Episode #649

Nutcracker, Rumpelstiltskin, Syriana

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Once upon a time, there was a radio program trapped in the tall tower of a stone building. . . Studio 360 falls under the spell of fairy tales. Kurt Andersen and Gregory Maguire, who wrote Wicked, talk about why at Christmas, America turns into “Nutcracker Nation.” They hear about Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie’s tale about a boy who sets out to save his village from an evil wizard. And Tonya Pinkins, star of the musical Caroline, Or Change, reads the classic tale Rumpelstiltskin. 


Gregory Maguire

Special Guest: Gregory Maguire

Kurt Andersen talks with Gregory Maguire, author of fairy tales for children and upside-down fairy tales for adults. His novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West is now a blockbuster Broadway musical. He is also the author of Mirror Mirror, Confessions of an ...



Once upon a time there was a miller's daughter whose father was so proud of her, he boasted that she could spin straw into gold. Tonya Pinkins, who won the Tony Award for her role in Jelly's Last Jam, reads the 1823 translation of the classic


Nutcracker Nation

Christmas has its predictable signs: holiday music pumping through pharmacy loud-speakers, laser light shows on the neighbor's lawn, and the annual production of The Nutcracker. But how did a classical ballet from czarist Russia, based on a German horror story, become an American Christmas tradition? Curtis Fox asked dance scholar ...


Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories

In 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini — like an evil sorcerer in a fairy tale — condemned Salman Rushdie for heresy, essentially marking the writer for death wherever he was. Rushdie left his family and went into hiding, and reached out to his young son through a new book, Haroun and ...



Stephen Gaghan’s new movie Syriana opens around the country next week. It might draw in moviegoers with the star power of George Clooney and Matt Damon, but what will stick is its provocative and disturbing plot — an intricate tale about the oil industry in the Middle East. Based in ...


Edmund Morris and Beethoven

This month marks the 235th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth. There’s a huge shelf-ful of books about the composer, but this year Edmund Morris, the celebrated biographer of American presidents, wrote his own short life of Beethoven. Morris won the Pulitzer Prize for one of his books about Theodore ...


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