Episode #17

Jon Robin Baitz

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Monday, June 04, 2012

Jon Robin Baitz is a playwright who admits that writing plays is tricky. He’s a snob for Broadway, where the cachet and laughs are bigger. But deep down, this award-winning playwright considers it a privilege to be working in American theater at all. Alec speaks to Baitz about his Broadway debut play, Other Desert Cities, that came from a place of despair and lossand his own personal experience writing for television in Hollywood.

Hosted by:

Alec Baldwin

Produced by:

Emily Botein and Kathie Russo

Comments [13]

J. Korman from NYC

"Here's the Thing" is terrific.... Alec Baldwin is a superb interviewer - not just the usual
interviewer. He brings a deep personal note to the interchanges, and seems to bring out the
most wonderful intimate, thoughtful responses. His discussion with musical artists etc.
are so authentic, insightful and evocative of professional scenes and experiences This is great and real radio.
Please don't mess with it or make it a trendily "interactive" call in show. Baldwin should be proud of this.

Oct. 21 2012 08:14 PM
Rave from Westchester

This week, Alec talks with documentary filmmakers Anthony Baxter and Dylan Avery – each of whom has made a controversial political films,

check grammer please

Aug. 17 2012 04:35 AM
Dextermydove from Los Angeles

I could listen to Alec Baldwin read the phone book. Be that as it may, I'm also grateful to have the chance to hear his thoughts, to experience his enjoyment of this project of interviewing guests, and to hear the way in which he relates to them. And I've listened to his interview with Jon Robin Baitz multiple times. As an artist, the open discussion of betrayal, loss, and finding a path back into creativity resonated with me personally.
All I can say is sometimes the interviews are too short. MORE MORE MORE PLEASE!

Aug. 06 2012 07:53 PM
John from Washington, DC

Another bit of quality podcasting. Keep up the good work, Alec. Since the podcast seems to track people you have worked with, I would strongly suggest Liev Schriber as a guest. Also, I think you would have a blast with Craig Furgeson. Of course, I am partial to drunks. Then again, I'd bet many of your loyal followers are.

Jun. 25 2012 02:08 PM
Bill from Kalamazoo

It'd be interesting to have someone interview you, Alec.

Jun. 19 2012 04:35 PM
PDGFD from Sydney, 'Oz'

Dear Mr Baldwin,
Firstly, congrats on a 'show' well worth the time of listening (no mean feat considering that's more than can be said for much coming down the various airwaves these days... but I digress...)
A pleasure to hear from Mr. Baitz this week. I'm unfamiliar with his work, but shall 'look out for him' in (and from) 'Oz'.
I was saddened (... too dramatic, maybe mildly dismayed) to hear you say something to the effect that the theatre (as opposed to film or TV) was the only place where one encounters 'truth' any more.
Mmm... I've never worked in film (avid consumer, and sidelines dweller), but I spent almost 2 decades working in theatre. I think the difference for the practitioner may lie in the 'family' of folks gathered together, all of whom are sharply focussed on that opening night deadline... the one that all the participants heave the rope for, and all of whom wear 'the egg' if it doesn't come off (+ let's face it, theatre folks are better than actual family - at least you have something in common with them... but I digress... again).
Perhaps you may nudge your agent to track down a few Australian film Directors to restore your faith in film... yes, 'Oz' films can be just as 'commercial' + crass etc as their USA counterparts, and yes, I'm bored rigid by the 'we're all doomed, drugs and prostitutes' and the 'serve up the grunge + sex' genres... but... last year I 'caught' one that frankly smacked of everything I love about the theatre. As for truthful? Almost brutally so, darkly accurate and funny to boot.
I gather it shall be 'winging it's way' to New York shortly... early September in NY if the press can be believed... take the time (get an invite, why not?)... I assure you it shan't be a waste of your 90 minutes (whatever) in the darkness...
It's... The Eye of The Storm (Director= Fred Schepisi: 'Actrines' = Judy Davis, Geoffrey Rush, Charlotte Rampling etc. Script by Judy Morris, based on the novel by Patrick White - and look HIS work up if you like word-smithery by the way!)
Here's a hint... in the very last minutes... watch 'Dorothy' ... can't 'spoil it', but, if you want truth... an almost perfect rendering of same from Actor, Director + writer.
Split seconds are all the talented need to 'bring us back' to something reflective, revealing and meaningful (too much? Stick with 'truth then)..
(Almost made me want to go back to work with actors again... on the other hand.... maybe not, he he).
Again... thanks for your time + that of all those who assist you at WNYC... we wait with bated breath for (well... we look forward to...) the 'bing' that heralds each new podcast.

Jun. 14 2012 10:55 AM
Cabbage1979 from Canada

I don't unerstand if there's a special policy regarding guests, but in my opinion an interview with great actor Christopher Plummer could be a good idea, he could have much to say since he've been acting for many many decades now...

Jun. 10 2012 03:53 PM
kevin from upper LS

i don't find it surprizing at all, that alec, "allowed", room for baitz to speak. it's about the cadence and rhythm of the person being interviewed. alec is very flexible. so, i get annoyed,for example, when people write that he did not let kristen wiig,speak. No! he's adapting to the cadence of the other. with wiig,it was an open give and take, rapid fire back and forth. can't you all see this ?

Jun. 09 2012 07:56 AM
Andy Hurvitz from Los Angeles, CA

I think this is one of the best interviews I've heard in a while.
Surprisingly, Mr. Baldwin allowed Mr. Baitz space, speaking time, and room to ruminate.
I learned a great deal about the playwright which goes far in explaining his views and his creations.

Jun. 06 2012 01:01 PM
MHM from Upper East Side, Manhattan, NYC

Hello Alec, I don't have or watch a TV so I've never really seen you on SNL or 30 Rock nor do I fully understand the hype. But I am an avid reader of the NY Times, and the New Yorker, moviegoer, theater goer, and public radio listener. And I am super impressed that someone of your stature is giving your time and voice to public radio and, just as importantly, to NYC. These pieces are full of depth yet entertaining, and your help with the pledge drives is welcoming. You have a great capacity to draw out your interviewee and give the listener the feeling they have been a part of a very intimate conversation - keep it up!

Jun. 05 2012 05:59 PM
anniejcornelia from Upper Darby

Mr. Baldwin's interview with Mr. Baitz can also be summed up by the words of the writers of 30 Rock and those words are "Smooth move Ferguson".Mr. Baitz being a writer himself can make sense of those words like the viewers of 30 Rock had to.

Jun. 05 2012 03:34 PM
Joannie from L.I., N.Y.

Interesting! Interesting!! Interesting!!! Alec, I found your interview with Jon Robin Baitz very entertaining. I enjoyed listening to it very much. Once again, as always, Alec, you have proven to be a master when it comes to conducting an interview! Looking forward to your next interview.

Jun. 05 2012 10:11 AM

I am not getting a clear picture of who Mr. Baitz is. He obviously is a very talented writer who comes off in an interview as a government witness witholding information.

Jun. 05 2012 01:16 AM

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