Bob Mondello

Courtesy Photo

Thursday, we’re talking about one of the great classics of American theater, A Streetcar Named Desire. It was 70 years ago when Marlon Brando first played Stanley Kowalski on Broadway, but the themes of sexual violence, homophobia, addiction, and family strife still resonate today. A new production at Salt Lake City’s Grand Theatre opens this week, so we’re exploring Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece and how it’s become, as one guest puts it, enshrined in America’s psyche.

Wednesday, we’re talking about August Wilson, one of the great American playwrights … period. That doesn’t need the qualifier that he was a black playwright. But his plays were about the black experience in this country, and one of his masterpieces was Fences. Denzel Washington’s film version is now in theaters, and the stage version has just opened at Pioneer Theatre Company. We’re taking the opportunity to talk about the heart breaking beauty of August Wilson’s work.

Gary Oakeson

Tuesday, we're taking on full-puppet nudity with the musical Avenue Q and a look at the history of puppetry. Muppet-style characters may remind you of Sesame Street, but with songs like "The Internet Is For Porn," it's obvious Avenue Q is not for kids. The scholar Eileen Blumenthal says it's only been a century since puppets were "ghettoized" to children's entertainment. Doug talks to Blumenthal and others about a craft and tradition that may have you thinking differently about your cuddly puppet friends.

Hamlet

Oct 16, 2012

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is staging Hamlet in Cedar City and it's giving us the chance to talk about the Bard's great tragedy. Among our guests is the scholar Eric Rasmussen, who says the play has not lost any relevance over 400 years. Even as he watches the Presidential debates, Rasmussen sees the question that faces Hamlet: which do you value more - action or measured contemplation? We'll talk about how Hamlet has been understood over time and what it still has to teach us today.