The show must go on … even when it can’t 

Ilana Levine of “Little Known Facts” talks Broadway, interviewing, and podcasting



Ilana Levine (top right) talks with student journalists and teachers during a remote interview Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

Kate Spillane and Allie Spillane

Ilana Levine is an actress and podcaster from Brooklyn, N.Y. Reporters were able to interview Ilana through Zoom about her acting career and tips for creating a podcast. 

Ilana shared that, in acting, it is important to research your characters and find out everything you can about them. This can be a character that you are performing in Broadway or in film or a character that you are talking with on a podcast. Her favorite character that she played on Broadway was Lucy from “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Ilana said that she loved the characters in the Peanuts cast and she always loved that comic. Ilana also has been a television actress — appearing on “Seinfeld,” an HBO series, and more. 

Ilana is happy to have her podcast, titled “Little Known Facts” to keep her working while Broadway has been shut down because of COVID-19. She named her podcast this because it was a song she sang in “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Her podcast has 187 episodes right now. Her latest was titled, “The Show Must Go On Except When It Can’t.” In this episode, Ilana shared with friends how they will continue as a community even with the shutdown of Broadway. 

Trust the silence and don’t be afraid. Give your guest moments to come up with something.

Ilana is an expert at podcasts. A podcast is similar to a voice memo or talk radio where you can listen in on a topic and learn new things or feel inspired to try something new. Ilana got into podcasts because she was invited by a friend to do a podcast. She really enjoyed the experience and realized that she could do her own. 

Here are some tips that she shared for anyone interested in trying to start a podcast: 

  • Deep dive as much as you can into the person’s world before the podcast so that you go in with confidence and you don’t repeat questions. 
  • There are apps and electronics that you can use to continue a podcast even during social distancing or if you can’t be together: Anchor (app), voice memo (on Apple phones), audio recording (on Zoom), Skype (accessible from many devices).
  • When you are recording, make sure you are in a small, private space because it will sound better. 
  • Trust the silence and don’t be afraid. Give your guest moments to come up with something, because you can always edit and cut the sound if you feel the silence is too long. 
  • Don’t get stuck creating a title as your first thing — start doing the work and the title will come.
  • Don’t try to go right to a subject that you don’t know much about — start with research first! 
  • You do not have to be in a professional studio to do a podcast — she has used Garageband and it sounds almost the same! 
  • Give at least 48 hours for guests to edit, if need be. You want guests to be happy! 
  • It takes about one week from the interview until your audience hears it publicly.
  • Podcasts build community. If you are working with a team of friends, be sure they are equally committed. 
  • Laughter is infectious! Laugh during the recording if it is appropriate. 
  • Think about the length of your episode and make sure it is appropriate for your audience — 30 minutes is a great place to start.
  • It’s important to make connections with many people — those connections will lead to new guests to add to your episodes.
  • Tell people about your podcast — post it on social media, like Instagram 

At the end of the Zoom interview with Illana, she talked about the importance of rituals that are meaningful in her life. Her mother taught her to turn over a new leaf when things are tough. She said she literally sat on the front steps and turned over leaves to have a chance to start a new chapter in her life. At the time, she thought this was silly but now she sees this as an opportunity to have meaningful moments in her life and reflect on them. 

Ilana also advised people to follow different Broadway shows and stars on Instagram, especially during this time when we feel that life is disruptive due to COVID-19. During social distancing, many celebrities are posting either live shows or different things to have fun with for their fans. That way, everyone can still feel that there are important things happening. Even if people are just sitting around, bored, or frustrated, they can see how people are still trying to do good for the world during this hard time. 

–March 29, 2020–