Dani Oliver

Dani Oliver

Dani is the Editor of @ This Stage Magazine. She is an award-winning poet (Candace Silverman Memorial Scholarship, Virginia Middleton Creative Writing Award), theatre director, and journalist. She was previously the Editor of Daily BR!NK (dailybrink.com), and she holds a bachelor's degree in English and theatre from the University of Southern California, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is a proud member of the LA poetry collective, the WOMEN group, a Kahn Fellow, and an avid yogi. Find her on Twitter @DaniOliver.

The Top @ This Stage Stories of 2015

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Well, here we are. Six months into publication, and at the end of another year. And it has been a year, hasn’t it? (Oy.)

We’re very proud of the content that we’ve pushed out over this past half-year, and we’re chomping at the bit to gear up for even more in 2016; @ This Stage is just getting started.

We’re going on a brief pause over the holidays after today’s post, but we’ll be back to publishing on January 4, 2016. In the meantime, we thought we’d take a brief look at our most-read stories of 2015.

Special thanks to: Bill Bordy, without whom this publication wouldn’t be possible; our copy editor, Lynne Heffley; the staff and board of LA STAGE Alliance; and all our contributors thus far.

And Happy Holidays, and New Year, to all our readers.

1. Disability in Theater: What’s Taking So Long? (by Julianne Tveten)

The top story of our first six months came out of a conversation we had at the LA STAGE Alliance offices one day about Ali Stroker. Ali, part of the ensemble of the Deaf West-gone-Wallis-gone-Broadway production of Spring Awakening, made headlines in September when she became the first person who uses a wheelchair to be cast in a Broadway show. Like the rest of the community, we were thrilled… but we were also baffled. How on earth hadn’t this happened before? It took until 2015 to hit this milestone? We wanted to find out more about the progress being made (and lack thereof) for theatre artists with disabilities, so we sent Julianne Tveten to investigate.

2. Sacred Fools Moves to the Elephant (by Julio Martinez)

We had some of our heaviest traffic of the year just last week when we were lucky enough to announce a significant piece of news for the LA theatre community — Sacred Fools’ venue change. We’d been hearing whispers for a while, but were tickled to find out from Bruno Oliver that the Fools were finishing up the paperwork to secure the recently-shuttered Elephant. Julio Martinez grabbed the scoop for us, and talked to some of the key players at Sacred Fools about the move.

3. Artist Profile: Matthew Lillard (photography by Peter Konerko)

When we launched @ This Stage, we knew that we wanted to find a way to showcase the variety of talent in this city through Q&A features with local artists — what was missing was the visual element we were looking for to tie them all together. So when I sat down with photographer Peter Konerko, I was delighted to find that he had a creative vision that would capture these unique individuals in a clean, cohesive, and just plain stunning way. Peter’s been a dream partner for us, and we’re excited to keep building our artist profile gallery on the site. This particular profile of Matthew Lillard reveals more about him than you may have known before; not just a TV and film pro, Matthew is actively engaged with the LA theatre scene, and even brought a local production overseas to Edinburgh’s Fringe this year.

4. Misunderstanding Chinglish in the Best Way Possible (by Hayley Huntley)

Hayley Huntley pitched her Fixated column to me in first few months of publication. The initial framework (and what has become the backbone of her essays) was to focus on the moments at the theatre that have us dwelling on them afterwards — the moments that won’t leave us, that we argue about at the bar after the show, that inspire us to expand our thinking, that exist in the universe and our lives in ways we weren’t aware of until we experienced them on a stage. This column, which was prompted by a technical glitch in the East West Players production of Chinglish, is all about how we communicate, and what happens to us when there’s a breakdown in this communication. This type of contextual thinking about the performing arts is a perfect example of what we hope to publish on @ This Stage for many years to come.

5. War and Peace. Rebecca Metz, on Actors’ Equity Association and Its Plan for L.A. (by Steven Leigh Morris)

2015, for the LA theatrical community, will be known eternally as the beginning of the Equity/99-Seat Wars, Part Deux; there’s no tiptoeing around that. One of the most outspoken voices in our community this year was journalist (and Stage Raw founder) Steven Leigh Morris. While his monthly Spokes & Mirrors column is typically dedicated to contextualizing work on local stages within a greater artistic landscape, this particular piece is dedicated to the Equity tumult. In it, Steven interviews another champion of LA theatre, Rebecca Metz, about what’s to come. It’s also worth mentioning that, since this column was published, Steven has become the new Executive Director of LA STAGE Alliance and, consequently, my boss. (Hi, boss.) Steven will continue writing for us, and will be sharing the steps LA STAGE Alliance will be taking in the upcoming year to serve our creative community.

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