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NPR Adds to Live Shows, With Almost 24 Planned

NPR, following the lead of other news and radio organizations, is widely expanding its live stage shows, with a slate of nearly two dozen events planned nationwide in the coming months.

The most ambitious of three "NPR Presents"series, "Water,"will marry news reports, oral histories and conversation about topics such as the drought in the West and mudslides in Seattle with theatrical and musical storytelling. The shows will be customized for each of their eight locales, in partnership with local NPR affiliates.

Kenny Leon, who won a 2014 Tony Award for directing the Broadway revival of "A Raisin in the Sun,"will direct the 90-minute one-night shows, which begin Oct. 25 in New Orleans.

Audiences have "a real desire for coming face to face with brands, touching the brand, but also building communities around topics, around hosts, around the conversation,"said Indira Etwaroo, executive producer and director of "NPR Presents. "She said the events would maintain NPR's "journalistic rigor"and, without taking editorial license, would "create something entirely new in terms of the storytelling. "

Part of a new $1. 2 million three-year operating grant from the Kresge Foundation will support the live events, which also have corporate sponsors and are intended to make money for NPR. Ticket costs will vary by location.

Michel Martin, formerly the host of "Tell Me More,"begins one series of 10 events Friday at New York's WNYC, looking at diversity on Broadway with a panel including the playwrights Bruce Norris and David Henry Hwang. Later shows in other cities will examine voting rights and ethics in football.

David Greene, the host of "Morning Edition,"and Robert Smith, a correspondent for "Planet Money,"lead more conventional conversations about personal finance in the third series, "Family Matters. "

The public radio programs "This American Life"and "Radiolab"have mounted theatrical stage shows based on their radio stories. Hosts and reporters of the business news program "Marketplace"have also toured this year with a stage show, described as "an irreverent, insightful look at the numbers that impact our lives. "

Separately, the show "Snap Judgment,"which is distributed by NPR and PRX, began a Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise $150,000 by Oct. 10. The show had postponed a previous crowdfunding effort after NPR officials expressed concern about appealing directly to fans, which some NPR station executives said could reduce donations to local stations.

An NPR spokeswoman described the "Snap Judgment"appeal as an experiment. Source link

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