Monday, August 11, 2008

Hello NPR, are you listening?

When I last checked, which was actually just a few seconds ago, I had 191 podcasts waiting for me in iTunes. I'm compulsive about collecting them, not so compulsive about listening to them, apparently. To be fair, some I have listened to, I just haven't gotten around to deleting them. Some, I will probably just delete without listening.

Anyway, I'm always looking for more. I'm beginning to find out what a great source National Public Radio is for theatre-related feature stories. Unfortunately, I can't always be in my car or at my computer listening to them.

There is a performing arts page on NPR's Web site, which seems to be updated fairly regularly. Among the recent segments I missed:

A story by legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg on Laurence Fishburne's performance in Thurgood;

How the overture is making a comeback on Broadway in revivals like Gypsy and South Pacific;

A look back at the career of Mel Brooks, who talks about Young Frankenstein and a potential stage version of Blazing Saddles; and a look forward in the career of Tony-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda from In the Heights;

An interview with Mark Rylance, Tony winner for his performance in Boeing Boeing, about the possibility that Shakespeare didn't write all of the plays attributed to him;

An interview with Morgan Freeman from April, when he was on Broadway in The Country Girl, that looks back on some of his other stage roles;

A story about the Denver Center Theatre Company and its mission to stage full-fledged productions of works by new playwrights;

A witty essay by novelist Marc Acito on the allure of musicals and the joys of singing out loud, in public, whenever the urge strikes him;

From In Character, which examines memorable American characters, there's Auntie Mame and Troy Maxson, from August Wilson's Fences. Actually, there are a lot of characters from the world of theatre in this series: Blanche DuBois, Willy Loman, Mama Rose.

There are lots more, and it can be difficult to keep track of them. What I need is a weekly podcast of all the theatre stories from all of its programs, like NPR assembles for segments on books and movies and music.

If someone from the programming department is reading this, it doesn't have to be long - 30 minutes or so would be great - that's half of my workout on the treadmill.

And no, that's not me huffing and puffing in the drawing. Because obviously, it's the wrong gender, the person isn't wearing headphones, I don't own a lime green exercise outfit and, most importantly, I only wish I could work that hard!


trey graham said...

Hi Esther --

Sure, we're listening. What, you think we just talk?


I'm one of the Web producers who puts out the arts-focused stuff for; In Character is my project, and I produced several of the other pages you referenced, so imagine how pleased I am to know you're out there.

I'll pass on the suggestion; can't promise it'll happen, 'cause those decisions get made a bit further up the food chain.

But your request may well inspire someone to look at the traffic numbers and see if we(a) have a big enough audience and (b) produce enough theater stories to justify the hosting and bandwidth costs for a weekly podcast.

Meanwhile: I imagine you know this already, but just in case you hadn't noticed, I wanted to point out that you can use the "Hear all stories from this page" link on the Performing Arts page (or any other topic page) to queue all the stories up in the Web-based player.

That way, you can stream all of the stories in sequence while you're ironing, or doing dishes, or brushing the dog, or something. Not quite a podcast, I know, but it's almost like listening to your own personalized, arts-focused NPR show.



Esther said...

Wow, thank-you very much for responding! You'll be pleased to know that NPR is the only station I listen to on the radio! (I get WRNI in Providence).

I'm a big fan of the book and movie podcasts. But until I checked today, I didn't realize how many theater stories you do. So I figured you could just easily package them into a podcast. But honestly, I didn't realize that there was a cost involved in hosting and bandwith. Duh!

Anyway, that's a good idea about streaming the stories in sequence. I do iron occasionally! Or, I could always listen while I'm working on a blog post. ;-)