In this new kind of interview show, Randy Cohen talks to guests about a person, a place, and a thing they find meaningful. The result: surprising stories from great talkers. Learn more at http://personplacething.org/
She is the author of The Detroit Project, a three-play cycle, and the Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud--The Life and Times of the Temptations, another kind of Detroit story. Even at its most ferocious, her work is suffused with love. “Love is not approval or agreement or acquiescence. Love is challenge, love is provocation, agitation, and pushing us toward being better.” It’s exhausting, but it’s love.
She directed and designed costumes for the stage version of The Lion King, seen by 90 million people in 100 cities, attributing its success, in part, to its use of puppets. “I actually think people are often more touched by a puppet’s gesture than a human’s.” Make up your own Trump/Putin joke.
When the admired writer -- Election, Little Children, The Leftovers -- was off at college, he got some unsettling news from his beloved cousin Mike: “He was a really talented indie rocker, but he ended up with a bunch of his friends playing in a wedding band.” This became the basis for The Wishbones, whose protagonist regards such bands as emitting “the unmistakable odor of mediocrity.” The cruel judgment of youth. The deeper sympathy of later life.
André De Shields
This fine performer -- Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Wiz, Hadestown -- notes that Shakespeare has much to say about our times, including: “Macbeth is seen as a great killing machine,” alluding to the virus, the police, or the president. We find the metaphors we need. Our first episode made with Broadway on Demand, the video version can be seen – seen! – on their site beginning 9/14 and heard on ours immediately and on the radio any minute now.
Sir Roger Bannister
A neurologist, he kept a phrenology head in his office as a reminder of human folly. “The human mind is filled with instances of ridiculous ideas which have taken hold.” And by the way, in the spring of 1954, he became the first man to run a four-minute-mile. A conversation from our vault, refurbished to meet todays demanding standards. In audio quality if not in political leadership.
Susie Essman recut
She’s best known for her sharp and funny portrayal of the foul-mouthed Susie Greene on Curb Your Enthusiasm, an overnight success she achieved after decades as a working comic. We met when she did the warmup for The Rosie O’Donnell Show, displaying the rare ability to induce laughter in the morning. A recut conversation from 2011.