'This American Life' goes live
Ira Glass, host of the acclaimed radio show "This American Life," will "Return to the Scene of the Crime" for a special live event at 8 p.m. April 23 at Summerville's Regal Azalea Square Stadium 16, one of 400 theaters nationwide to receive the simulcast performance.
Glass dropped a few hints about the live show for The Post and Courier in an exclusive interview. Though he was mostly mum on the details, Glass said the lineup includes contributor Dan Savage and many show favorites who will profile actual crimes for the two-hour stage version of the radio show, which originates from New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
Listeners enjoyed the first-ever live version of the show performed on stage last year, and Glass said the show was flooded with e-mails asking for a return engagement. Last year's stage show was mostly a sneak preview of stories from "This American Life's" television edition on the
Showtime network, he said.
Glass said performing on stage, as opposed to in a radio studio behind a microphone, makes him feel naked in front of the crowd. He doesn't even really like being photographed, he said.
"I do get nervous," Glass said.
The show features fiction bits, but is primarily nonfiction and fans know it can be heartbreakingly sad or laugh-out-loud funny in the same broadcast. In May 2008, they won accolades for an episode, "The Giant Pool of Money," which highlighted the housing crisis, the breakdown on Wall Street, what went wrong and how to fix it.
Glass said that episode reported on the economy and captured the fears and the personalities behind the meltdown in a way not often done. The show's chatty presentation and the back and forth combined with tone and analysis added to the takeaway, he said. Past shows are available on the Web and in podcasts.
"This American Life," produced by Chicago Public Radio, debuted in 1995. Among its long list of awards are three Peabody, the duPont-Columbia and Edward R. Murrow awards.
The theater show is presented by NCM Fathom, produced by Chicago Public Radio and BY Experience Inc. in collaboration with Public Radio International.
"This American Life" can be heard on ETV Radio Classical NPR News formats on Fridays at 7 p.m. and on ETV Radio NPR News formats on Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.