Bridget Armstrong | WYPR

Bridget Armstrong

Producer, Midday

Bridget Armstrong is a producer for Midday hosted by Tom Hall. She joined the WYPR team as a producer of Maryland Morning in March 2016. Before coming to WYPR, she worked for SiriusXM and prior to that, at NPR.  While at NPR, Bridget worked on the 2014 Elections Desk and Tell Me More hosted by Michel Martin, where she produced discussions addressing race, gender and pop-culture.  A true lover of conversation, Bridget also hosted and produced a roundtable podcast. Bridget is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, an Historically Black College.

Dave Wetty, Cloud Prime Photography

Dr. Carol Anderson is the chair of the African-American Studies Department at Emory University, and the author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

According to Anderson, racial discord and inequality in America is the product of white reaction and opposition to any progress made by people of color.  To support her argument, Anderson points to the white southern reaction to reconstruction efforts following the Civil War, Supreme Court decisions in the 1970s that undermined Brown v. Board of Education, the war on drugs and ongoing voter suppression efforts. 

Dr. Anderson joins Tom in-studio to discuss White Rage and how racial animus towards black and brown people in America perpetuates inequality. 

Sheri Parks

Culture Commentator Sheri Parks on reactions to the mass shooting in Orlando.  Was the shooter a self-radicalized terrorist, a deranged abuser, a virulent bigot, a self-loathing gay man, or some combination thereof?  As the dead are remembered and buried, what will we remember months and years from now about how this tragedy changed the conversation about the fight against terrorism, access to firearms, and bigotry against the LGBTQ community, Latinos, and Muslims?  Sheri Parks is an associate Dean and associate professor at the University of Maryland College Park.  She’ll help us unpack lessons from the massacre at Pulse nightclub.

Plus, Theater Critic J Wynn Rousuck reviews Godspell at Cockpit in Court.

Sheri Parks

Sheri Parks is a culture critic, associate professor in the Department of American Studies and Associate Dean for Research, Interdisciplinary Scholarship and Programming at the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland College Park.

She joins Tom to discuss the massacre in Orlando and how issues of terrorism, gun control and bigotry against the LGBTQ, Latino and the Muslim communities intersect.  Dr. Parks also discusses presidential politics and how President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and other politicians are reacting to the Orlando massacre. 


As Maryland Morning focuses on the arts, Liz Lerman, a MacArthur award winning dancer and choreographer joins Tom to discuss her new appointment as a Professor in the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.

Then, Donald Hicken, longtime head of the theater department at the Baltimore School of the Arts is retiring. He joins to share his reflections after three and a half decades of changing young lives.  And, Sharayna Christmas is a dancer, writer and the executive director of Muse 360, an organization that works with youth to cultivate their interests in the arts. Next month, Muse 360 will be taking a group of young people from Baltimore City to Havana, Cuba where for two weeks they’ll study history, Spanish and dance. The trip is being put together in conjunction with The African Diaspora Alliance and Frederick Douglass High School. Sharayna and two of her students share their thoughts about the upcoming trip. 

MacArthur Foundation

MacArthur Award-winning dancer and choreographer Liz Lerman is the author of Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer and founder of the Dance Exchange

Lerman is also the creator of the Critical Response Process, a system of feedback that is designed to make artists want to go back and work. She’s dedicated her career to challenging notions of who can be a dancer and what dance can mean.  In August, Lerman will be leaving Baltimore to accept an appointment as a Professor in the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. Liz Lerman joins Tom in-studio to discuss her work as an artist and her new job at Arizona State University. She also explains why she believes that much of the public response to last year's Uprising has been misguided. 

Baltimore School for the Arts

Donald Hicken -- one of the most admired figures in the Baltimore theater community -- is retiring this week after a 36-year career heading the Theater Department at the Baltimore School for the Arts.  He helped plan the school back in the late 1970s, and in the years since, as the school has gained national renown, he’s worked to inspire and cultivate countless young talents. Some of his most well-known students include Jada Pinkett-Smith, Tupac Shakur, Tracie Thoms, and Josh Charles.  But for generations of School for the Arts graduates who landed in careers that didn’t put their names in lights, the experience of studying with Donald Hicken still shines brightly.  Donald Hicken joins Tom in the studio to reflect on his nearly four decades at the BSFA, and on the creative new projects that lie ahead.

Sharayna Christmas

Next month, 14 African-American young people will travel to Havana, Cuba to study dance, Spanish and history. The trip is being coordinated by Muse 360 and The African Diaspora Alliance.  According to a study by the Institute of International Education, only five percent of study abroad students are African-American at the college level, for high school students the numbers are even lower.  

To prepare for the two-week excursion students are taking classes and workshops to facilitate conversations about complex issues like systemic racism, health disparities, and manifestations of self-hate within communities of color. The program is designed to expose students to the world outside of Baltimore City while connecting them with the larger African Diaspora. 

Washington Post

In Baltimore City, approximately 25% of school-aged children drink one or more sodas per day. Should sugary drinks come with a label warning against the health risks? And, Prince’s death has been ruled an accidental overdose on the powerful drug fentanyl. In our monthly Healthwatch conversation, Baltimore City’s Health Commissioner Leana Wen, who is a leading voice against opioid abuse, joins Tom to discuss sugary drinks, prescription drug abuse and more. 

Tom then speaks with three local directors Katie Hileman, of the The Interrobang Theatre Company, Evan Moritz, of the Annex Theatre, and Genevieve de Mahy, of Single Carrot Theatre, about stepping out of the wings and onto the stage in Single Carrot Theatre’s Midlife. Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck has a review of Cohesion Theater’s production of Neverwhere.    Then we head over to Chestertown, Maryland, where residents are gearing up for their annual June 16th observance of Bloomsday, a celebration of James Joyce’s iconic work Ulysses. Bob Mooney, Professor of English and Creative Writing at Washington College, and actress Melissa McGlynn join Tom to share what folks can look forward to on Bloomsday.  

Bob Mooney, Melissa McGlynn

Literature lovers in Chestertown are gearing up for their 2nd annual Bloomsday, a celebration of Irish writer James Joyce’s seminal 1922 novel, Ulysses.  Bloomsday is named after the Blooms, the story's protagonist family. 

The novel takes place on June 16, 1904 and every year on that day literature fans and Joyce lovers around the world convene to mark the occasion with dramatic readings, discussions, food and drink.  Melissa McGlynn is an actress who will be performing an iconic passage from the novel known as "Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy" during the Bloomsday festivities.  Bob Mooney is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Washington College. He’ll be leading a discussion of the novel.  They both join Tom from Washington College in Chestertown to discuss the significance of Ulysses and what people can look forward to on Bloomsday. 

Baltimore‘s Promise is a consortium of civic leaders from government, philanthropy, business, education, and religious institutions who are trying to address the multiple challenges faced by so many children in the city of Baltimore.  There is no shortage of well-meaning people and programs aimed at improving outcomes for kids, but what programs and strategies best meet the needs of kids in a city with high levels of poverty. 

Patrick McCarthy, President and CEO of The Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Tomi Hiers on Baltimore’s Promise to our children.  And, Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck reviews Framed Illusion at the Theater Project through May 27.  Plus, for children who love to read, a handy guide to books for early and eager readers from Kathleen Isaacs, an expert on children’s literature.