Writer Ralph Allen returns to Fresh Air to talk about his new musical Sugar Babies and the history of burlesque, and to tell his favorite jokes from that tradition. Fresh Air listeners call in to join the conversation.
Sheldon Harnick spent years building his reputation as a lyricist before he began collaborating with composer Jerry Bock. He talks to Terry Gross about honing his craft and two of his most significant works, Fiorello! and Fiddler on the Roof.
Kirkwood wrote the book for the musical A Chorus Line and has just published a new novel, P.S. Your Cat Is Dead! He talks about his approach to his craft and the impact various love affairs have had on his life.
Leonard Nimoy wrote, produced, and now acts in the one-man show Vincent, in which he portrays Theo van Gogh, brother of the famous painter. He also shares his experiences as a film actor and the impact his celebrity has had on his personal life.
Actor Molly Picon grew up in the Yiddish theater. Her husband Jacob Kalich helped manage her career. She explains how performing for children who survived the Holocaust affected her, and her later experiences in film.
Sammy Cahn is a prolific lyricist who wrote countless classic songs, including for musicals and films. He explains how he hears words in melodies and shares anecdotes about his many collaborations over the years.
Vernel Bagneris is a playwright, actor, and dancer. He wrote, directed, and acts in the musical "One Mo' Time," now playing in Philadelphia. The musical is set in 1920s' New Orleans and draws heavily on the jazz from that time and place. It centers around a touring group of vaudevillians performing at the segregated Lyric Theater. Bagneris describes it as a "piece on Black theater history." He joins the show to discuss the musical, the black vaudeville circuit, black face, and the benefits of live performance.
Actor, Herschel Bernardi currently stars as Tavia in a production of "Fiddler on the Roof," currently playing at the Academy of Music. He joins the show to discuss his career in theater, film, and television. (INTERVIEW BY DANNY MILLER)