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Your favorite actors bringing great stories to life.
19 hours ago
Celebrating Toni Morrison
Guest host Tayari Jones helps us to celebrate this American master, who died in 2019. Her novels, including Beloved, Jazz and Song of Solomon, have become an indelible part of the American canon. Her fierce, poetic visions earned her the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was also an editor, advocate, teacher, and mother. This program features her essay “A Knowing So Deep,” read by Jones; an excerpt from The Bluest Eye, read by Anika Noni Rose; an excerpt from Jazz, read by S. Epatha Merkerson; “Sweetness,” read by Phylicia Rashad, and a tribute by Fran Lebowitz.
1 hr 14 min
4 days ago
Too Hot For Radio: Mona Simpson "Wrong Object"
Mona Simpson is the author of six books including Anywhere But Here, My Hollywood and Casebook. Her Too Hot For Radio story features a therapist, a patient, and one uniquely inappropriate relationship.This story was originally published in Harper’s and selected by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All The Light You Cannot See, Anthony Doerr, for The Best American Short Stories 2019 for which he served as the guest editor. Read by the incomparable Cynthia Nixon, the story can be described as moving, unsettling, disturbing, but above all else, captivating.
Jun 25, 2020
Shout it Out: The Stonewall Uprising at 50
Guest host Denis O’Hare helps us mark the landmark event that helped give birth to the modern movement for LGBTQIA+ rights in America. We first hear eyewitness accounts of the riots, drawn from The Stonewall Reader. Additional works include Perry Brass’s “We Did It”; poems by Kay Ulanday Barrett; and Gary Eldon Peter’s story “Wedding.” Readers include Ivory Aquino, Kate Bornstein, Michael Early, Beth Malone, Kay Ulanday Barrett, and John Benjamin Hickey.
Jun 18, 2020
Guest host Hope Davis presents two stories in which things get out of hand. Rumors and recriminations fly in “Belles Lettres,” by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, as rival mothers defend their daughters’ reputations at a posh school--at any cost. The readers are Eboni Booth, Shalewa Sharpe, and Mary Karr. And we hear Shirley Jackson’s lighter side in “About Two Nice People,” in which neighbors seem to be getting mixed messages from one another. The readers are Lilli Cooper, Ethan Slater, and Julie Halston.
Jun 11, 2020
Not Your Mother’s Love Stories
Guest host Dennis O’Hare presents two unorthodox love stories at a time when we could all use a little love. British writer Jane Gardam twists Hans Christian Andersen’s tale in a saucy reboot of “The Little Mermaid.” Her version, “The Pangs of Love,” is read by Jane Kaczmarek. And Sharon Gless performs “Hat Trick,” by Edith Pearlman, in which four young girls choose husbands by chance.
Jun 4, 2020
More Funny Favorites from Andy Borowitz
Guest host Andy Borowitz intros four hilarious pieces featured in his anthology The 50 Funniest American Writers. James Naughton reads S.J. Perelman’s noir parody “Farewell, My Lovely Appetizer;” Susan Orlean complains about idle tots in “Shiftless Little Loafers,” read by Dave Hill; old-time radio is revealed in Jean Shepherd’s “The Counterfeit Secret Circle Member Gets the Message,” read by Isaiah Sheffer; and one woman’s all-nighter, in Jenny Allen’s “Awake,” read by Jane Kaczmarek.
May 31, 2020
Too Hot For Radio: Stories by Elizabeth Crane and Michael Czyniejewski
Our friend Michael Ian Black is back to host a twofer Too Hot For Radio episode. First up is actor K. Todd Freeman reading“Pregnant with Peanut Butter” by Michael Czyniejewski. Czyniejewski is the author of three story collections, including Our Bedroom and I Will Love You for the Rest of My Life: Breakup Stories. Performing this story is an actor known for everything from multiple appearances on Broadway to Buffy the Vampire SlayertoA Series of Unfortunate Events. Elizabeth Crane is the author of our second story, the unusual and funny “Colonel Sanders Has a Choice (Lives His Best Life)." Crane has written six books including the novel The History of Great Things and the story collection Turf. Our performer is the multi-hyphenate Busy Phillips, who acted in TV shows such as Freaks & Geeks and had her own late-night show Busy Tonight. Stay tuned at the end of the show for a great talk between Michael and Elizabeth discussing the origins of her story and her outlook on life.
May 28, 2020
Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents three stories with surprising twists and turns, a reminder that surprises can still be entertaining, even though the world has changed in unpredictable ways. A wife finds something unexpected in her local thrift shop in “Second Hand,” by Andres Neuman. The story is performed by Kaczmarek. Dawn Powell’s “Dinner on the Rocks” is an elegant comedy of bad manners, performed by Christina Pickles. And the salesman in Hubert Selby Jr.’s “Fortune Cookie” thinks he’s found a formula for success. Michael Imperioli is the reader.
May 21, 2020
I Am America
Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents stories, essays, and poems, and speeches celebrating America’s diversity and wealth of stories, at a time when we need to know we are together, even when we are apart. An aging father ponders his life in Elizabeth Strout’s “The Walk,” read by Ellen Burstyn. The whole country’s talking in Susan Minot’s “Listen,” read by Jennifer Ikeda and Khris Lewin. Julia Alvarez faces prejudice and finds her voice in “Speak! Speak!” read by Selenis Leyva, and Henry Louis Gates introduces works by 19th-century African-American women writers.
May 14, 2020
Fractured Fairy Tales
Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents two stories based on fairy tales. We need good stories more than ever now. Traditional fairy tales always have a lesson, and these new versions are guaranteed to offer up some pearls about staying strong in difficult times. First, a story about an unconventional princess. Jane Kaczmarek performs Jeanne Desy’s “The Princess Who Stood On Her Own 2 Feet.” And Brazilian feminist writer Clarice Lispector shares a wealthy woman’s moment of truth in “Beauty and the Beast or The Enormous Wound,” performed by Kate Burton.
Apr 27, 2020
Too Hot For Radio: Hilary Mantel "The Long QT"
We're rebroadcasting one of our earlier episodes in honor of the long-awaited publication of The Mirror & the Light, author Hilary Mantel's final chapter of the trilogy she began with her peerless, Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. We found this story in her often wicked short story collection The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher. “The Long QT” features a standard, modern-day dilemma that delivers an entirely unexpected sort of fright at the end. Host Aparna Nancherla chats with champion open water swimmer, Lynne Cox, a real life survivor of the disorder Mantel's story is based upon. Read by actress Joanne Whalley.