Half Hour Podcast: Season Two


“This is your half hour call. Half Hour to places.”

Half Hour, Steppenwolf’s popular podcast, is back for a second season filled with candid conversations featuring some of the most vital personalities in American theatre. Inspired by the most magical amount of time there is in the theatre—the thirty minutes before a show begins—Half Hour makes connections between artists inside and outside of the Steppenwolf family. Released every other week, new episodes are a chance to sit down with personalities—old friends and new. To hear their stories. To learn about their path. And to discover what motivates them to create art.

The second season features conversations with an eclectic mix of practitioners: actors, playwrights, directors, designers, activists, leaders, managers and visionaries.

Half Hour is hosted by ensemble members Cliff Chamberlain, Audrey Francis, James Vincent Meredith, Caroline Neff, and Karen Rodriguez. The show is produced by Patrick Zakem, mixed and edited by Matthew Chapman. Half Hour is always available on our website and on all of your favorite podcast platforms.

Episode 12 – Glenn Davis & Audrey Francis: “Co-Leadership”

In the final episode of Half Hour’s second season, the five hosts look back on two years of insightful, candid and inspiring conversations with Steppenwolf ensemble members, activists and vital voices in the American theatre. Then, Cliff Chamberlain interviews Steppenwolf’s incoming Co-Artistic Directors, Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis, at the very beginning of their tenure.

Interview begins at 17:12. View the transcript.


Episode 11 – Kuumba Lynx: “Reclaiming Joy”

In this inspiring and revealing conversation, Jacinda Bullie and Darius Parker of Kuumba Lynx sit down with Audrey Francis to talk about the vital and empowering work they do with youth across Chicago. Through performances, film screenings, art making workshops, and more, Kuumba Lynx brings a Hip Hop lens to their work of urban artistry and activism. Listen to learn about the philosophy, history and future of one of the most treasured youth centered organizations in the city.

Interview begins at 5:22. View the transcript.


Episode 10 – James Vincent Meredith: “Tear This Off”

In this engaging conversation, Karen Rodriguez sits down with fellow actor, ensemble member and Half Hour host James Vincent Meredith. Join these two friends as they share stories of stage fright, family, laughter, legacy and proving their skeptics wrong by securing a sense of belonging within the Steppenwolf ensemble.

Interview begins at 4:12. View the transcript.


Episode 9 – Gordon Gill: “Collision”

This week, the Half Hour team sits down with Gordon Gill of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, the architects behind the newest additions to Steppenwolf's campus: the Arts and Education Center and a 400-seat Round Theater. Ensemble member James Vincent Meredith leads a fascinating conversation with Gill, exploring the similarities between the seemingly disparate disciplines of architecture and theatre. Listen, too, for a sneak peek into what to expect when the new building opens its doors this fall.

Interview begins at 3:46. View the transcript.


Episode 8 – Leslie Odom Jr.: “I Put Myself In”

This week on Half Hour, acclaimed star of stage and screen Leslie Odom Jr. catches up with his longtime friend, ensemble member Cliff Chamberlain. Odom shares stories from his early career, reflects on his legendary performance as Founding Father Aaron Burr in Hamilton: An American Musical and discusses his recent take on singer Sam Cooke in the film One Night in Miami. This candid and funny conversation offers a glimpse into the perspective of one of contemporary musical theatre's most vital artists. 

This episode of Half Hour is exclusively sponsored by Sidley Austin LLP. Interview begins at 3:45. View the transcript.


Episode 7 – Tina Landau: “What if We Expand?”

In this riveting conversation, Audrey Francis sits down with legendary director and ensemble member Tina Landau who shares insightful glimpses into her unique process of directing, including how she has learned to trust actors to bring all of themselves into rehearsal. The two also discuss the Viewpoints method, Tina’s current projects in development and the seemingly unlikely pairing of Landau’s directing practice and Steppenwolf’s aesthetic. 

Interview begins at 3:32. View the transcript.


Episode 6 – Erin Cook: “Friend to All”

On this episode of Half Hour, Erin Cook, Steppenwolf’s universally beloved company manager of more than 10 years, joins ensemble member Caroline Neff for a lovely and lively conversation. Cook shares stories from her path to Steppenwolf, and she talks about what it is like communicating with and caring for the more than 50 actors, writers and directors that constitute the Steppenwolf ensemble. Plus, Erin reflects on her singular relationships with two of Steppenwolf’s visionary artistic directors: Martha Lavey and Anna D. Shapiro.

Interview begins at 3:14. View the transcript.


Episode 5 – Clint Ramos: “Misfit Toys”

Half Hour welcomes its first designer on the show: Tony Award-winner Clint Ramos. Ensemble member Audrey Francis interviews Ramos, and their conversation largely centers on how Clint aims to transform American theatre to be more equitable and just. The pair also discuss the designer’s process and how Clint balances his twin niches of costume and scenic design. Plus, Ramos shares insights from his childhood watching street theatre in the Philippines.

Interview begins at 2:39. View the transcript.


Episode 4 – Sandra Marquez: “On a Team”

Ensemble member Sandra Marquez sits down with Cliff Chamberlain for this insightful and inspiring conversation. Marquez shares stories from her singular childhood in the Central Valley of California and reflects on her journey in Chicago theatre—and how she hopes to make it easier for the next generation of actors. Plus, Marquez talks about her legendary performances as Clytemnestra, and what it was like to play that single role over the course of four years and three productions.

Interview begins at 3:43. View the transcript.


Episode 3 – Rajiv Joseph: “Creative Cauldron”

Renowned playwright and Steppenwolf ensemble member Rajiv Joseph joins this episode of Half Hour for a conversation with ensemble member Caroline Neff. Joseph shares stories from his time serving in the Peace Corps, and he chats about where he draws inspiration for his plays—and why he’s never dismayed when he wants to scrap a draft and completely start over. Tune in to hear Rajiv talk about working with legendary comedian Robin Williams, and see why he thinks that two-character plays are quite similar to motorcycles.

Interview begins at 3:42. This episode of Half Hour is generously sponsored by Laurie Anne Kladis. View the transcript.


Episode 2 - Amy Morton: “Never What You Think”

Karen Rodriguez hosts this candid interview with esteemed actor, director and ensemble member Amy Morton. Morton shares her favorite (and least favorite) moments on stage and dishes out advice for young actors eager to jumpstart their careers. Hear Amy talk about her path, from growing up as a shy kid with a fantastical imagination to seeing her first Steppenwolf production and, finally, to performing in the theater’s legendary production of August: Osage County 30 years later.

Interview begins at 3:37. This episode of Half Hour is generously sponsored by Michele Kenner. View the transcript.


Episode 1 – Jon Michael Hill: “I Don’t Get Bored”

Half Hour's second season launches with a charming and insightful conversation between longtime friends Jon Michael Hill and James Vincent Meredith. Hill discusses his relationship with music from childhood days performing music routines outside of Six Flags to composing the music for The Brother/Sister Plays and creating his own Hip Hop album in 2021. The conversation also touches on the success he found as a young actor in Chicago, his first humbling experience working within an ensemble dynamic, and his dreams for the future.

Interview begins at 3:48. View the transcript.


Season 2 Trailer

Half Hour returns for an all-new second season, starting on March 30. Enjoy this sneak peek of just some of the candid, inspiring and thoughtful conversations to come. 



Lead sponsor of accessibility

John Hart and Carol Prins


Season 1 sponsors

Season 1, Episode 3: Kathryn Erbe: "Pretending to be Badass" was exclusively sponsored by Doug Brown and Rachel Kraft.

Season 1, Episode 5: Story Catchers Theatre: "I Got Your Back" was sponsored by John Hart and Carol Prins in memory of Louise Hart, and co-sponsored by Winston & Strawn LLP.

Season 1, Episode 6: Frank Galati: "Stumbling Forward" was co-sponsored by Lynn Lockwood Murphy, honoring Aidan Murphy and Kenyon College Class of 2020.

Season 1, Episode 12: Carrie Coon: "Relaxed Readiness" was sponsored exclusively by Helen Zell.