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.

Christmas is coming, and soon TV screens everywhere will light up with that 1946 holiday classic, It's a Wonderful Life . But the same story is coming a little early to the stage of the Houston Grand Opera . That's right: An operatic version of George Bailey's struggle with life and death opens this Friday. Librettist Gene Scheer admits that adapting such a beloved movie has sometimes felt like a fool's errand. "It's almost secular scripture, this piece," he says. "Everyone...

Decades before he became a best-selling children's book author, Dr. Seuss, a.k.a. Theodor Geisel, created a series of sculptures he called his "Unorthodox Taxidermy." Using real horns, beaks and antlers, he fashioned whimsical creatures which look like they jumped right out of his books. A traveling show of replicas, called "If I Ran the Zoo" , has landed at a gallery in Long Island. Today we bring you that story (how else?) in verse: When Dr. Seuss was three — or two,

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Long before there was "Transparent" or "Modern Family," there was "Falsettos," a frank, funny musical about a Jewish New Yorker who leaves his wife and son for a man. This causes big reverberations in his family. The show, parts of which are 35 years old, is getting a revival on Broadway. Jeff Lunden has this report on how well it's held up, but first a note - you'll hear slang from the '80s which some consider...

There are few living theater directors who can convince audiences to stay up all night watching the staging of a Sanskrit poem. But 30 years ago, director Peter Brook did just that. He put on what came to be known as one of the great theater events of the 20th century: The Mahabharata . It was nine hours long, and it was epic . Now, inspired by the civil war in Syria, the 91-year-old director has decided to re-explore a part of that poem — but this time he's thinking small....

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: The best way to enjoy this next story is if you listen through headphones. It's about "The Encounter," a new Broadway show. It uses three-dimensional sound effects to take the audience deep into the Amazon. Jeff Lunden reports. JEFF LUNDEN, BYLINE: Every audience member at "The Encounter" gets a pair of headphones. SIMON MCBURNEY: OK, I'm just going to test your headphones, just check them. And Helen's going to...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Edward Albee, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? among many others, died Friday at the age of 88 following a short illness, according to his longtime personal assistant. Albee didn't particularly like it when people asked him what his plays were "about." As he wrote in a 2007 letter to the audience of Me, Myself and I, that question made him "become uncooperative — and occasionally downright hostile." Albee acknowledged that...

In September 1993 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn. It was an iconic moment — two mortal enemies had come to terms on a historic peace agreement. That agreement was forged during months of secret back-channel talks in Norway. A new off-Broadway play, OSLO , looks at this little-known part of the peace process. The most important piece of scenery in OSLO is a door: On one...

Avant garde theater director Rachel Chavkin's career is exploding. Sitting in one of her shows might mean sitting in silence or knocking back shots of vodka, while an actor sings from War and Peace right next to you. Chavkin has two shows running off-Broadway now and a show opening on Broadway this fall. Songwriter and playwright Dave Malloy has worked with Chavkin on many projects — including the musical that's coming to Broadway; Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.

You might not know Marni Nixon's name, but you've probably heard her. The singer dubbed the voices for Deborah Kerr in The King and I, Natalie Wood in West Side Story and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady — three of Hollywood's biggest movie musicals. Nixon died Sunday at 86 from complications from breast cancer. Nixon had a career that defied categorization. She performed on Broadway and in opera houses, hosted an Emmy Award-winning...

Pages