Podcast Episode 138- Kwame Kwei-Armah

From singer to songwriter to actor to award-winning playwright to Artistic Director, Kwame Kwei-Armah has done just about everything an artist can do in the theater already.  And, given the accolades already bestowed on him (he’s been produced at the National, and in short order, he’ll assume the reins of the Young Vic in London), he’s done it all at a super high level.

But in my 30-minute podcast with him, I got the feeling that he was just getting started and that there was a helluva lot more he was going to do . . . and that the theater would be better off for it.

Kwame is wrapping up his post as the Artistic Director of Center Stage in Baltimore, where he has had a massive effect on the institution, the staff, and the community . . . but as you’ll hear, as most great leaders do, Kwame focuses on what he learned from his time as one of the few black Artistic Directors in the country, and how it’ll make him a better artist in the future.

Listen in to hear Kwame chat about his experience in Baltimore, his upcoming gig, as well as . . .

  • Why a lack of jobs for him and his actor friends made him pick up a pen and write, even though he had never written a play before.
  • How a mentor helped give him his start . . . and why we ALL need a mentor!
  • Why he doubled down on studying and mastering writing AFTER he had a hit . . . (Most people would sit back and surf on their early success, but not Kwame.)
  • How a political point influences all his writing . . . and then why he hides it.
  • What the @#$% can we ALL do about diversity.

The only thing that really upset me about this podcast . . . is that Kwame is leaving the US to go back to the UK.

We’re going to miss him.

So get him while you can and listen in!

Click here for the link to my podcast with Kwame!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.