Backstage Buzz

Director of the McAninch Arts Center, Diana Martinez, takes you behind the scenes for an inside look at upcoming shows, events and more.

Backstage Buzz is currently airing on local WDCB-TV, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11a & 7p and Sundays at 1:30p & 9:30p.

Glen Ellyn, IL (Comcast) Ch. 18
Glen Ellyn, IL (WOW) Ch. 24
Wheaton, IL (Comcast) Ch. 99
Naperville, IL (WOW) Ch. 24

Season 4: Episode 8 – Frida, Frida, Frida!

It’s all about Frida, Frida, Frida! We’re joined by a few guests who are just as excited as we are and can’t wait to share what they’ll have to offer during the Frida Kahlo exhibition this summer…

  • Chief Curator at the National Museum of Mexican Art, Cesareo Moreno gives us the scoop on Frida: Her Photos, an exhibit that will be held at the NMMA in Chicago concurrently with the Frida Kahlo exhibition is at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art. He goes into detail on why Frida’s photographs are significant and how the two exhibits complement each other. Cesareo also gives a few tips on how to make the most of the experience while in the culturally rich Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago.
  • Executive Directors of the Wheaton and Glen Ellyn Chambers of Commerce, Kerry Obrien and Dawn Smith each share their enthusiasm for an array of events being held in Wheaton and Glen Ellyn, all with a Frida theme. They tell Diana about the many opportunities for the community to get involved during the “Year of Frida,” and how the exhibit experience doesn’t end at the museum. Each of the directors also provide insider tips on travel and lodging accommodations.

Season 4: Episode 7 – COD Theater, COD Jazz and Frida Gardens

We’re joined by a couple of old friends, and a couple new…

  • College of DuPage Theater Directors and Instructors, Amelia Barrett and Connie Canaday Howard stop by to talk about their upcoming college theater productions. Amelia is directing “Scenes from an Execution” and paints a picture of the story, hinting at some of the moral conflicts a Renaissance-era artist will have to overcome. Connie is directing “Clue: On Stage,” based on the board game turned cult classic movie. She shares the creativity and ingenuity behind their set design, and how they’ll be encompassing scenes throughout the mansion on a smaller stage.
  • COD Director of Jazz Ensembles, Matt Shevitz, is new to College of DuPage and expresses his excitement over his first few weeks. He shares experiences as a jazz musician, playing just about everywhere around the Chicagoland area and at a few highly attended festivals. Matt also lets us in on his plans for the jazz ensembles at COD and how guest artists will play a role in future concerts.
  • Ball Horticultural Designer, Rachel Prescott is designing the community garden for the highly anticipated Frida Kahlo exhibition coming to the MAC in June of 2020. Rachel tells Diana about the horticulture company and why they’re so excited to be working on this project. She describes the research that has become a fulcrum of their design process, and how their master arrangements will be seen as a part of the exhibit.

Season 4: Episode 6 – Frida, Flicks, & The Merry Widow

We’re kicking off the new year with a few familiar faces…

  • Karen and Janie enthusiastically discuss the upcoming “For the Love of Frida Gala.” They tell Diana about this Valentine’s Day opportunity for a hot date night while giving to the community, with a portion of proceeds going towards the upcoming art exhibition. The pair also share their excitement for the appearance of a Chicago-famous, award-winning chef who will be stopping by each table for a brief chat.
  • Janey has a brand new list of FREE Global Flicks screenings, coming soon to the MAC! She gives a brief synopsis of each and talks about their importance in the film community, spanning the entire globe. She also gives a few tips to filmgoers on how to make the most of these enjoyable interactive screenings.
  • Kirk talks to Diana about his all-time favorite operetta, which New Phil will be playing at the MAC this February. He tells the story of “The Merry Widow” and shares a few behind-the-scenes details on how they’re preparing for this hilarious comedy, including a sneak peek at some of the actors’ costumes. Kirk also previews a 1930’s movie based on the operetta with similar themes.

Season 4: Episode 5 – Let’s Have Some Cake and Hiplet Together

  • On this episode of Backstage Buzz, we welcome back Buffalo Theatre Ensemble Director Steve Scott. Steve continues to build on his directing tenure with BTE as he takes on “The Cake,” a modern love story with contentious themes of faith, family, and food. He gives Diana a brief synopsis and hints at how the audience will find the story both funny and inspiring. The pair go on to discuss the controversy of the play and why they feel its important to talk about the issues portrayed in this dramedy.
  • Also joining the program is Homer Hans Bryant, the creator and founder of the Chicago dance group called Hiplet™. Hiplet™ (pronounced hip-lay) is a ballet group that combines classical pointe technique with hip-hop and urban dance styles. Homer talks with Diana about his history of studying dance world-wide and how that transformed into teaching his students focus and discipline. He also explains Hiplet™ in detail and what the dancers go through to become a member of this prestigious group.

Season 4: Episode 4 – The Second City and Salt Creek Ballet’s The Nutcracker

We welcome a couple of new guests, who are raving about their shows coming to the MAC this winter.

  • Meghan is a member of The Second City and will be part of the upcoming performance of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Sweater.” She talks with Diana about writing skits for the famed comedy group, along with the improvisation process writers and actors use to create a hilarious show for the audience. Meghan also talks about her experience while touring for Second City on a cruise line.
  • Salt Creek Ballet’s Artistic Director Sergey Kozadayev introduces a stunning new production of The Nutcracker, performed by the critically acclaimed Salt Creek Ballet. Sergey talks about the importance of tradition in this holiday classic, and how this version holds true to the essence of Hoffmann’s original story. Then, he shares a surprise detail about one of the guest principal dancers who will be performing at the MAC.

Season 4: Episode 3 – The College of Arts Dupage

  • We welcome back a few Backstage Buzz favorites, including Professor of Theater and Director, Connie Canaday Howard. Connie chats with Diana about College Theater’s upcoming performance of a Shakespeare classic, which shan’t be named out loud to avoid almost certain disaster. The pair discuss the intricacies of the historic characters in “The Scottish Play” and bring light to what actors are doing in preparation to take on such complex roles.
  • Director of Arts DuPage, Debbie Venezia talks about the many opportunities to engage with local plays, concerts, and exhibits throughout October, including special offers and behind-the-scenes discussions with directors, artists, and creators.
  • Professor of Music, Lee Kesselman talks about this semester’s amazing lineup for what has become a weekly staple for many at the MAC, Music Fridays at Noon.

Season 4: Episode 2 – Elementary! My Dear Watson, and Frida too

  • Buffalo Theatre Ensemble Director Ron May talks with Diana about the upcoming play, Holmes and Watson, a mystery that throws audiences off the trail at every imaginable turn. The pair chat about Ron’s debut with BTE and why he chose this play as his first directing piece in his home town. They also give you a few hints that might be helpful to solving the case when seeing this edge-of-your-seat thriller.
  • In celebration of the Frida Kahlo exhibit coming in 2020, and among a plethora of events, programming, and artwork being displayed throughout the year, Kim has constructed a must-see 3D printed sculpture, and costume to match. Diana talks with her about the process of designing and creating the sculpture as well as where and when you’ll be able to view it in person.

Season 4: Episode 1 – Art at Frida Fest & New Phil LIVE

  • Artist, Illustrator and Author, Mike Venezia stops by Backstage Buzz to share his excitement for the upcoming Frida Fest, as well as the interactive artwork he’ll be providing for children. He goes further to talk about his illustrations and artistic visions that won’t only be seen during the event, but also in the newly renovated gallery during the Frida Kahlo exhibit.
  • Then, Maestro Kirk Muspratt takes the stage with the New Philharmonic Orchestra for the third year in a row! College of DuPage and the McAninch Arts Center aired an entire New Philharmonic Orchestra concert LIVE on WDCB-TV and online with their YouTube and Facebook pages. now, on Backstage Buzz, the maestro leads his musicians as they expertly provide their extraordinary sound in a few of our favorite tunes from this memorable evening.

Season 3: Episode 11 – Summer Fun in DuPage

  • College Theater and BTE Artistic Director Connie Canaday Howard chats with Diana about the College Theater summer offering, Godspell, a timeless tale of friendship, loyalty, and love. Then the pair continue to talk about the ambitious Buffalo Theatre Ensemble’s 2019-2020 season coming to the MAC this fall.
  • Director of Arts DuPage, Debbie Venezia drops by to highlight the ample and diverse amount of art forms that can be enjoyed all around DuPage County this summer.  She and Diana discuss the importance of art in the community and how amazing it is to have access to these events, especially with most being free to the public.
  • New Philharmonic Maestro Kirk Musprattjoins us to talk everything New Philharmonic coming to the MAC. From the free summer pops concert at the Lakeside Pavilion, to each show you can catch throughout the year, Diana and Kirk share their excitement for what is looking to be one excellent season.

Season 3: Episode 10 – Frida Kahlo. It’s Getting Closer!

  • Diana sits down with Cleve Carney Director and Curator, Justin Witte, to discuss an excellent opportunity granted to the gallery. The world famous artwork of Frida Kahlo will be on display in Summer 2020! The two share their excitement for this artist and discuss the energy at a press conference and kickoff party held at the MAC.
  • Hosting over 200 visitors, the event publicly announced the touring art exhibit will be at the Cleve Carney and kicked off two years of performance and educational programming based on the collection. Diana also shares clips highlighting the event, including a preview of the artwork and a special performance from Ballet Folklórico Quetzalcoatl.

Season 3: Episode 9 – Fashion, Theater, and Motion Pictures

  • Diana talks with Eva Stevens, COD’s Fashion Studies Program Coordinator about a replica of a dress once worn by the iconic and world-famous artist, Frida Kahlo, which was designed and threaded from scratch. They discuss the complicated work and efforts she and her students put into creating this dress, along with how rewarding it was to display at a press event that announced the Frida Kahlo exhibit, coming in 2020.
  • Last year Steve Scott took on directing BTE’s wonderful production of Outside Mullingar, and now he’s back again to direct what is sure to be a great performance, Miracle on South Division Street. He talks about his process for pacing and comedic timing, and then gives a little insight about the characters and the hysterical struggles they endure throughout the show.
  • We introduce you to two of COD’s Motion Picture Television students, Abbas Hussain and Mirza Annas. Every year in May, the Motion Picture Television Program (MPTV) hosts an Animation Night, where students are able to premiere their hard work at a film fest with their peers. Abbas and Mirza talk with Diana about their different styles of animation and preview their festival videos, still in progress.

Season 3: Episode 7 – Music, Drama and Laughter

  • College of DuPage’s resident jazz expert and WDCB station manager, Dan Bindert, returns to the show and chats with Diana about the upcoming pledge drive taking place at several bars and restaurants in Oak Park this spring. Dan also talks about jazz performers that fill the year’s lineup, and gives us a little insight about who his favorite act is and why.
  • Buffalo Theatre Ensemble director, Kurt Naebig joins us to discuss BTE’s upcoming show, Defiance, and lets us in on some of the moral dilemmas that characters may be faced with. Then he gives us a glimpse at the plays comedic nature and hints at some questionable choices made by the leads.
  • Connie Canaday Howard is back to give us the latest on College Theater. Connie talks about her students’ progress in preparing for the upcoming comical play, The Foreigner. She converses with Diana about the play’s characters and plot, as well as key themes that come out through he students’ relatability to the roles they are portraying.

Season 3: Episode 8 – College Theater and a Trio of Talent

  • Amelia chats with Diana about the upcoming student performance of George Orwell’s 1984, providing background on the play and a synopsis of the story set in a dystopian future. The two go further into what it takes to connect current students to the themes and history of this novel turned stage play, published in 1949.
  • Special guests, Miray McElroy, Haley Mae Mott, & Morgan Mott make their first appearance on Backstage Buzz. Last year, at the MAC’s annual student talent show, the talented trio of artists wowed the crowd, and took home 2nd place. Diana talks with them about how they got started singing together and what their experience was like with the talent show as well as their follow-up performance at the Lakeside Pavilion. Then, the three give us a brief sampling of their entrancing vocals in an acapella rendition of Adele’s “Someone Like You.”

Season 3: Episode 7 – Music, Drama and Laughter

  • College of DuPage’s resident jazz expert and WDCB station manager, Dan Bindert, returns to the show and chats with Diana about the upcoming pledge drive taking place at several bars and restaurants in Oak Park this spring. Dan also talks about jazz performers that fill the year’s lineup, and gives us a little insight about who his favorite act is and why.
  • Buffalo Theatre Ensemble director, Kurt Naebig joins us to discuss BTE’s upcoming show, Defiance, and lets us in on some of the moral dilemmas that characters may be faced with. Then he gives us a glimpse at the plays comedic nature and hints at some questionable choices made by the leads.
  • Connie Canaday Howard is back to give us the latest on College Theater. Connie talks about her students’ progress in preparing for the upcoming comical play, The Foreigner. She converses with Diana about the play’s characters and plot, as well as key themes that come out through he students’ relatability to the roles they are portraying.

Season 3: Episode 6 – Sights and Sounds of the New Year

  • Heena Patel (co-creator and producer of Bollywood Boulevard) reflects on her success while discussing her popular stage play, as well as what classic Hindi cinema inspirations played a role. She dives into what motivated her to create a show that not only shows the iconic, colorful dances of Bollywood, but also emphasizes the great history of the genre.
  • Janey Sarther (Coordinator of Education & Engagement at the MAC) tells Diana about her excitement for the upcoming free Global Flicks series that begins in February. The two chat about their favorite films screened this year and why the post-viewing discussions makes this such an engaging event.
  • Lisa Kristina (Choral Director, Accompanist, and Vocal Coach) is an artist of many talents, traveling internationally to perform as a vocalist and musician. She is currently directing and coaching the chorus for the MAC’s resident orchestra. Lisa talks about her multifaceted role with New Philharmonic and how she is helping the orchestra prepare for their upcoming operetta, Die Fledermaus!

Season 3: Episode 5 – Frida Kahlo is Coming to the Cleve Carney Gallery!

  • Diana sits down with Cleve Carney Director and Curator, Justin Witte, to discuss an excellent opportunity granted to the gallery. The world famous artwork of Frida Kahlo will be on display in June of 2020! The two share their excitement for this artist and discuss the energy at a press conference and kickoff party held at the MAC.
  • Hosting over 200 visitors, the event publicly announced the touring art exhibit will be at the Cleve Carney and kicked off two years of performance and educational programming based on the collection. Diana also shares clips highlighting the event, including a preview of the artwork and a special performance from Ballet Folklórico Quetzalcoatl.For more information, please visit: Frida2020.com

Season 3: Episode 4 – Theatre and Innovation

  • Learn how Innovation DuPage might be of use to you with Managing Director, Travis Linderman. He describes what Innovation DuPage is and how they hope to impact innovators and the art scene throughout the DuPage community. The newly formed incubator is promoting economic growth and job creation, guiding entrepreneurs of all ages as they build their startups and small businesses
  • Meet Bob Cratchit and Ebenezer Scrooge, or at least the men portraying them… Nathan Dittemore and Trever Frueh discuss their immersion into the iconic characters for our biannual holiday tradition, College Theater’s A Christmas Carol.
  • Hear from globetrotting brass musician and MAC Chat speaker, Kevin Harrison… Kevin chats about the various roles he fills as an educator and musician, performing with brass groups, symphonies, and orchestras around the world, including College of DuPage’s beloved New Philharmonic. They dive into what Canadian Brass is really all about and how they break the barrier between musician and audience.

Season 3: Episode 3 – The Finer Things

  • Diana Martinez sits down with Kirk Muspratt, the Music Director and Conductor of College of DuPage’s New Philharmonic Orchestra. Maestro Muspratt discusses the upcoming classical performance featuring guest cellist Richard Hirschl from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
  • Then, Diana talks with the Supervisor of Patron Services at the MAC, Tom Murray, who entices lovers of the fine arts with a sampling of the finer things. Tom explains how to enhance your visit to the McAninch Arts Center by adding a VIP experience to select performances.

Season 3: Episode 2 – Season Kick-Off

  • The Director of Arts DuPage, Debbie Venezia drops by to share her passion for the arts, the organization’s commitment to supporting local arts and culture and fills us in on the details for the first annual Arts DuPage Month this October.
  • Then, Janey Sarther, The Coordinator of Education and Engagement at the MAC, previews a world Premiere coming to the McAninch Arts Center this Fall—The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation – Live! Just one of the many educational events coming to the MAC this year, this fun for the whole family program showcases world-changing innovations and innovators, with a focus on major turning points of the past and present in the fields of science, engineering, math, the environment and social justice.
  • Actor and Buffalo Theatre Ensemble member, Robert Bailey discusses his roles in the upcoming production of The Dingdong or How the French Kiss. This fast-paced update to a classic French farce features five actors taking on 13 roles in one hilarious evening of debauchery gone awry in Paris.
  • Finally, Ben Nadel, the Associate Conductor for College of DuPage’s New Philharmonic Orchestra reveals some of the important behind the scenes responsibilities and work that goes into perfecting each performance. Ben also tells us what to expect for the upcoming concert, Show Boat and Show Tunes.

Season 3: Episode 1 – LIVE at the New Philharmonic Summer Concert

We bring you a very special episode, recorded LIVE at the MAC’s FREE Summer Series with College of DuPage’s New Philharmonic Orchestra. This episode features preview performances from our extraordinarily talented musicians, and conversations with…

    • The maestro himself, Kirk Muspratt, describes his reaction to being named the 2018 Conductor of the Year. Then, he previews his favorite pieces from the evening’s performance and gives us a glimpse at what’s to come for the 2018 Illinois Orchestra of the Year.
    • Next up, Executive Director of the College of DuPage Foundation, Karen Kuhn talks about a new grant awarded to New Philharmonic Orchestra from the DuPage Foundation, matching all donations to New Philharmonic, dollar for dollar, up to $30,000.
    • And finally, a 2018 Apollo Live finalist, COD Alumni, singer, and future superstar, Caryna Martinez-Rios tells us about her life growing up singing in the mirror and performing, as well as how support from her family keeps her motivated. Then, see her perform a couple of choice songs live on stage!