"From the Green Room"

KU Presents! "From the Green Room," a new series of live interviews hosted by our director, Bryan Zellmer. Tune in every Wednesday at 4pm EST for these live-streamed interviews with professionals within the performing arts industry!

Episode List

Episode #1, Comedian Dena Blizzard (February 10th, 2021)

Dena Blizzard is One Funny Mother, also known as the “Target mom” from her Back to School Rant which reached 150 Million views, and her hilarious viral video “Chardonnay Go.” She is a comedian and mother of three who’s written and starred in her Off Broadway show, created “Chardonnay Go, The Board Game for Wine Lovers, Moms and Other Shameless People” and has served as the Official Host of the Miss America Pageant Preliminaries for 10 years. Dena has also co-hosted with Anderson Cooper and led her own talk show on NJ 101.5 FM. 

Episode #2 Clay Johnson of the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra (February 17th. 2021)

Clay Johnson was raised by a family of preachers, teachers and Folk/Southern Gospel singers, which has driven him to inspire and entertain others.  Along with his life-long best friend and fellow musician, Jeremy Davis, Clay created the jazz big band called the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra. Whether playing trombone, singing, or working with churches and communities, Clay does it all with passion, grace and style. He hosts a weekly Facebook Live show and podcast called “Parking Lot Pastor,” and he is currently pursuing a Master of Theological Studies degree from Shepherds Theological Seminary.

Episode #3, Dr. Maria Asteriadou (February 24th, 2021)

Dr. Asteriadou teaches at Manhattan School of Music and at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, where she is a Professor of Piano and Chamber Music. As a Steinway Artist, Dr. Asteriadou has appeared in recitals and as a soloist with orchestras in major concert halls throughout the United States, South America, Canada and Europe. The recipient of numerous awards and prizes, Maria Asteriadou holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music, a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, Graduate Soloist Diploma with honors from the Musik Hochschule in Freiburg, Germany, and her undergraduate studies took place at the State Conservatory of Music in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Episode #4, David Gross (March 3rd, 2021)

David Gross is currently the Executive Director of the Reading Symphony Orchestra, and previously served as President and CEO of both San Antonio Symphony and West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Gross is a strong advocate of education and has developed a nationally recognized program that has taught teachers how to use an arts-based curriculum to enhance learning. He has played timpani as a soloist and with numerous orchestras across the United States.

Episode #5, Jeremy Zuckerman

March 10th, 2021

Jeremy Zuckerman is an Emmy Award-winning composer and musician whose diverse body of work includes music for film, television and dance, traditional Chinese music, sonic art, and concert music. Jeremy is best known for composing the music for the beloved series ‘The Legend of Korra’ and ‘Avatar: the Last Airbender’. His unique scores have earned numerous accolades including two Emmy Award wins and several nominations, and his music has reached a wide audience with streaming numbers in the several million.

Episode #6, Poor Man's Gambit

March 17th, 2021

Featuring virtuosic musicianship, tasteful arrangements, and lilting vocals, Poor Man’s Gambit is one of the most recognized modern Irish traditional groups in America. Corey Purcell (button accordion, cittern, bodhran, vocals, and dance), Deirdre Lockman (fiddle and vocals), and Federico Betti (guitar and fiddle) bring together three diverse musical backgrounds which complement the other’s musical styles both on stage and in the studio. The trio’s latest album 'Land of Sunshine' showcases a carefully selected offering of spirited tunes balanced with an equal number of expressively performed songs.

Episode #7, KU Music Majors

March 24th, 2021

In this episode of KU Presents! 'From the Green Room,' we chat with five KU Music majors from the graduating class of 2021: Emeli Sosa, Commercial Music (vocalist and trombone); Ben Jones, Music Education (bassoon and trombone); Sam Wetzel, Commercial Music (Percussion); Kaiti Hershey, Music Performance (flute); and Christina Baker, Commercial Music (trumpet). We'll discover what it was like to be a college student before and during the pandemic, talk about some of their favorite KU moments and greatest takeaways, and what their next steps will be as they graduate from Kutztown University and enter the world at-large.

Episode 8: Jazz Group Living Standards

March 31st. 2021

Living Standards is a culmination of Karl Latham’s protean imagination for transformative musical projects with themes that embrace a wider listenership with preeminent musicians. Living Standards embodies high level playing, improvisation with rhythmic and harmonic adventure, and travels in a vehicle of iconic popular music standards from the 60’s and 70’s, such as 'Low Rider,' 'Day Tripper,' 'Tomorrow Never Knows,' and more. Karl Latham refers to this project as “Jazz for Everyone.”

Episode 9: De Tierra Caliente

April 7th, 2021

De Tierra Caliente hails from Philadelphia, Puerto Rico and Cuba, and in addition to releasing two albums, they’ve played hundreds of shows throughout the US, Colombia, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. Their intoxicating songs are performed in Spanish, English and Portuguese, and they inspire a party wherever they play. We’ll learn about how they write their catchy melodies and lyrics, fused with Latin, Caribbean, and Brazilian rhythms. We’ll also hear how they’ve weathered the pandemic, and we’ll talk about their upcoming live performance at Kutztown University on April 30, 2021.

Episode 10: KU Arts Society

April 14th, 2021

In this episode, we'll speak with two Kutztown University Arts Society board members, Sandy Green and Dr. Michelle Kiec, to learn about the Society, their P.L.A.Y. initiative (Promoting the Love of Arts in Youth), and the new KU Arts Hall of Fame. We'll also meet one of the Hall of Fame inductees, former director of KU Presents!, Ellen Finks.

Episode 11: SHARP Dance Company's Diane Sharp-Nachsin

April 21st, 2021

In this episode, we’ll speak with the Founding Artistic Director of SHARP Dance Company, Diane Sharp-Nachsin and SHARP Dance Company’s upcoming engagement at Kutztown University on April 30, 2021. Diane Sharp-Nachsin danced professionally for 11 years, before retiring due to a severe injury, with companies such as Mary Miller in Pittsburgh, Philadanco in Philadelphia, and Jacqueline Knopps and Dansers in Amsterdam. She also performed with Pennsylvania Ballet Theaters’ Principal dancers of The White Oak Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Diane founded SHARP Dance Company in 2006, and the company has performed in over 30 U.S. cities as well as internationally in the U.K., Greece, and Italy.