Jeff Lunden

Jeff Lunden is a freelance arts reporter and producer whose stories have been heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, as well as on other public radio programs.

Lunden contributed several segments to the Peabody Award-winning series The NPR 100, and was producer of the NPR Music series Discoveries at Walt Disney Concert Hall, hosted by Renee Montagne. He has produced more than a dozen documentaries on musical theater and Tin Pan Alley for NPR — most recently A Place for Us: Fifty Years of West Side Story.

Other documentaries have profiled George and Ira Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Lorenz Hart, Harold Arlen and Jule Styne. Lunden has won several awards, including the Gold Medal from the New York Festival International Radio Broadcasting Awards and a CPB Award.

Lunden is also a theater composer. He wrote the score for the musical adaptation of Arthur Kopit's Wings (book and lyrics by Arthur Perlman), which won the 1994 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical. Other works include Another Midsummer Night, Once on a Summer's Day and adaptations of The Little Prince and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for Theatreworks/USA.

Lunden is currently working with Perlman on an adaptation of Swift as Desire, a novel of magic realism from Like Water for Chocolate author Laura Esquivel. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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4:33pm

Tue April 7, 2015
Theater

Bill Nighy And David Hare Team Up Again In 'Skylight' Revival

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 7:54 pm

Bill Nighy is starring a revival of David Hare's 1995 drama Skylight. "I adore it. It's probably my favorite play," he says.
John Haynes Philip Rinaldi Publicity

Actor Bill Nighy is best known in the U.S. for his appearances in films such as Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean. But in England, he's a well-known stage actor, and one of his most successful collaborations is with playwright David Hare. They're together again on Broadway in a revival of Hare's 1995 drama, Skylight.

The actor and the writer first worked together on a television movie in 1980 and they've been working on and off ever since.

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6:05am

Sun March 8, 2015
Theater

Helen Mirren Extends Her Elizabethan Reign In 'The Audience'

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 1:08 pm

Helen Mirren (in blue) plays Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience, a play that imagines the private conversations between the queen and her prime ministers.
Joan Marcus Courtesy of Boneau/Bryan-Brown

The last time Dame Helen Mirren and author Peter Morgan collaborated, it was for the movie The Queen, and she took home an Oscar. Now the two are working together again, this time on a play called The Audience. It's about the relationship between Queen Elizabeth II and her prime ministers. A hit in London, the play is opening Sunday at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway.

The Audience begins with a Buckingham Palace officer named "The Equerry," who tells the theater audience what it's about to see.

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4:03pm

Mon February 16, 2015
Code Switch

One Playwright's 'Obligation' To Confront Race And Identity In The U.S.

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 7:35 pm

Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins may be only 30 years old, but he's already compiled an impressive resume. His theatrical works, which look at race and identity in America, have been performed in New York and around the country. Last year, Jacobs-Jenkins won the best new American play Obie Award for two of his works, Appropriate and An Octoroon.

An Octoroon is currently playing at Theater for a New Audience in New York.

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4:40pm

Fri January 30, 2015
Theater

One-Man Show Casts 'Brilliant' Light On Realities Of Suicide, Depression

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 10:15 am

Every Brilliant Thing, starring Jonny Donahoe, follows a son's efforts to fight his mother's deep depression.
Matthew Murphy Courtesy of O&M Co.

Imagine going to a small, off-Broadway theater for a one-person show that relies heavily on audience participation — and it's all about depression and suicide. That might sound like a theatrical nightmare, but the show in question — Every Brilliant Thing, currently playing at the Barrow Street Theatre — is also very funny and has been getting rave reviews.

"Normally, I loathe that kind of thing," says Ben Brantley, the chief drama critic for The New York Times.

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5:34pm

Tue January 20, 2015
Theater

How Broadway Is Losing Its 'Middle Ground'

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 11:03 am

Side Show tells the true story of conjoined twins who go from a freak show to vaudeville and try, unsuccessfully, to find love along the way. "We just did not get enough bodies and butts in seats that translate into word of mouth," says Side Show producer Darren Bagert. Above (from left): Ryan Silverman, Emily Padgett, Erin Davie and Matthew Hydzik.
Joan Marcus O+M Co.

Broadway is New York's biggest tourist attraction and brought in $1.3 billion in ticket sales last season. But it's also a high-stakes gamble for producers, since only 1 in 4 Broadway shows turns a profit. This month, two of the fall's most highly anticipated musicals, a revival of Side Show and The Last Ship, with songs by Sting, have thrown in the towel — closing, having lost almost their entire investments.

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5:11pm

Mon December 8, 2014
Arts & Life

Don't Let The Kasha Vanish: Diners Band Together To Save Café Edison

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 10:49 am

The Café Edison serves what might be called Jewish soul food — blintzes, matzoh ball soup and kasha varnishkes.
Jeff Lunden

Yesterday, about 50 protestors — and some media outlets — gathered on West 47th Street near Times Square for a rally to save the Café Edison, a diner whose clientele includes everyone from Broadway luminaries to tourists. People carried signs, local politicians spoke, and a quartet sang — to the tune of "Silver Bells" — an ode to the cafe's matzoh balls.

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4:18pm

Tue December 2, 2014
Performing Arts

Lyricist Adolph Green's Influence Remains 100 Years After His Birth

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 2:48 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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7:21am

Sun November 23, 2014
Theater

Reviving 'Allegro': Even Rodgers And Hammerstein Had Flops

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 2:42 pm

A commentary on the American dream, Allegro tells the story of Joe Taylor Jr., a small-town doctor who moves to Chicago.
Rodgers & Hammerstein

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II may have been one of the most successful writing teams in Broadway history — think of Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music, just to name a couple of their hits.

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3:17am

Tue October 7, 2014
Theater

The Unadaptable 'Curious Incident' Gets A Stage Adaptation

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:37 pm

Alex Sharp stars as 15-year-old Christopher in the theater adaptation of Mark Haddon's 2003 novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

British novelist Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time became an international best-seller after it was published in England in 2003. The book is told entirely from the perspective of a brilliant 15-year-old boy who happens to be autistic, and a stage adaptation, which has been an award-winning hit in London, just opened on Broadway to rave reviews.

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10:29am

Sun October 5, 2014
Theater

Seeing Neurological Patients As Characters, Not Case Studies

Originally published on Sun October 5, 2014 1:51 pm

Kathryn Hunter, Jared McNeill and Marcello Magni star in The Valley of Astonishment.
Pascal Victor/ArtComArt

Peter Brook is truly the grand old man of world theater. He became famous with his productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the early 1960s; wrote the seminal theater text The Empty Space; and started the International Centre for Theatre Research in Paris, where he developed such plays as the nine-hour adaptation of the Sanskrit epic, The Mahabharata.

Now, at the age of 89, Brook has brought his company to Brooklyn with a new play all about the mysteries of the human brain.

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