The Backdrop Podcast Hosted by Nella Vera and Kevin Bleyer

The Backdrop


So the show’s a smash.  But why?  And why now?  THE BACKDROP puts theater’s biggest hits and most compelling productions in context — featuring interviews with the creators and cast, punctuated by a punchy, deeply researched dive into the reasons why this particular production is relevant at this particular moment.

Join hosts, Emmy and Writers Guild Award winner Kevin Bleyer (The Daily Show) and producer Nella Vera for this thoughtful mix of historical scene-setting and related current events — the full backdrop.  Oh, and it’s also funny.




The Backdrop Episode 6 Will Arbery

Episode 6: WILL ARBERY

"The war is coming, dude.” So says a central character in one of the most talked about plays of the year. Is she right? Could be, who knows. But if a civil war returns, Will Arbery is undoubtedly the right playwright to spin our basest impulses into high art. In this “backdrop eavesdrop,” Kevin and ...
The Backdrop Ep5 - Samuel D. Hunter

Episode 5: Samuel D. Hunter

Samuel D. Hunter is the MacArthur genius award-winning playwright who may have started small — as a teenager growing up in Idaho — but has since assembled a deep roster of plays set there. And that’s the point: small towns, all the better to explore big ideas. A Bright New Boise, ...
The Backdrop Episode 4 Harry Townsend's Last Stand


Harry Townsend’s Last Stand is a comedy about what could be tragedy — the decline of a man beyond his prime, and the struggle of a son to connect with his fading father. Written by playwright George Eastman, it hits close to home for Kevin, who interviews — and laughs ...
The Backdrop Podcast hosted by Nella Vera Episode 3


The Play That Goes Wrong is a comedy about a mystery. It was also a huge hit — during its run, it became the longest-running play on Broadway. Kevin has a mystery he needs solved: the mystery of why he has seen it seven times. To solve that whodunnit, Kevin interrogates creator ...
The Backdrop Podcast Episode 2 Waterwell The Courtroom

Episode 2: Waterwell’s THE COURTROOM

Waterwell Theater Company’s latest play, The Courtroom, has no playwright. Or even a theater. But as Waterwell founder (from HBO’s “Succession” and Tony nominee) Arian Moayed and Artistic Director Lee Sunday Evans tell Kevin, that’s the point. They found their inspiration — and their script — in the actual ...
The Backdrop Ep1

Episode 1: August Wilson’s JITNEY

The big open, on all things August Wilson. In a deep dive on August Wilson’s JITNEY, Kevin drills down with Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson and actor Francois Battiste, and visits with Constanza Romero Wilson about her legendary husband's life, legacy, and the future of the Pulitzer Prize-winner's ...

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