The musicians in the orchestra for Phantom of the Opera tell reporter Jay Caspian Kang about what it’s like to play the exact same music every single night—for decades—and how they’ve learned to make their peace with it. (22 minutes)
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Parents try to shape who we are in their own image. Producer Neil Drumming spoke to Adam Mansbach, who tried to make his daughter fall in love with hip-hop.
New Yorker staff writer Kelefa Sanneh tells the story of exorcist Bob Larson’s trip into the world of heavy metal.
Producer Neil Drumming talks with the rapper Breeze Brewin about a toy car they both loved playing with as kids: The General Lee from the hit TV show The Dukes of Hazzard. Breeze went on to record a song called “Generally” about The General Lee with his group the Juggaknots.
A group called Improv Everywhere decides that an unknown band, Ghosts of Pasha, playing their first ever tour in New York, ought to think they're a smash hit. So they study the band's music and then crowd the performance, pretending to be hard-core fans.
Musician David Berkeley has gotten a lot of requests in his life, but none quite like the offer his agent got last year. A fan wanted Berkeley to come to his house and help save his relationship by serenading the troubled couple with a personal concert.
Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott have a podcast called "U Talkin' U2 To Me" that is all about the band U2. Scott and Adam love U2.
Host Ira Glass, with a recording of a 1962 Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr., appearance at the Villa Venice, a club outside Chicago. What's fascinating about Sinatra is how he is so many different people at once, and they're all on display in this recording: sentimental crooner, cruel woman-baiter, bully, goofball.
Gay Talese reads from his classic 1966 Esquire article, in which he followed around Sinatra at the height of Sinatra's power.
Before Sinatra died, Sarah Vowell appeared on this radio program and made a prediction about how network news would cover Sinatra's death ... and she made a simple plea. We hear whether her prediction came true.
Ira and music contributor John Conners on Sinatra's worst songs. And a brief history of what makes that 1950s Sinatra sound so great, with Will Friedwald, author of the definitive book on Sinatra's music, Sinatra! The Song Is You: A Singer's Art.
Michael Ventura, who grew up Sicilian in New York, says that as a kid he thought Sinatra was in his family. His book The Death of Frank Sinatra is not really about Sinatra.
An odd occurrence at 124 East Fourth Street in Manhattan's East Village. For the last five weeks, a singer named Nick Drakides has stood on the stoop singing Sinatra songs late at night to the delight of his neighbors.
Carin Gilfry explains how she once accidentally locked herself in a hotel closet, and because today’s show is being broadcast from an opera house stage, Ira is able to take the story to a place he never usually can.
Lin-Manuel Miranda turns a piece of reporting we broadcast in 2012, into a 14-minute Broadway mini-musical, created by people who normally work on Broadway.
Sara Corbett's father-in-law Dick is 81. And he's become obsessed with a limbo most of us hate – the music he hears whenever he's on hold.
There are about seventy thousand Americans living in mainland China today, according to the Chinese and US governments. A lot of the Americans in China only stay for a few years, but then there are others — American ex-pats who’ve lived in China for a decade or more with no foreseeable plans to come home.
Famous people are supposed to be somewhere else, invisible to us. Comedian Tig Notaro tells this story about repeatedly running into Taylor Dayne, who was a pop star in the late 80s and early 90s.
Host Ira Glass speaks with musician Kristy Kruger about the unique way she dealt with a recent breakup.
Nubar Alexanian was forced to give up one thing—and then gave up another thing by choice. This story was put together by Nubar and his daughter Abby, with help from Jay Allison, for Transom.org, with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Host Ira Glass talks about the infamous line in the band Van Halen's contract insisting that the groups' dressing room include a bowl of M&Ms with all the brown M&Ms removed. Ira used to think this request was just petulant rock-star behavior.
We end our program with an original song by comedian Dave Hill. Dave is backed up on guitar by Doug Gillard of the bands Guided by Voices and Nada Surf.
Producer Jane Feltes speaks with Adam Vickers, one of the owners of Vickers Music in the town of Douglas.
A hedge fund named Magnetar comes up with an elaborate plan to make money. It sponsors the creation of complicated and ultimately toxic financial securities...while at the same time betting against the very securities it helped create. Planet Money's Alex Blumberg teams up with two investigative reporters from ProPublica, Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger, to tell the story.