Backstage @ Platt House

About the show

Backstage @ Platt House is an interview series from Penn’s hub for the student performing arts. Tune in as our guests share, document, and celebrate the performing arts at Penn, in Philly, and in Penn’s homes around the world.

Listen to the latest episodes below!

Season 2: Performing Arts in the Pandemic

C’22 theatremaker and founder of the Performing Arts in the Pandemic project, Jaden Cloobeck, invites students and staff to document their experience making virtual and socially-distanced art in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

An interview with our co-host, Evan Bean, rounds out this season of stories about the Performing Arts in the Pandemic! Hear about how his a cappella group, The Pennchants, has pulled together as artists and as friends to make music through their screens. Find the Pennchants on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @thepennchants, and don’t forget to check out their music on Youtube and on pennchants.com!
Find Evan Bean on Facebook and on Instagram @evan.beanstalk, and follow our other co-host and founder of the project, Jaden Cloobeck, on Instagram @jadencloo

Adam Rose, Charlotte Cecarelli, Jenna Pollack, and Laila Norford led Penn’s bandos through a virtual semester of remote recording, parking garage rehearsals, and non-stop editing on the journey to releasing their new album! Follow the Penn Band on Twitter and Instagram @pennband and find them on Facebook as University of Pennsylvania Band. Their new album, The Penn Band Breaks… The Internet! is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and anywhere you listen to music. Read more about them at pennband.net.

For this episode, Jaden logged in to chat with John McInerney, Chloe Reison, and Tamara Suber of the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation. Listen in on their conversation about how their team has worked to uplift Penn and West Philly artists through arts promotion and grantmaking! Read more about the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation at www.sachsarts.org, and keep tabs on their grants and programming via Facebook and Instagram @sachsartsphilly.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts generated a flurry of safely virtual and distanced plans, programs, and performances! Find out how they did it with our latest guest, Caroline Leipf, who serves as the Annenberg Center’s Assistant Director for Education & Engagement. Find the Annenberg Center on Facebook,Instagram, and Twitter @annenbergcenter, and on their website at annenbergcenter.org – and if you’re a current student, consider applying for a position their Student Advisory Council! 

Introducing two new voices on this episode of the Performing Arts in the Pandemic series! Vasant Iyer sits down with our new co-host, Evan Bean, to talk about how Penn’s South Asian Fusion group has adapted to new ways of making music together over the last year. Find Penn Sargam on Facebook and on Instagram @pennsargam.

Not only have Marina Dauer and Jake Milner led their groups, Penn Sirens and Penn Glee Club, through the pandemic – they’ve also fulfilled a years-in-the-making merger, making the Penn Glee Club fully gender-inclusive for the first time in its 159-year history! Read their interview with Penn Today. Find Penn Sirens on Instagram @pennsirens and at www.pennsirens.com, and check out the Glee Club @penngleeclub and at www.penngleeclub.com.

Jaden gets the scoop from four members of the past year’s Performing Arts Council Executive board, who navigated uncharted territory as student leaders guiding the performing arts community through the pandemic. Find Adam First, Ayaka Shimada, Connor Beard, and Hannah Paquet on Facebook or on Instagram @adamdfirst (and adamfirstdesign.com!), @ayakashimada_, @connor.beard, and @hannahpaquet. Also check out the other two members of this PAC-Exec Committee, Hannah Lottenberg and Henry Platt, @hannahlottenberg and @henryjplatt! To share your own journey on our podcast or document your experience in other ways, contact our team at backstageatplatthouse@gmail.com.

Jadel Contreras reflects on the past year of Latin dance and a cappella with warmth and gratitude – a reminder of how lucky we are to have such a strong performing arts community at Penn. Find Jadel on Facebook and Instagram @jadel.c! Follow Onda Latina on Facebook and Instagram @_ondalatina, and check out Counterparts as well on Facebook and Instagram @penncounterparts.

Five guests in one episode! We packed Administrative Coordinator Sara Outing, PAC Shop Technical Advisor Amanda Labonte, Director Laurie McCall, Associate Director Megan Edelman, and Program Coordinator James Grant all log onto the same interview to reflect on the pivots, victories, and challenges that they faced as a team.

Sabrina de Brito banters with host Jaden Cloobeck about virtual improv and the art of comedy podcasting! Check out Without A Net’s website (complete with bears and geese), follow them on Facebook and Instagram @upenn_withoutanet, and find their podcast, Without A Show, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, that Amazon one, and everywhere else you find podcasts.

Sophomore Tommy Christaldi gives us the scoop on theatrical producing and acting in a digital, and distanced year at Penn. Follow Tommy on Facebook and on Instagram @tommychristaldi!

Our student host, Jaden Cloobeck, introduces a new initiative for Season 2: Performing Arts in the Pandemic! To share your journey on the podcast or document your experience in other ways, contact our team at backstageatplatthouse@gmail.com. Find Jaden on Facebook and on Instagram @jadencloo.

Season 1: Performing Arts Alumni

Penn students in the performing arts interview friends and alumni who have stayed in Philadelphia to pursue their creative careers.

Collaborators and performing arts alumni Chelsea Cylinder, Danie Moore, and Hannah Spear are just days away from the premiere of a new digital piece! Crossover: A New Pop Musical runs September 24 – September 26 as part of the 2020 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Current students at the University of Pennsylvania can enter our lottery to snag free tickets! For more about the show and to purchase tickets, visit FringeArts.com/Crossover. Check out the producing company, Green Light Group Productions, and find all of our alumni online! Follow Danie on Instagram @Danie.Moore, visit Chelsea on Instagram at @cecylinder and on ChelseaCylinder.com, and keep an eye out for Hannah’s ongoing project with the Women’s Theatre Festival.

Theatre artists Ben Behrend and Logan Schulman join me on the internet to talk about the Philadelphia theatre scene, art and grief in the age of COVID, and their newest collaboration coming to screens near you! Their new virtual show, Welcome to the Shiva House,  runs September 10 – September 27 as part of the 2020 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Tickets are free! For more information and for tickets, visit FringeArts.com/Welcome-to-the-Shiva-House. You can find Ben online at benjaminbehrend.com, and Logan at loganschulman.net.

Music educator, multi-instrumentalist, theatre maker, dramaturg, and singer Gilberto Vega shares his journey (casi una telenovela) from Penn to the present, including several important stops to explain how he got backstage at Hamilton, why we need a Latinx version of The Wiz, and – why is Miley Cyrus attacking Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with a wrecking ball?? Check out Gil’s bilingual music education and outreach work with POPS In Schools @ Home, and find him on Twitter and Instagram as @soygilbertico.

Director of Communications by day, comedian and Co-producer of The Moth StorySLAM by night –  Paul Richards is the man behind the mask! In May, Paul sat down with Jaden to recap his journey, from writing and editing for the DP to finding his footing on stage as a comedian and storyteller. Also featuring a peek backstage at some Zoom improv woes, and his hopes for the performing arts on the other side of COVID!
Check out his comedy team, Shore Fire, as well as The Moth on Facebook as The Moth Philadelphia. And follow Paul (and his dogs) on Instagram as @PaulRichards3!

Producer, actress, dancer, teaching artist, and arts administrator Grayce Hoffman maps our her rollercoaster ride through Philly’s Penn network, from apprenticeships to the founding of Paper Doll Ensemble, as well as an important expose on her all-time favorite seasons of The Bachelor. Find Grayce on Facebook as Grayce Hoffman Artist and on Instagram, @ladygrayce – and follow her pup on Tik Tok and Instagram @PepperRosePuppy!
Looking for theatre, film, or arts and culture jobs? Check out the job banks from Theatre Philadelphia, The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and Film.org. You can also participate in or watch the Going Viral Festival on Facebook, including performances from Grayce
(and pieces directed by Claris Park, from Episode 6)!

Actress, director, playwright, arts administrator, and future law school student Claris Park took a break from virtual play directing to chat with us about how they wound up in their first theatre class, working in the Philly theatre scene, and the value of finding a creative home. Find her on Instagram at @ClarisParkis, and while you’re at it, follow PAPA on Facebook and Instagram @PhillyAsianPerformingArtists, as well as Spiral Q Puppet Theatre: @SpiralQ on both. Tune in to the Going Viral Festival on Facebook, and keep an eye out (and fingers crossed) for a remount of Esther Choi and the Fish that Drowned!
Read about and donate to the Philadelphia artist relief fund here:
Theatre Philadelphia Emergency Relief.

Peter Lu, C’21, composed two short tunes and submitted them for our theme song contest earlier this month! We loved our pick, Retro Climb, but you’ve only heard a snippet of the full jam in our regular intro and outro.
This time, grab some headphones and enjoy the full tracks of Retro Climb and Subtle Bug.

Tap dancer, choreographer, and jazz composer Pamela Hetherington takes it from the top as she retraces her journey into dance, through Penn (with a special stop at Soundworks), from street hoofing to jazz, and to the founding Take It Away Dance and Sound Space Performing Arts right here in Philly. Find her online at SoundSpacePhilly.net and on Instagram @SoundSpaceDance, and stay up to date with chapter releases of her forthcoming book on Facebook and on her website, PamelaHetherington.net.

Content warning: This conversation contains brief mentions of child abuse and sexual assault. Listener discretion is advised.
Composer, musician, actress, and amateur archaeologist Melissa Dunphy visits us to talk shop about classical music, how to pursue all of your dream career(s), and a little dirt on the history of her own neighborhood in Old City Philadelphia. Find Melissa online as mormolyke, and listen to The Boghouse podcast with her co-adventurer and husband Matt on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeartRADIO, or Google Play.

Acrobat-actor-dancer-director-producer Ben Grinberg, with fellow dancer (and -berg) Hannah, trace Ben’s artistic career and all the hurdles, hoops, and leaps of faith along the way. Find Ben’s company on Facebook as AlmanacDCT and on Instagram: @Almanac_US.

Podcast producer and Wharton’s Associate Director of Student Life, Aman Goyal, takes us on a tour of his winding path from student life to Student Life at Penn, and how a love for storytelling led him to his side gig as Philly’s regional producer for The Moth. Find The Moth on Facebook as The Moth Philadelphia, and check out his content for Wharton Undergrad on Instagram: @whartonugr.

Actress and singer Annie Fang reunites with an old friend to reminisce about Penn theatre, share career advice, and give one million shout-outs. Find Annie on Facebook as Annie.Fang.1485 and on Instagram @thefatpecan. Also, check out this past project at the Icebox Project Space on Instagram: @Killjoys_Kastle_Philly.

Introducing a new podcast from our little corner of the University of Pennsylvania! This season, we’re broadcasting conversations with local alumni at all stages in their journeys. This series of interviews, hosted by current students in the performing arts, will tell you what it’s like to be forge an arts career in the city of brotherly love.
In this episode: Amanda Labonte, James Grant, Laurie McCall, Megan Edelman, and Sara Outing.
View Episode 0 Show Notes and Transcript

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