and Chanel Bragg (Associate Artistic Director) will be hanging out with Daina Griffith, Brian Beacock, and Joel Van Liew, the cast of our online presentation of Slow Food by Wendy MacLeod.

Episode 29: Creative Team Behind My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend

Arizona Theatre Company’s Sean Daniels (Artistic Director) and Chanel Bragg (Associate Artistic Director) will be hanging out with Charissa Bertels, Christian Duhamel, and Ed Bell, the creators behind our first LIVE production of the 2021 Season, the new musical My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend.

Episode 28: Wendy MacLeod

Arizona Theatre Company’s Sean Daniels (Artistic Director) and Chanel Bragg (Associate Artistic Director) will be hanging out with Wendy MacLeod, playwright of our upcoming Digital Reading, Slow Food, and our 2021 production Women in Jeopardy.

Episode 27: Char Augenstein and Jasmine Roth

Arizona Theatre Company’s Sean Daniels (Artistic Director) and Carley Elizabeth Preston (Development Operations Manager) will be hanging out with ATC’s Board Chair and Phoenix Philanthropist, Char Augenstein, and Director of Learning and Education, Jasmine Roth

Episode 26: Elaine Romero, Benjamin Benne, and Eliana Pipes from ATC’s National Latinx Playwright Awards

Arizona Theatre Company’s Carley Elizabeth Preston (Development Operations Manager) and Chanel Bragg (Associate Artistic Director) will be hanging out with winners of and the team behind ATC’s National Latinx Playwright Award. Join ATC Playwright-in-residence Elaine Romero, ALMA playwright Benjamin Benne (winner of 2019 NLPA) and playwright , actor, filmmaker, and recipient of the 2020 NLPA Eliana Pipes.

Episode 25: Revision, Healing: Featuring Cat Rodriguez and Benjamin Benne!

Arizona Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Sean Daniels, and co-host Carley Elizabeth Preston (Development Operations Manager) will being hanging out with the creatives from our Online Presentation of Alma. Join Playwright Benjamin Benne and Director Cat Rodriguez as they discuss this exciting reading of ATC’s 2019 National Latinx Playwrighting Award (NLPA) in anticipation of it’s August 18th – August 22nd run!

Episode 24: Persevere, Empathy, Dedication, Humility, Growth: Featuring Summer OnStage Alumns!

Arizona Theatre Company’s Carley Elizabeth Preston (Development Operations Manager) is joined by Jasmine Roth, Director of Learning and Education. They’ll be hanging out with Summer OnStage Alumna Alex Alegria (2018,2019), Cassie Miller (2017, 2019), Melissa Arnaud (2013), and Tyler Gastelum (2009, 2010, 2011).

Episode 23: Patience Persevere Community Listening Intentionality feat. Podcasts of Phoenix

Artistic Director Sean Daniels and Development Operations Manager, Carley Elizabeth Preston, are joined by Phoenix podcast hosts D. Scott Withers and Ashley Stults of Chewing the Scenery, and Ricky Araiza, Chandra Crudup, and Walter Belcher of Sippin’ Tea in the Balcony.

Episode 22: #Optimistic: With Sean Daniels and Geri Wright

Arizona Theatre Company’s Sean Daniels (Artistic Director) and Carley Elizabeth Preston (Development Operations Manager) hang out with ATC Managing Director Geri Wright.

Episode 21: Arizona Performers and Playwrights: Featuring 20 participants from the Arizona edition of the 24 Hour Plays

Arizona Theatre Company’s Sean Daniels (Artistic Director) and Carley Elizabeth Preston (Development Operations Manager) hang out with Playwrights and Actors from this week’s @24 Hour Plays Arizona Edition #24ViralMonologues:

Jennifer Gantwerker – @ChildsplayAz

Alejandra Luna and Susanna Velarde Covarrubias – @Teatro Bravo #teatrobravoaz

Brenda Foley , Shonda Royall, and Angelica Howard- @The Bridge Initiative

Louis Farber – @Stray Cat Theatre

Shelby Maticic and John Perovich- @Brelby Theatre Company @brelbytheatreco

Maybe Stewart and Veronika Duerr – Phoenix Theatre Artists

Milta Ortiz and Veronica Conran- @Borderland Theatre #borderlandstheatre

Paul Michael Thomas- @uatheatrefilmtv @uarizonaactingmt

Monica Bauer and China Young – @Winding Road Theatre Ensemble

Gabriella de Brequet – @Scoundrel and Scamp Theatre

Elaine Romero – Arizona Theatre Company

Episode 20: Community Resilience With Mark Armstrong & Ashley La Russa

Arizona Theatre Company’s Sean Daniels (Artistic Director) and Carley Elizabeth Preston (Development Operations Manager) hang out with Mark Armstrong (Artistic Director of The 24 Hour Plays ) and Ashley La Russa (Founder of Roux Events and BlaxFriday.com, and beloved member of the ATC family).

Episode 19: Artists as Advocates with Catherine Campbell and Diana Burbano

This week of Hang and Focus is co-hosted by Jasmine Roth, Director of Learning and Education and Assistant Production Manager and Chair of the DiveIn Committee, Tajh Oates, as we discuss the different ways that artists and arts organizations can be advocates for change. Tajh meets with Catherine Campbell, Production Manager at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis, MN, to discuss the what their theatre is doing to assist the situation in their town after the murder of George Floyd and how they integrate social justice work into their organization. Tajh and Will also speak with Diana Burbano, actor and playwright most recently featured in as Amalia in our production of American Mariachi, who speaks about her experience as a Latinx playwright and performer, the way that she advocates for her fellow Latinx artists and young artists in her community, and how her experiences have inspired her to make change within the industry.

Episode 18: “Now Commitment” With Chanel Bragg and Jesse Sanchez

Artistic Director Sean Daniels and Development Operations Manager, Carley Elizabeth Preston, are joined by incoming Associate Artistic Director, Chanel Bragg to talk about ATC’s exciting future!

As an surprise bonus, we will also talk HAMILTON with Jesse Sanchez, Musical Director for Cabaret and creator of SUEÑOS: Our American Musical who was the Musical Director for the Angelica touring cast of Hamilton.

We look forward to you joining us!!

Episode 17: “Present, Synthesis, & Strength” With Megan Carney, Sharon Pasia, and Amy Young

Megan Carney (Artistic Director of About Face Theatre in Chicago),Sharon Pasia (Member of the Youth Ensemble AND Youth Task Force at About Face) and Amy Young (Amy Young, the Managing Editor of Echo Magazine, Phoenix’s longest-running LGBTQ publication) hang out with Sean and Carley Elizabeth Preston (ATC’s Development Operations Manager)

“If we want our artmaking to be about social change, what are the different tools we have to really advance that?” – Megan Carney (“Synthesis”) & Sharon Pasia (“Present”)

“We have a strong community that is interested in raising voices and continuing to make change” – Amy Young (“Strength”)

Episode 16: Explosion & Kindness with Joanie Drago and Oscar De las Salas

Hosts Sean Daniels and Carley Elizabeth Preston interview Joanie Drago (Creator and Playwright of HOT PINK OR READY TO BLOW) and Oscar De Las Salas (Community Leader) on their work, experiences and projects. Here are some of our favorite quotes from the interviews (you’ll have to listen to find out more!):  

“I thought I was a playwright and then I realized I just knew how to run my mouth”  “ They were wearing their slut buttons”“what is the starting point of self”  “If I were to say I am, there is creative energy in that” – Joanie Drago

“Welcome to my sideways life” “I have, today, been three months in confinement”  “Humanity, compassion and for the good of others” “Be kind” ‘This is a statement. It’s not up for discussion” – Oscar De Las Salas.

Episode 15: Live with Sean Daniels (Featuring Reggie D. White and Raymond Carr)

Reggie D. White (Actor—The Inheritance [Broadway]) and Raymond Carr (Puppeteer—Jim Henson Studios) hang out with Sean and Carley.

Episode 14: Live with Sean Daniels (Featuring Larissa Fasthorse and Hana Sharif)

Larissa Fasthorse (Playwright, co-founder of Indigenous Direction, member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation, and Vice Chair of Theatre Communications Group) and Hana Sharif (Artistic Director—The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis).

Episode 13: Live With Sean Daniels: (Featuring Kent Gash and Carley Elizabeth Preston)

Tune in with Sean for this timely and important interview with Ralph Remington (Artistic Director, Tempe Center for the Arts) and Larry O’Keefe (Broadway Composer and Lyricist – Bat Boy, Legally Blond, Heathers)!


Episode 12: Live With Sean Daniels: (Featuring Ralph Remington and Larry O’Keefe)

Tune in with Sean for this timely and important interview with Ralph Remington (Artistic Director, Tempe Center for the Arts) and Larry O’Keefe (Broadway Composer and Lyricist – Bat Boy, Legally Blond, Heathers)!.

Episode 11: Live With Sean Daniels (featuring Jaime Dempsey and Mitch Menchaca)

Artistic Director Sean Daniels talks with Jaime Dempsey, Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and Mitch Menchaca, Executive Director of the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture.


Episode 10: Live With Sean Daniels: Phoenix Rises (featuring Ricky Arazia and Chanel Bragg)

This week, Arizona Theatre Company Artistic Director Sean Daniels talks with Phoenix-based artists Ricky Arazia of Teatro Bravo and Chanel Bragg.


Episode 9: Live with Sean Daniels: The White Chip (feat. Ryan Hampton, Hank Stratton, and Joe Tapper)

In advance of Arizona Theatre Company’s benefit reading of Sean Daniel’s “The White Chip”, Sean Welcomes co-founder of The Voices Project, Ryan Hampton, to discuss the power of stories in removing the stigma of addiction and recovery as well as interviews with Arizona Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Hank Stratton and The White Chip’s lead actor, Joe Tapper.


Episode 8: Voices of Recovery

In conversation with Arizona Theatre Company’s upcoming benefit reading of Artistic Director Sean Daniels’ THE WHITE CHIP, Join us for these conversations with activists and artists across the country.

Each one drawing from their experiences in different ways to bring exciting work to life and working to end the shame associated with addiction. In this episode we hear from co-founder of The Voices Project, Ryan Hampton.

Steven Strafford shares his autobiographical solo musical, METHTACULAR!.

Armand Fields, Chicago based actor and drag queen, and Gretchen Wirges, Tucson based theatre artists, share their experiences creating work after embracing recovery.

 We also meet T.j. Murphy and the New Hampshire based Hope Ensemble, battling addition through their love of music. (Episode Resources)


Episode 7: Live with Sean Daniels: The White Chip (feat. Sheryl Kaller & Dan Bakkedahl)

Arizona Theatre Company’s Artistic Director discusses his play The White Chip written based on his personal journey of recovery. Joined by Tony Nominated Sheryl Kaller who directed the The White Chip Off-Broadway and will direct our online reading on May 11th, and Dan Bakkedahl: actor, comedian, former roommate of Sean, and fellow friend in recovery. Content Warning: Addiction, Sobriety, Recovery. Find out more about the White Chip Reading. This episode was recorded Live on May 1st through Zoom and Facebook. If you want to watch these episodes Live- tune into Facebook every Friday 7pm E/4pm PDT.

Episode 6: We Are Arizona Theatre Company

Join us for this conversation with Arizona Theatre Company staffers as they recall why and how they got involved in theatre and why they love the work they get to do at ATC.

Episode 5: Live with Sean Daniels: Clowns, Odes, and Musical Mindfulness (feat. Lucky Yates and Brian Lowdermilk)

In our first Hang & Focus Livestream, Sean chats with Lucky Yates from FX’s Archer, musician/composer Brian Lowdermilk, and ATC’s Costume Shop Manager Mary Woll about the things they love and whats on their mind right now. Enjoy this conversation that covers everything from fond memories of starting an improv troupe, writing songs about everyday gratitude, and making masks to donate to hospitals!

Episode 4: Gender Queerness and Gender Identity in Theatre

Join us for this conversation between a few of our ATCteen young artists and professional ATC artists on gender queerness, gender identity and being TGNC and a theatre artist. We cover some of the challenges TGNC artists face, how theatre needs to evolve to be more inclusive and pursue liberation for disenfranchised communities, and why representation matters to us.

Episode 3: A Conversation with Chris D’Arienzo on Jukebox Musicals, Rock of Ages, and ATC

Sean Daniels, Arizona Theatre Company Artistic Director, talks with playwright Chris D’Arienzo.


Episode 2: Representation Matters – The Making of Sueños: Our American Musical

Sean Daniels, Arizona Theatre Company Artistic Director, talks with Jesse Sanchez and Jason Hurtado about representation, music and the making of a new musical.

Episode 1: A Conversation with the Cast of The Legend of Georgia McBride

Welcome to Hang & Focus. In this show we will celebrate the conversations, people and art that lights us up. We were so excited about our production of The Legend of Georgia McBride but due to COVID-19 and the need to socially distance, we postponed the show until the 2021-2022 Season. However, we did have just enough time to do an amazing Opening/Closing night and record this conversation with the cast.


You can visit our podcast resources page here.