Suzanne Vega on Carson McCullers

Interview + Performance

Friday, May 13, 2011

Suzanne Vega in <em>Carson McCullers Talks About Love</em> Suzanne Vega in Carson McCullers Talks About Love (©Sandra Coudert)

Singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega (of the massive 1980s hits "Tom’s Diner" and "Luka") tells the life story of one of her favorite writers in the new one-woman show Carson McCullers Talks About Love, several decades in the making.

In nearly all her work (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Member of the Wedding), McCullers wrote about the loneliness of misfits in a lyrical, almost musical, Southern Gothic style. She died at 50 after a troubled life: her husband committed suicide, and she suffered from serious health problems including alcoholism and strokes that left her an invalid at age thirty. But Vega's performance shows McCullers at her most charming and resilient. 

Vega wrote the show's music with Duncan Sheik, another pop star who began working in theater recently (Spring Awakening). They told Kurt Andersen about their collaboration, and Vega performs live.


Video: Suzanne Vega performs "Song of Annemarie (Terror, Pity, Love)"
Vega performs the song from her new play in Studio 360, with Joe Iconis (piano) and Andy Stack (guitar).

    Music Playlist
  1. Undertow (Instrumental)
    Artist: Suzanne Vega
    Album: Suzanne Vega
    Label: A&M
    Purchase: Amazon
  2. New York is My Destination
    Artist: Suzanne Vega
    Album: Music from the Original Play "Carson McCullers Talks About Love"
    Label: Performed Live in Studio
  3. Harper Lee
    Artist: Suzanne Vega
    Album: Music from the Original Play "Carson McCullers Talks About Love"
    Label: Performed Live in Studio


Duncan Sheik and Suzanne Vega

Comments [1]

Art Cohen from Baltimore, Maryland

I heard this broadcast, and found it very engaging. One comment to your sound engineer, however. When Suzanne Vega sang about Harper Lee, the piano almost drowned out her voice because of its volume. This would be enough of a problem with any song, but with this one, with complicated and witty lyrics, it interfered quite a bit. I know these things can happen - but just wanted to give you a heads up for future music performances.

May. 16 2011 07:56 PM

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