Guest host Kate Burton presents three works about the roles of women. Margaret Atwood twists the tail of the fairy tale in "There Was Once," read by Jane Kaczmarek, Rene Auberjonois, and Zach Grenier. An actress is offered an unsympathetic part in "A Leading Role," by Tove Jansson, also read by Jane Kaczmarek. In Smith Henderson's "Treasure State," a young girl hitches a ride with runaway brothers. The reader is Michael Shannon.
Make 'Em Laugh: A Celebration of James Thurber
Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents a program celebrating the great American humorist in some of the many genres in which he was drop-dead funny. Thurber confesses that he’s all thumbs in “I Break Everything I Touch,” performed by Keith Olbermann. Who knew that The Bard wrote whodunnits? Find out who in “The Macbeth Murder Mystery,” performed by Michael McKean and Susannah Rogers. Kristen Nielsen, Susannah Rogers, and Keith Olbermann perform a selection of Thurber’s fables, and McKean reads “Many Moons,” Thurber’s charming fairy tale about a princess who wants the moon.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Guest host David Sedaris two stories about learning from your mistakes. Isaiah Sheffer reads Tobias Wolff’s “Mortals,” in which a botched obit leads to a life lesson. In Edwidge Danticat’s “Reading Lessons,” read by Marsha Stephanie Blake, it is the teacher who is taught.
Guest host Kate Burton presents four works reflecting on the experience of war. Lieutenant Colonel Chris Cohoes emailed his young sons while serving in Afghanistan. Matthew Modine reads one of his notes. A black soldier fights for independence during the Revolutionary War. Ruben Santiago-Hudson reads “A Soldier for the Crown” by Charles Johnson. In Robert Olen Butler’s “Mother in the Trenches,” a woman makes her way to France to be with her son. And Moacyr Scliar imagines war as just another day job in “Peace and War” read by Michael Cristofer.
1 hr 3 min
Dance in America
Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents works celebrating dance. A domineering mother uses an evening at the ballet to find fault in "My Mother Explains the Ballet to Me,” by Jesse Eisenberg, performed by Patricia Kalember. A pioneering African-American dancer remembers an audition in “Léonide Massine,” by Janet Collins, performed by Carmen de Lavallade. A magical garment transforms its owner in “The Cape,” by Ben Loory, performed by Tony Yazbeck. And the “Tango” undermines a stuffy WASP community in this funny story by Kurt Vonnegut, performed by Tony Shalhoub.
1 hr 6 min
I Did It My Way
Guest host Kirsten Vangsness presents four works about fame, celebrity, show biz, and what it takes to survive them. First, actor Cole Escola channels the legendary Joan Crawford in an excerpt from her autobiography, My Way of Life. Author Zadie Smith channels the dauntless spirit of Billie Holiday in “Crazy They Call Me,” performed by Karen Pittman. Will Eno’s “Interview" is a freewheeling monologue which offers both sides of an extensive and confessional outpouring performed by the author. And Bebe Neuwirth dances her way into our hearts playing a carefree child trapped in pretentious dance class in “I Am Narcissus,” by Elizabeth Olmstead.
Guest host Sonia Manzano presents three works about entering uncharted territories. An early John Updike fable, “The Different One,” imagines a bold bunny. It’s read by Michael Emerson. A gentrified town morphs into a dreamscape in Steven Millhauser’s “Coming Soon,” ready by David Morse. And Kirstin Valdez Quade’s essay “Youth From Every Quarter” looks at the harsher side of assimilation. It’s read by Manzano.