A program of

Special Guests

Annette Bening

Annette Bening is a celebrated actor across the stage and screen. She will next star in Death on the Nile, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. Past film credits include The Report, Captain Marvel, 20th Century Women, The Kids Are Alright, American Beauty,The American President, The Grifters, and others. 

On stage, Bening was last seen in Gregory Mosher’s Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s classic All My Sons alongside Tracy Letts, for which she earned a Tony Award nomination. Past theatre credits include Have A Nice Day; King Lear; Ruth Draper Monologues; The Cherry Orchard; Talking Heads; Hedda Gabler; and Medea. Bening received a Tony Award nomination and won the Clarence Derwent Award for Outstanding Debut Performance of the Season for her role in Coastal Disturbances

See A CONVERSATION WITH ANNETTE BENING

Leslie Odom, Jr.

Leslie Odom, Jr. is a multifaceted Tony and Grammy Award-winning performer – spanning Broadway, television, film and music. Leslie Odom, Jr. recently released his third full-length album and first of original material, entitled Mr in November, and also starred alongside Cynthia Erivo in the Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet.

Odom Jr. can currently be heard voicing the character of “Owen Tillerman” in Josh Gad’s new animated musical-comedy series Central Park which premiered on Apple TV+ on May 29. He will continue to captivate audiences this year in a filmed performance of the original Broadway production of “Hamilton” released on Disney+ beginning July 3. His other projects include the film adaptation of the Olivier Award-nominated play One Night in Miami directed by Regina King, where he portrays and performs the original songs of legendary singer Sam Cooke; the feature film Music written and directed by singer-songwriter Sia; and Needle in A Timestack written and directed by John Ridley. Next Spring, he will star in The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to David Chase’s Award-winning HBO series The Sopranos. Additional film and television credits include Murder on the Orient Express, Only, Red Tails and Smash.

Odom Jr. is best known for his breakout role as ‘Aaron Burr’ in the smash hit Broadway musical Hamilton, for which he won the Tony Award for “Best Actor in a Musical” and a Grammy Award as a principal soloist on the original cast recording. He made his Broadway debut in RENT at the age of 17. He also starred opposite Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo in a 2014 City Center Encores! revival of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick…Boom!

See A CONVERSATION WITH LESLIE ODOM, JR.

Ethan Hawke

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,” is a phrase a young Ethan Hawke took to heart while filming Dead Poets Society, the Academy®Award-winning drama that launched his career as an actor. Thirty years and several Tony® and Oscar® nominations later, he has emerged a multifaceted artist, novelist, screenwriter, and director. Hawke recently starred in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed, for which he won the Gotham Award, Independent Spirit Award, and over 20 film critics’ awards.

Hawke has collaborated with filmmaker Richard Linklater on multiple occasions, including Fast Food Nation, Waking Life, The Newton Boys, Tape, and Boyhood.  In one of their most celebrated projects, Hawke starred opposite Julie Delpy in the critically acclaimed film Before Sunrise and its two sequels Before Sunset and Before Midnight. Behind the lens, Hawke has directed Chelsea Walls and the documentary Seymour: An Introduction.

Hawke resides in New York and is married with four children.

See A CONVERSATION ON SHOWTIME’S THE GOOD LORD BIRD

Governor Terry McAuliffe

In November 2013, Terry McAuliffe was elected the 72nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  As Governor, McAuliffe focused on equality for all Virginians, enhancing the quality of life, and building a new diversified economy that made economic opportunity a right, not a privilege. 

In June 2019, McAuliffe was named a CNN Commentator. McAuliffe is the New York Times and Washington Post bestselling author of What A Party! My Life among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals published in January 2007. In July 2019, his second New York Times and Washington Post bestselling book Beyond Charlottesville: Taking A Stand Against White Nationalism was published. 

In politics and business, McAuliffe has worked with people from all walks of life and different political backgrounds. He entered national politics at the age of 23 as the national finance director for President Jimmy Carter. He was elected Democratic National Committee chairman in 2000 and served until 2005. He co-chaired President Bill Clinton’s 1996 campaign for reelection and his 1997 Presidential Inauguration. He was also chairman of the 2000 Democratic National Convention and chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential Campaign. In 1993, he was appointed by President Clinton as Ambassador and Commissioner General of the United States Taejon International Exposition in South Korea. The youngest child growing up in a middle class family, McAuliffe has been a lifelong entrepreneur. At age 14, he started his own business paving driveways for neighbors and local businesses. Since then, he has worked with and led dozens of businesses in diverse sectors of the economy helping to improve companies and create economic opportunity. 

McAuliffe and his wife Dorothy were married in 1988. They have five children. Their eldest son is a Captain in the United States Marine Corps.

See BOYS STATE

Linda Hamilton

Born September 26, 1956 in Salisbury, Maryland, Linda Hamilton is an actress best known for her portrayal as Sarah Connor in the Terminator movie franchise.

Linda had her first acting credit in the indie drama Night-Flowers (1979), but began to make a name for herself on the soap opera Secrets of the Midland Heights (1980-81), playing Lisa Rogers. She would continue to build up her resumé on television with the TV movies Reunion (1980), Country Gold (1982), Wishman (1983), and Secrets of a Mother and Daughter (1983), as well as guest appearances on TV series such as Shirley, King’s Crossing and Hill Street Blues. In 1982 she starred opposite Robert Carradine in the action thriller Tag: The Assassination Game, as Susan Swayze. 

Her big break came in 1984 when she starred in James Cameron’s The Terminator alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Biehn. That same year she also starred in Fritz Kiersh’s adaptation of Children of the Corn. The following years would see her split time between TV and Hollywood with TV movies Secret Weapons, Club Med and Go Toward the Light and big screen projects sich Black Moon Rising (1986) and King Kong Lives (1986). Linda reached a new career high in 1987 when she was cast in a starring role on the contemporary TV adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. In the crime drama set in Manhattan, Linda starred opposite Ron Perlman’s Beast as Assistant District Attorney Catherine Chandler, a role that earned her a Primetime Emmy nomination as well as two Golden Globe nominations.

Linda fully embraced a return to the Terminator franchise with a substantial role as Sarah Connor Tim Miller’s Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), which would provide proper closure for the character that has helped define her career.

See A CONVERSATION WITH LINDA HAMILTON

Diane Rehm

Diane Rehm’s “keen insights and boundless curiosity have deepened our understanding of our culture and ourselves” – so said President Barack Obama when presenting her with the National Humanities Medal in 2014. The weekly audience of nearly 3 million who listened to The Diane Rehm Show on NPR for decades would no doubt agree. 

A recipient of many other honors, including a prestigious Personal Peabody Award in 2010, Ms. Rehm is also the author of four best-selling autobiographical books. Her fifth book, When My Time Comes, was inspired by the documentary of the same name for which she is a producer and the onscreen interviewer. 

Although she stepped away from her daily radio program at the end of 2016, one shouldn’t make the mistake of considering her to be “retired.” In addition to the new documentary, she maintains a busy schedule of speaking engagements. She also interviews a wide range of newsmakers, writers, artists and thinkers about issues she cares about on her twice-weekly podcast, On My Mind, for which she is executive producer.

Ms. Rehm is a life-long resident of Washington, D.C. She was married to her beloved late husband, John Rehm, for 54 years. In 2017, she married John Hagedorn, a retired Lutheran minister. She has two children and two grandchildren – and a sweet puppy named Bella.

See WHEN MY TIME COMES

Pete Souza

Pete Souza is a best-selling author, speaker and freelance photographer based in Madison, Wisconsin. He is also Professor Emeritus of Visual Communication at Ohio University. Souza was the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama and the Director of the White House photo office.

His book, “Obama: An Intimate Portrait,” was published by Little, Brown & Company in 2017, and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It is one of the best-selling photography books of all time. His latest book, “Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents,” also debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list in October 2018. Shade is a portrait in Presidential contrasts, telling the tale of the Obama and Trump administrations through a series of visual juxtapositions. Here, more than one hundred of Souza’s unforgettable images of President Obama deliver new power and meaning when framed by the tweets, news headlines, and quotes that defined the first 500 days of the Trump White House.

Previously Souza worked as an Assistant Professor of Photojournalism at Ohio University, the national photographer for the Chicago Tribune based in their Washington bureau, a freelancer for National Geographic and other publications, and Official White House Photographer for President Reagan.

Souza is a native of South Dartmouth, Mass.  He graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in public communication from Boston University and received his master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Kansas State University. He and his wife live in Madison, Wisconsin, along with their pet tortoise, Charlotte.

See A CONVERSATION WITH PETE SOUZA AND CHRIS LU

Doc Severinsen

“Heeeeere’s Johnny!” That lead-in, followed by a big band trumpet blast, was the landmark of late night television for three decades. The ‘Johnny’ was Johnny Carson, the announcer was Ed McMahon and the bandleader was Doc Severinsen. Beginning in October 1962, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson ruled the night air for thirty years. On May 22, 1992, it came to an end…

Within a week of the final telecast, Doc Severinsen and His Big Band were on the road, and to this day, audiences across America love and respect Doc and his big band, not just because he shared their living room with them for so many years, but because of Doc’s love of the Big Band repertoire.  His musicianship keeps this iconic American music fresh to this day. Their repertoire includes Ellington and Basie standards, pop, jazz, ballads, big band classics and, of course, The Tonight Show theme.  Severinsen can still blow hard with his horn, and hit the high notes, a result of his continued commitment to the practice studio and the refinement of his craft. But as a band leader, Doc continues to surround himself with the best in the business, and he’s only too happy to give them a turn in the spotlight.

A Grammy award winner, Doc has made more than 30 albums–from big band to jazz-fusion to classical. Two critically acclaimed Telarc CDs with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra showcase his multifaceted talents from Bach to ballads.  The Very Best of Doc Severinsen reprises fifteen of Doc’s signature pieces. His other recordings include Unforgettably Doc with the Cincinnati Pops on Telarc, and the Grammy nominated Once More With Feeling on Amherst. He received a Grammy Award for “Best Jazz instrumental Performance – Big Band” for his recording of Doc Severinsen and The Tonight Show Band-Volume I.

Today, Doc has not lost his flair for the outrageous fashion statement or his trademark wit. But his gregarious nature has never interfered with the fact that he has been one of the greatest trumpeters and musicians of the last 60 years, respected in the worlds of classical music, jazz, big band, and now even world music.  In the end, Doc Severinsen has transcended his celebrity, and rejoiced in his remarkable ability to simply play his trumpet as well as he can. Which has proven to be good enough for the millions of people who count themselves his fans.

See NEVER TOO LATE: THE DOC SEVERINSEN STORY

Thomas Newman

Thomas Newman is widely acclaimed as one of today’s most prominent composers for film. He has composed music for more than 80 motion pictures and television series and has earned fourteen Academy Award nominations, one Emmy Award and six Grammy Awards.  

He is the youngest son of Alfred Newman (1900-1970), the longtime musical director of 20th Century Fox and the composer of scores for such films as Wuthering Heights, The Diary of Anne Frank, and All About Eve. As a child, Thomas pursued basic music and piano studies. However, it was not until after his father’s death that the younger Newman, then age 14, felt charged with the desire to write. He later studied composition and orchestration at USC with Professor Frederick Lesemann and noted film composer David Raksin, and privately with composer George Tremblay. He completed his academic work at Yale University, studying with Jacob Druckman, Bruce MacCombie and Robert Moore. Newman also gratefully acknowledges the early influence of another prominent musician, the legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, who served as a great mentor and champion.

A turning point in Newman’s career took place while he was working as a musical assistant on the 1984 film, Reckless, for which he soon was promoted to the position of composer. And so, at the age of 27, Newman successfully composed his first film score. Since then he has contributed distinctive and evocative scores to many acclaimed films, including The Shawshank Redemption, Little Women, American Beauty, The Green Mile, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Skyfall, Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, and the critically acclaimed 1917. Newman also composed the music for HBO’s acclaimed 6-hour miniseries Angels in America directed by Mike Nichols. He received an Emmy Award for his theme for the HBO original series Six Feet Under. His current film projects include director Steven Soderbergh’s Let Them All Talk and director John Lee Hancock’s Little Things.

See A TRIBUTE TO THOMAS NEWMAN

Joshua Caleb Johnson

Joshua Caleb Johnson is currently recurring on Black-ish. He starred in the independent feature It’s Just a Gun (awarded the Narrative Silver Medal at the 43rd Student Academy Awards). Johnson co-starred in the feature Ray Meets Helen opposite Keith David, Keith Carradine and Sondra Locke, and recurred on the series Animal Kingdom. He was the face of Madden NFL 18, playing the young Devin Wade opposite JR Lemon and Mahershala Ali. Johnson also starred in the sci-fi short The Night They Cameby director Avan Hardwell.

Johnson starred opposite Pharrell Williams in the project I Am Other (sponsored by YOOBIE), a project that helps underprivileged youth believe that they can overcome all obstacles in life as long as you “believe in yourself.” He has booked national commercials such as: Toyota, Honda, Enterprise and Gardasil, and has done three worldwide campaigns for Nike, Under Armor and Gardasil. He was seen in all the Nickelodeon advertisements for the 2017 Kids’ Choice Sports Awards. In addition, Johnson is an excellent singer and dancer.

Johnson is a star athlete. He plays football for the Valley Seahawks, winners of the 2017 Pop Warner Super Bowl and has been named MVP for five years consecutively. He is also the starting point guard for his middle school basketball team. Johnson enjoys boxing, martial arts, running track and swimming.

See A CONVERSATION ON SHOWTIME’S THE GOOD LORD BIRD

Vince Gilligan

Vince Gilligan is the creator of the acclaimed drama Breaking Bad and co-creator of its prequel series, Better Call Saul. Widely praised by fans and critics alike, the intertwined shows have been named as “TV Programs of the Year” eight times by the American Film Institute. They have garnered three Peabody Awards and 16 Emmy® Awards (as well as 97 nominations). Vince directed both pilots on location in New Mexico and received a Writers Guild Award for each — sharing the credit on Better Call Saul with series co-creator Peter Gould.

Vince was born in Richmond, Virginia and raised in Farmville and Chesterfield County. He received the Virginia Governor’s Screenwriting Award in 1989 for his screenplay Home Fries, which was later turned into a film starring Drew Barrymore and Luke Wilson.

As a writer on The X-Files, Vince shared Golden Globe® Awards in 1997 and 1998 for Best Drama Series. His other credits include the Fox Television series The Lone Gunmen and the feature films Hancock and Wilder Napalm.

Vince lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Holly.

See A CONVERSATION WITH VINCE GILLIGAN AND MARK JOHNSON

James McBride

James McBride is an accomplished musician and author whose books have been translated into 19 languages and sold millions of copies around the world. He is the author of the National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling The Good Lord Bird; the bestselling American classic The Color of Water; and the bestsellers Song Yet Sung and Miracle at St. Anna, which was adapted into a film by Spike Lee with a screenplay written by McBride. He is also the author of Kill ‘Em and Leave, a biography of James Brown. His new novel DEACON KING KONG will be released by Riverhead Books in March 2020. Awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Obama “for humanizing the complexities of discussing race in America,” McBride is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

See A CONVERSATION ON SHOWTIME’S THE GOOD LORD BIRD

Nicole Kassell

Nicole Kassell is an award-winning film and television director based in New York City. She received a BA from Columbia University in Art History and an MFA from NYU’s Film Program, and her first feature film “The Woodsman” premiered in competition at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.  Kassell also directs episodic television, including acclaimed series The Leftovers, The Killing, The Americans, The Following & Rectify. In January 2020, Kassell won the Directors Guild of America Award for Dramatic Series for directing the Watchmen episode “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”. She recently won an Emmy Award for Best Limited Series for HBO’s Watchmen.

See A CONVERSATION WITH NICOLE KASSELL