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State of Wonder: March 21 - Guest Curator Dámaso Rodriguez


This week, we take you behind-the-scenes at one of the city’s most dynamic theaters, Artists Repertory Theatre, with a show recorded in front of a live audience on the Alder Stage.

Damaso Rodriguez and April Baer on stage with the band Bourbon Jockey at Artists Repertory Theatre during our live recording

Damaso Rodriguez and April Baer on stage with the band Bourbon Jockey at Artists Repertory Theatre during our live recording

Alan Sylvestre / OPB

The longest-running company in town has hit a creative artery. Under the artistic direction of Dámaso Rodriguez, the theater has both expanded its resident artist company from five people to more than 20 and opened its doors to eight other performing organizations, from Profile Theatre and Hand2Mouth to Portland Revels and the Risk/Reward Festival.

And at the center of what everyone’s now calling “The ArtsHub” is Rodriguez. He is on a mission, and he lays it out for us this hour as guest curator.

  • 0:00 - Rodriguez moved to Portland two years ago from Los Angeles, where he co-founded Furious Theatre Company and worked as associate artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse. He tells us about his original plans to grow Artists Rep’s resident artists company — and how it’s going thus far.
  • 8:39 - Musical interlude by the band Bourbon Jockey
  • 10:00 - So much is going on in the ArtsHub everyday, that we wanted to dive in to see what a day-in-the-life of the building is like. So we sent three producers to travel from dress rehearsals to the buzzing scene shop. We descended into “The Dungeon” in search of a dragon costume, before joining a roomful of singing and dancing teenagers.  The result is this behind-the-scenes radio documentary. Needless to say, there wasn’t a quiet minute. Also, watch our slide show.
  • 30:09 - We ask Rodriguez what he was thinking inviting so many organizations under one roof (because it seems just a little crazy) and whether it’s a model for nonprofits moving forward.
  • 33:22 - Musical interlude from Bourbon Jockey
  • 35:04 - Three working actors take us through what it takes to make a living, and Rodriguez tells us how he hopes the resident artists program might change things.
  • 44:54 - Finally, we check in with award-winning playwright Andrea Stolowitz, who’s currently in Berlin, and Rodriguez tells us about Artists Rep’s ambitious program to commission eight new plays. Hear our full interview with Stolowitz here.

If you want to learn more about Rodriguez, you can listen to our preview interview with him.

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