The Best Stories of the Year, courtesy of Studio 360.
Friday, December 25, 2009
A studio visit with composer Marvin Hamlisch. A retirement home for former entertainers. A debate about race in the theater. Those were some of the top stories from Kurt Andersen, and Studio 360, this year.
The Lillian Booth Home in Englewood, New Jersey is a retirement home for former entertainers. Studio 360 met some residents that are not done performing.
Crime novels like L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia gave James Ellroy a reputation as the best modern noir writer around. His latest, Blood's A Rover, is filled with political corruption and intrigue, making it clear that the hard-boiled Ellroy isn't ready to go over easy just yet.
Hamlisch sat down at the piano recently and conjured up the melodies from his long list of musical credits. He's the composer behind the musical "A Chorus Line" and the movie "The Sting," among others. His latest effort is the soundtrack for the new film, "The Informant!" To come up with the signature riff for "The Informant!," Hamlisch had to get inside the mind of a bipolar corporate whistleblower.
“Joe Turner's Come and Gone” is part of August Wilson's ten-play cycle about African-American life in Pittsburgh. It returned to Broadway for the first time since the playwright's death in 2005 and was nominated for six Tony awards. But controversy and anger surrounded the selection of a white director for the play, Bartlett Sher. Kurt Andersen spoke with directors in the black theater community and with August Wilson's widow, who says critics misunderstood his position.
Alec Duffy won the rights to an unreleased Sufjan Stevens song. Rather than posting it online, Duffy shared the song via private listening parties (complete with cookies) in his home. "It is a little bit twee," he said. "But we felt like it was also appropriate to the music." The decision earned him a few enemies.