It’s Tony time, which is a perfect excuse to binge on "Little Known Facts," the podcast hosted by actress and master interviewer Ilana Levine, where she elicits intimate offstage stories from A-list actors who have graced Broadway and screens of all sizes.
Levine, who started her acting career with Cynthia Nixon in the Robert Altman miniseries "Tanner '88" and went on to star in Broadway's "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" with Kristin Chenoweth, Anthony Rapp and BD Wong, has spent her professional life building a "chosen family" of performers she's worked with who have become dear friends. These are the people she interviews on the 2-year-old podcast, which she named after her signature song as Lucy in "Charlie Brown."
"I love stories and telling stories and researching for roles I play. … My curiosity has led me to be someone who loves to ask questions and I've gotten very good at it," Levine says. "I love showing people how they really are — not airbrushed. They’re just like you because they’ve struggled just like you. … It resonates to anyone because it tells the story of 'never give up.' That’s been a huge gift."
At the center of most of the I-can't-believe-she-just-said-that interviews are horror stories from the audition room.
"For young people to know that Edie Falco still struggles even now, it’s a very powerful thing," she says.
The revealing interviews sound like two friends sitting over coffee and talking, because that's what they are. It's a publicist-free zone where Levine talks to longtime friends such as Allison Janney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patti LuPone, Octavia Spencer, Alan Alda, Chazz Palminteri, John Slattery, Laura Linney and Ben Platt. Her most recent is with Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
Levine's podcast with Ferguson, the "Modern Family" star who is appearing Off-Broadway in "Log Cabin," was recorded with a live audience at the W Hotel in Times Square. Levine uses her occasional public podcasts with a paying audience to raise money for causes her interview subjects support, such as Ferguson's Tie The Knot, which advocates for LGBT rights.
New interviews drop on Tuesdays and can all be found at littleknownfactspodcast.com, iTunes and everywhere podcasts live.