Quarantine Creatives with Heath Racela
Heath produces and hosts Quarantine Creatives with Heath Racela. In each episode, he talks to a TV, film, radio, or media industry professional that is grappling with the rapid changes brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. The show features thoughtful conversations about how we got here, what getting back to normal might take, or what the new normal might look like.
New episodes are released every Monday and Thursday on all major podcast platforms.
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Don Hahn was the producer behind classic Disney films like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, has authored several books, and has produced and directed many documentaries. His latest film Howard looks at the life of lyricist Howard Ashman. Don joins Heath to discuss some of the creative choices he made in Howard, working on classic Disney movies, and what he thinks drives creative people.
In her new documentary The Antidote, Kahane Cooperman (and her co-director John Hoffman) explore stories of kindness, decency, and the power of community. Kahane talks with Heath about some of the unique creative choices that make the film impactful, why kindness makes us feel good, and her own optimism in spite of the state of the country. She also discusses her 18 years as a producer at The Daily Show.
PBS American Portrait EP Craig D'Entrone
PBS American Portrait attempts to answer the fundamental question of what it means to be an American today using self-shot videos submitted from all over the country. The centerpiece of this project is a four part docuseries now running on PBS. Craig D'Entrone is the show runner of the project, and he joins Heath to discuss the challenges of making a documentary without a filming crew, how quarantine has affected production, and what he learned about the American spirit.
The Brady Bunch and HGTV Star Maureen McCormick
Maureen McCormick is best known for playing Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch, but her passion for old houses, handcrafted vintage furniture, and antiques has made her a great fit at HGTV. Along with her fellow Brady castmates, she helped renovate the Brady Bunch house in 2019, and her latest home renovation show Frozen In Time is now streaming exclusively on Discovery+. Maureen joins Heath to talk about her deep rooted love of all things vintage and what home has meant to her over the years.
Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical's Emily Jacobsen
In August, school teacher Emily Jacobsen uploaded a sixteen second video to TikTok about Remy, the cooking rat from Pixar's Ratatouille, which unexpectedly sparked a movement on TikTok. Emily joins Heath to discuss how her video inspired creators all over the world, getting to tour the new Ratatouille ride at Epcot before it opens, and Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, a one-time streaming event with big name Broadway talent to benefit The Actors Fund.
Kaufman Astoria Studios CEO Hal Rosenbluth
As President and CEO of Kaufman Astoria Studios in Astoria, Queens, Hal Rosenbluth manages the oldest studio in New York City. He joins Heath to discuss how COVID-19 has changed how they do business. He talks how state government tax incentives have increased the amount of capital being spent on production. He also describes the role that Kaufman Astoria has played in driving development and reinvestment in the neighborhood around their campus.
Classical Radio Station Manager Anthony Rudel
Anthony Rudel grew up in the classical music business, and he has served as Station Manager at WCRB in Boston for 7 years. He talks with Heath about the formatting that he translated from rock and roll stations to classical, how he has leveraged automated programming software, and his push during the pandemic to recreate the concert hall experience, including keeping the 166 year old tradition of live performances of Handel's Messiah alive for Boston through innovative technology.
Comedian Lizz Winstead
Comedian Lizz Winstead has had a big impact on the media business, co-founding The Daily Show and Air America. Her new comedy special, Corona Borealis: A Night of Comedy Under the Stars, includes untested material performed on a lake and around a campfire in Minnesota. She talks with Heath about how she's dealt with the pandemic, how she uses comedy to call out hypocritical politicians, and her work with Abortion Access Force, a non-profit abortion advocacy group that she founded.
Journalist and Notorious RBG Co-author Irin Carmon
Irin Carmon has been a journalist with NBC News, MSNBC, Jezebel, and New York Magazine. She coauthored the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biography Notorious RBG and helped break the Charlie Rose accusations for The Washington Post. She joins Heath to discuss the impact that RBG has had on how she co-parents her infant daughter, how the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements share similar characteristics that allowed them to get big when they did, and the importance of having good "information hygiene" as a citizen.
Disney Aladdin on Broadway Star Michael James Scott
Michael James Scott has performed in Broadway shows like The Book of Mormon and Elf, but he is best known as Genie from Disney's Aladdin on Broadway, having played that role on Broadway, in the West End, in Australia, and touring North America. He joins Heath to discuss his new Christmas album "A Fierce Christmas," which calls on his gospel roots and mixes in Broadway and funk, his upcoming socially distanced outdoor concert, and his time playing Tigger and the Queen of Hearts at Walt Disney World.
Journalist and Entrepreneur Maria Hinojosa
Maria Hinojosa's journalism career has included working for NPR, PBS, CBS, CNN, hosting NPR's Latino USA for more than two decades, and cohosting the podcast In The Thick. Maria joins Heath to recount her personal experience surviving COVID-19 this spring, how she has witnessed the situation at immigration detention camps deteriorate since the first reporting on them in the 1980s, and the challenges and rewards of founding her media company Futuro Media. Maria's new memoir is Once I Was You.
The Young and the Restless Star Melody Thomas Scott
For 41 years, Melody Thomas Scott has played the iconic Nikki Newman on the CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless. Melody joins Heath to discuss going back to work this summer after being shut down for the spring, the challenges and rewards of working on a soap opera for such a long time, and how she dealt with the abuse she suffered as a child actor. Nikki has a new memoir titled Always Young and Restless: My Life On and Off America's #1 Daytime Drama.
HGTV's Mike Holmes
Mike Holmes has been making home improvement television in Canada and the U.S. for nearly 20 years, including shows like Holmes on Homes, Holmes and Holmes, and Holmes Makes It Right. He joins Heath to discuss renovating houses and making television during the pandemic, finding a reputable contractor, the dire labor shortages happening in the construction industry, and ways that he thinks our homes can be healthier and more sustainable.
Legendary Animator and Director Glen Keane
Glen Keane spent nearly 37 years working at Disney as an animator before venturing out on his own in 2012. The first feature that he directed, Over the Moon, recently premiered on Netflix. Glen talks with Heath about finishing that film remotely, honoring screenwriter Audrey Wells, who died during production, and finding his voice as a director. He also discusses working with Kobe Bryant on an Oscar winning short, training under Walt Disney's Nine Old Men, and creating iconic characters like the Beast.
Documentary Filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer
Matt Tyrnauer is a documentary producer and director whose latest project is The Reagans, a four part docu-series now airing on Showtime that takes a critical look at the lives of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. He talks with Heath about why he wanted to reexamine the Reagan era and the parallels that he finds to our current political moment. He also discusses some of the technical challenges of producing this film, much of which was shot and edited during quarantine.
Musician Brad Brooks
Oakland based Brad Brooks has a new album, God Save the City, that looks back at his recent experience surviving throat cancer. Brad talks with Heath about the songs that were recorded before treatment and how they differ from those post-treatment, plus why he's not afraid to get political in his music, and how he approaches songwriting.
Young Country Singer/Songwriter Leah Belle Faser
At age 16, Atlanta native Leah Belle Faser is already writing and recording country songs with heart and depth. She talks to Heath about recording her new album Crossing Hermi's Bridge in May under strict COVID protocols, how she approaches songwriting, and the vulnerability that comes from writing such intimate music and then releasing it into the world without knowing how people will react.
Young Broadway Composer, Singer, Actor Joshua Turchin
Joshua Turchin is already a multi-hyphenate at the age of 14: composer, musician, singer, dancer, actor, and talk show host. He talks to Heath about the musical he composed called The Perfect Fit, which debuted at a theatre festival last year and will be streamed as a live concert from New World Stages on November 15. He also discusses the talk show he hosts, The Early Night Show, ways that he has had to adapt to COVID, meeting Alan Menken, and what he loves about Disneyland.
What Girls Need Author Marisa Porges
Dr. Marisa Porges has had a diverse career, starting by serving as one of only a handful of female fighter pilots in the Navy, working in counterterrorism in the Obama White House, and now leading The Baldwin School outside of Philadelphia. She and Heath discuss her new book What Girls Need: How to Raise Bold, Courageous, and Resilient Women. In it, she offers personal anecdotes and practical advice for setting up our young daughters for success in today's world.
Actor, Comedian, Author Michael Ian Black
Michael Ian Black is known for his dry comedy style and for acting in movies like Wet Hot American Summer. His latest book, A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son, looks at the evolving definition of masculinity. Michael and Heath discuss the differing approaches to projecting manhood between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, how to discuss topics like consent and intimacy with young boys, and why gender privilege can never be considered fully in isolation without also looking at race and class.
Comedy Legend and Author Merrill Markoe
Merrill Markoe is an Emmy Award winning comedy writer, co-creator and head writer of Late Night with David Letterman, and an acclaimed author. She joins Heath to discuss her new graphic memoir We Saw Scenery, which she both wrote and illustrated. It tells the story of her adolescence through her diary entries of the time. She also discusses her time at The Comedy Store, working with and dating David Letterman, and her experience at some of the major cultural events of the 1960s.
Singer/Songwriter Will Kimbrough
Will Kimbrough is a songwriter, musician, performer, and music producer based in Nashville. He talks with Heath about his 17 years writing songs for Jimmy Buffet, the albums that first hooked him on being a musician, and how he has stayed creative despite not being able to tour. Will also discusses the inspiration behind the songs on his new album Spring Break, which was all recorded at home during the pandemic.
Culture Warlords Author Talia Lavin
Journalist Talia Lavin has written for The New Yorker, New Republic, and the Village Voice. Her new book Culture Warlords takes a deep dive into the online world of white supremacists. She talks with Heath about what made her want to explore this movement, what she learned lurking and sometimes participating in far right forums, and why she thinks it's important for all of us to take action against racism, antisemitism, and misogyny.
Seattle Broadcaster Turned Builder Scott Carty
Scott Carty is a Seattle based broadcaster on radio and TV, who became known for conducting interviews with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, but he left broadcasting at the start of the pandemic and has turned his energy towards building with his new venture, Backspace Sheds. Scott talks with Heath about his own path into media, behind the scenes stories from interviewing big stars, his move to Christian radio, and why he decided to become a builder. Scott hosts the podcast The Scott Carty Party.
OffScrip Media Co-Founder Matthew Zachary
Matthew Zachary founded OffScrip Media in 2019 as a podcast network featuring raw, unapologetic shows about patient advocacy, which call on his own experience as a cancer survivor at age 21 and as the former CEO of the nonprofit Stupid Cancer. He talks with Heath about the opportunities of the podcasting space, why audio is such an intimate medium, and what he has learned about why patients struggle with the myriad challenges of the American health care system.
Yankee Senior Food Editor Amy Traverso
Amy Traverso is the Senior Food Editor for Yankee Magazine and co-host of the public television series Weekends with Yankee, which is in pre-production for Season 5. She and Heath share stories about working for a legacy brand with a print and TV component, the challenges facing both the restaurant industry and TV production, what makes New England such a unique and special place, and ways that the definition of New England can become more inclusive. Amy is also the author of The Apple Lover's Cookbook.
Broadcaster and Musician John Tesh
John Tesh's career has spanned several decades and several different areas of focus. He started in radio and television as an anchor and journalist, hosted Entertainment Tonight for a decade, composes and performs music, and has hosted the radio show Intelligence For Your Life since 1997. He talks with Heath about his relationship to his father growing up, his battle with pancreatic cancer, and where he gets his faith in God. John's memoir Relentless was released earlier this year.
The Good Lord Bird's Hubert Point-Du Jour
Hubert Point-Du Jour has been a working actor on both stage and screen for many years, but The Good Lord Bird on Showtime is the biggest role he's had to date. He talks to Heath about playing an enslaved person before the Civil War and the parallels between abolitionist struggles and the current fight for racial justice. Hubert also discusses how he developed a passion for acting, the work he's put in to learning his craft, and working with famous directors like Phylicia Rashad and Leigh Silverman.
Singer/Songwriter Scott Cook
Scott Cook is a troubadour from Edmonton, Alberta who has spent the last 13 years on the road across the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia playing 150 shows per year. Because of the pandemic, he has spent the last six months at home. Scott talks to Heath about finding himself both on the road and at home, the parallels he sees between his own battles with addiction and climate change, and his new album and book Tangle of Souls.
Sacred Cow Filmmaker and Author Diana Rodgers
Diana Rodgers is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, host of the podcast Sustainable Dish, and the filmmaker and author behind the new film/book project Sacred Cow that looks at if meat can be a healthy and sustainable part of a diet. She talks with Heath about what drew her to this subject, working on her first documentary film, and what she sees as the broken and vulnerable parts of our national food system.
Puppeteer, Actor, Producer, Director John Tartaglia
John Tartaglia was one of the youngest puppeteers ever hired on Sesame Street at the age of 16. Since then, he's originated roles in Avenue Q, created and starred in Johnny and the Sprites and Splash and Bubbles, and is now a performer and executive producer on Fraggle Rock for AppleTV+. He talks with Heath about the technical aspects of puppeteering, plus the challenges of creating shows for cruise ships and theme parks, and the roots of his admiration for Jim Henson.
Filthy Rich's Aaron Lazar
Aaron Lazar is an actor and singer, having performed in 11 Broadway productions, plus movies and TV. On Fox's Filthy Rich, which premieres on September 21, he plays a reverend on a Christian broadcasting network. Aaron talks to Heath about his own journey of self-discovery and his relationship to the unknown, plus his feelings about our identity as Americans and how the pandemic may be changing that.
Ratched's Jon Jon Briones
Jon Jon Briones stars in the new Netflix series Ratched, which is a suspenseful prequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest set on the California Coast of the 1940s. Heath and Jon Jon discuss working with Ryan Murphy, Sarah Paulson, and Sharon Stone, plus growing up poor in the Philippines, performing in Miss Saigon all over the world including Broadway and the West End, and how his kids found their passion working in the entertainment business.
Spirit Series Directors Richard and Leslie Strauss
Richard Strauss founded Spirit Series in 2001 and serves as National Executive Director, while Leslie is National Co-Director. Their program brings drama-based learning to children in grades four through eight. They discuss with Heath the origins of the program, how it builds confidence and teamwork, and the challenges of moving an in-person program to a remote workflow once the pandemic closed schools.
Our Cartoon President EP RJ Fried
RJ Fried is the show runner, an executive producer, and a performer on the Showtime series Our Cartoon President and Tooning Out the News on CBS All Access. He talks with Heath about the delicate task of properly satirizing President Trump, the challenges of moving an animation workflow to home production, why he thinks the show could outlive the Trump Administration, and the advice he's received from Stephen Colbert.
Never Have I Ever Co-Creator Lang Fisher
Lang Fisher is a writer and producer who co-created Never Have I Ever for Netflix with Mindy Kaling, a teen comedy that focuses on the life of an Indian American teenager. Lang talks with Heath about the development of the series, how her own background influenced the story of Devi, and casting first time actor Maitreyi Ramakrishnan in the lead. She also talks about some of the early plans for season 2, which may begin shooting later this fall if it can be done safely.
Ample Hills Founders Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna
Husband and wife duo Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna founded Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn in 2010 after Brian left a career as a screenwriter and audio producer. The brand grew quickly, counting Bob Iger, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, and Oprah Winfrey as fans. Brian and Jackie talk to Heath about their fast climb and steep fall, declaring bankruptcy just as coronavirus was shutting down New York and ultimately losing their roles in the company they founded.
Kaitlin Keleher oversees production on both TV and podcast projects at America's Test Kitchen. She talks with Heath about the technical, creative, and logistical challenges of shooting America's Test Kitchen from home this year. She also shares some of the secrets of what make podcasts like Proof and The Walk-In so popular and the challenges of growing and evolving a brand that is so well known and beloved.
Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg
Louie Schwartzberg is known for using techniques like time lapse, high speed, and macro images to change our perception of the natural world. Louie's latest film is Fantastic Fungi, which looks at the role that mushrooms play in creating soil, providing food for humans, and altering our consciousness. Louie shares with Heath how the release strategy of his film was impacted by COVID, the lessons that he has learned from nature, and shares some behind the scenes insights into his process.
Actor and Singer Sarah Stiles
Tony award nominee Sarah Stiles is known for her work on Broadway, including in the stage adaptation of Tootsie. Her most recent project, the Netflix comedy series The Crew, was halted due to COVID-19. She talks to Heath about the new regulations in place when she returns to complete the series. She also discusses learning to puppeteer for Avenue Q, the differences between acting for stage and screen, and her debut EP "You Can Ukulele with Me," which is available on all music platforms.
Full Frontal EP Alison Camillo
Alison Camillo is one of the Executive Producers of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. She talks to Heath about writing and producing the show remotely during the pandemic, figuring out the technical challenges of Sam recoding the show from her backyard, and not compromising on quality despite the strange times. Alison also discusses her history with The Daily Show, where she worked for 18 years prior to joining Full Frontal, and what it was like to move to a new home during COVID.
The Daily Show's Desi Lydic
Desi Lydic joined The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in 2015 as a correspondent and starred in the Comedy Central special Desi Lydic: Abroad in 2019. She joins Heath to talk about the challenges of making The Daily Show from home, how she finds common ground with her Fox News watching family, the work that goes in to a good interview, and the importance of closing the gender gap.
Chef Lidia Bastianich
Lidia Bastianich is a chef, restauranteur, author, and host of Lidia's Kitchen and Lidia Celebrates America on PBS. She joins Heath to talk about cooking during the quarantine and how TV production has changed for her during this time. She also shares memories of growing up on her grandmother's farm in Istria and talks about the classic Italian techniques for preserving and storing food.
Author and Podcaster Sarah Kendzior
Sarah Kendzior is a St. Louis based author and anthropologist who has applied her studies of authoritarian regimes overseas to the current political climate in America. She talks to Heath about her new book "Hiding in Plain Sight," which claims that "the Trump administration is a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government," plus her thoughts on what to expect with the fall elections, and how to still find hope. Sarah also cohosts the podcast Gaslit Nation.
Disney Historian and Former Imagineer Tom K. Morris
Tom K. Morris began his career at Disney working as a front line cast member in Disneyland, before going on to design attractions, lands, and even whole parks across the world. He talks with Heath about the book he's currently writing about the early designers of Disneyland, most of whom came from the film industry. He also discusses his work on Journey into Imagination, Splash Mountain, Hong Kong Disneyland and Cars Land.
The Jim Henson Company's Halle Stanford
As President of Television for The Jim Henson Company, Halle Stanford leads development and production of all television projects. She and Heath discuss Zoom fatigue while working remotely, producing Fraggle Rock shorts with iPhones, and how the company has evolved and changed in her tenure. She also shares behind the scenes stories from The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a new series on Netflix that she executive produced and for which she was just earned her eleventh Emmy Award nomination.
TV and Radio Host Ernie Manouse
Ernie Manouse is a fixture in Houston, Texas, hosting both TV and radio shows for Houston Public Media's PBS and NPR stations. He currently hosts Houston Matters Special Edition, a radio program that looks at local effects of COVID-19. Ernie talks with Heath about mask compliance, school reopening, and the mood in Houston. He also discusses his career in broadcasting including hosting Manor of Speaking, a show about Downton Abbey, living out as a gay man, and encounters with Al Pacino and Julie Andrews.
Voice Actor Stefan Johnson
Stefan Johnson is a Cleveland based voice actor who has voiced campaigns for McDonald's, the Orlando Magic, SEGA, Boost Mobile, Wells Fargo, and many more brands. He also does character work for animation and video games. Stefan talks with Heath about the path that led him to voice acting and what it took for him to make the leap to doing this work full time. He also shares advice for people that want to get started in the business.
New York Times Columnist Ronda Kaysen
Ronda Kaysen is a home and real estate reporter who created the Right at Home column and writes the Ask Real Estate column for The New York Times. She talks to Heath about how our concept of home has shifted because of the pandemic, the challenges facing New Yorkers navigating COVID at home, plus how HGTV and This Old House define our sense of home. Ronda is the co-author with Michelle Higgins of The New York Times: Right at Home: How to Buy, Decorate, Organize, and Maintain Your Space.
ABC Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee
Ginger Zee is ABC's Chief Meteorologist, appearing daily on Good Morning America, plus on World New Tonight, Hearts of Heroes, and was even a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. She talks to Heath about her home studio setup, her family's battle with COVID-19 in March, how to change minds about climate change, sharing personal struggles, and what she loves about the Disney Parks. Ginger is the author of Natural Disaster and the Chasing Helicity series.
CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem
As a member of President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, Juliette Kayyem handled the response to the H1N1 pandemic, among other large logistical challenges, and she now shares her perspective as an analyst on CNN and professor at Harvard. She joins Heath to talk about the current state of the Coronavirus response, what her own routine looks like these days, and her prediction for school reopening this fall. Juliette is the author of "Security Mom" and a columnist for The Atlantic.
Broadway Director Leigh Silverman
Leigh Silverman is a New York based live theatre director for both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. As one of the most prominent female directors, she advocates for women in roles of power in the theatre. She talks to Heath about how she got her start on the touring company of RENT, the challenges of directing for the stage, and what the future of live theatre might look like post-COVID. She also discusses her quarantine project- directing a shot from home video for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Michael Zegen
Michael Zegen plays Joel on the Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and is also known for his work on Rescue Me and Boardwalk Empire. He talks with Heath about the evolution of Joel Maisel, how he and Rachel Brosnahan bonded before playing a married couple, and Michael's own fears about being a standup comedian. Michael also talks about how COVID closed down the live musical Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice in which he was starring and what performing theatre was like in the days just before the shut down.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Marin Hinkle
Marin Hinkle is perhaps best known for playing Rose Weissman in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (for which she was nominated for her first Emmy Award) and Judith on Two and a Half Men, but she has worked in live theatre, film, and television for many years. She discusses what led her to acting initially, how the 1950s wardrobe and set affect her performance as Rose, and how even though COVID-19 has delayed production on Season 4 of Maisel, it hasn't kept the cast from reuniting over Zoom.
Comedian and Star of 'Robbie' Rory Scovel
Rory Scovel created, writes, and stars in the new Comedy Central show Robbie about a small town basketball coach in Georgia. Rory talks about the development of the series and how religion and race became important motifs. Rory also discusses his last standup tour before the pandemic and finding his comedic voice through improvisation.
Casting Director Jennifer Euston
Jennifer Euston is an Emmy Award winning New York based casting director that has cast some of the most memorable ensembles in recent television, including Orange is the New Black, Girls, and GLOW. She talks with Heath about how the pandemic has affected her process, how her love of classic films of the 1930s and 40s influenced her decision to go into casting, and about the new project she's casting, a Jenji Kohan show that's all shot remotely.
YouTube Maker Jimmy DiResta
Jimmy DiResta has been working with tools since childhood, which led him to a career as a TV host on FX, HGTV, DIY Network, Discovery, and NBC. However, for 8 years, Jimmy's primary mode of reaching an audience is through his successful YouTube channel, with close to 2 million subscribers. He talks with Heath about the TV business, what he's learned about being his own boss, and how he makes money by creating and distributing his video content.
Comedy Director Payman Benz