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.

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7:52am

Sat October 25, 2014
Music Interviews

Oratorio Tackles The Issue Of Leaks From 'The Source'

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 11:57 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

1:24pm

Sun October 5, 2014
Theater

Seeing Neurological Patients As Characters, Not Case Studies

Originally published on Sun October 5, 2014 1:51 pm

Kathryn Hunter, Jared McNeill and Marcello Magni star in The Valley of Astonishment.
Pascal Victor/ArtComArt

Peter Brook is truly the grand old man of world theater. He became famous with his productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the early 1960s; wrote the seminal theater text The Empty Space; and started the International Centre for Theatre Research in Paris, where he developed such plays as the nine-hour adaptation of the Sanskrit epic, The Mahabharata.

Now, at the age of 89, Brook has brought his company to Brooklyn with a new play all about the mysteries of the human brain.

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6:51pm

Wed September 10, 2014
Music News

Nonesuch At 50: A Record Label Without Borders

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 12:08 pm

Björk's interdisciplinary project Biophilia was released on the Nonesuch label in 2011.
Nonesuch

Sometimes good things come in small packages. Nonesuch Records, which started as a tiny independent budget classical label in 1964, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with three weeks of concerts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The label became a force in the recording industry by pioneering electronic music and world music, launching the ragtime revival and becoming a place where contemporary classical composers had a home. Now an industry powerhouse, Nonesuch still operates like an independent record company.

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5:14pm

Mon August 18, 2014
Deceptive Cadence

Met Opera Tentatively Settles With 2 Major Unions

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 10:55 pm

The Metropolitan Opera has settled labor contracts with two of its largest unions.
Jonathan Ticler Metropolitan Opera

A labor crisis threatening to shut down New York's Metropolitan Opera — the largest opera house in the world — appears to have been averted. Two of the major unions announced a tentative settlement this morning. While agreements with 10 additional unions need to be reached by Tuesday night, this represents a major turning point in a bitter dispute.

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4:25pm

Thu July 24, 2014
Deceptive Cadence

Labor Conflict May Lock Out Met Opera Workers

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 6:22 pm

Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has warned union workers of a lockout if a contract deal isn't settled by July 31.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

The clock is ticking for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The world's largest opera company may be headed for a shutdown. Most of the union contracts for the Met expire in a week. Yesterday, Met General Manager Peter Gelb sent a letter to the unions, warning them to prepare for a lockout if they don't come to terms.

For months now, the company and its unions have been at an impasse. Management has proposed cutting 16 percent of union members' compensation. Otherwise, Gelb contends, the company could go bankrupt in two to three years.

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5:28pm

Tue June 24, 2014
Deceptive Cadence

New York Philharmonic's Lead Fiddler Rests His Bow

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 11:58 am

Glenn Dicterow joined the New York Philharmonic as its concertmaster in 1980. He has performed as its soloist every year since.
Chris Lee Courtesy of the artist

Most people who attend symphony performances can spot the concertmaster. That's the first chair violinist who enters before the conductor and helps tune the orchestra. But the all important position calls for much more than that — from playing tricky solos to shaping the sound of the string section.

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3:56am

Fri May 9, 2014
The Record

Well Into Spring, 'Frozen' Soundtrack Keeps The Charts Cool

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:26 pm

Singer Idina Menzel (center) and Frozen songwriters Bobby Lopez (left) and Kristen Anderson-Lopez pose with gold records in February. Since then, the movie's soundtrack has sold over 1.5 million more copies.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images for Disney

Disney's animated film Frozen has been racking up impressive statistics since it was released last November. Its box office earnings total $1 billion, worldwide, the movie won two Academy Awards, and on the first day the home video came out, it sold 3.2 million copies. But one stat has taken both Disney and industry analysts by surprise: The soundtrack has become a phenomenon, topping the Billboard 200 chart 13 times.

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3:30am

Mon February 3, 2014
Theater

'After Midnight,' And The Cotton Club Is Swinging Again

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:43 am

Fantasia Barrino, the American Idol winner who went on to play the lead role in Broadway's The Color Purple, was among the rotating roster of guest stars in After Midnight, a Broadway revue celebrating Harlem's legendary Cotton Club and the stars who performed there.
Matthew Murphy

3:26am

Fri January 3, 2014
Theater

Broadway's 'Spider-Man' Musical Turns Off The Lights At Last

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 9:23 am

Reeve Carney (right) handed off the lead role in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark to successor Justin Matthew Sargent in September 2013. The show closes Jan. 4, and the Smithsonian Institution announced today that it's acquiring Carney's costume.
Rob Kim Getty Images

Regardless of how critics and audiences eventually responded, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was always going to be one of the most-discussed shows in Broadway history. It had songs by U2's Bono and the Edge; it was directed by The Lion King's Julie Taymor; it was based on a hit Marvel franchise; there were going to be flying stunts right over the audience's heads.

And then somehow it all went very wrong, from injured actors to huge cost overruns.

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4:34am

Tue December 17, 2013
Business

New Owner Promises Handmade Steinways For Years To Come

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:30 am

Some Steinway company representatives and employees — like Wally Boot, pictured here — have been working for the company for decades. Boot is the last person to touch every piano that leaves the factory in Queens, N.Y.
Craig Warga Bloomberg/Getty

For 160 years, the pianos made by Steinway & Sons have been considered the finest in the world. So when hedge fund billionaire John Paulson recently bought the company, it struck fear in the hearts of musicians: Would the famously handcrafted pianos be changed, for the sake of efficiency? Paulson, who owns several Steinways himself, says nothing will change.

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5:59pm

Tue October 1, 2013
Deceptive Cadence

Chronicle Of A Death Foretold: New York City Opera Shuts Its Doors

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 6:16 pm

The New York City Opera let its final curtain fall Saturday night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in a production of Anna Nicole by Mark-Anthony Turnage.
Stephanie Berger

This morning the New York City Opera announced that it was declaring bankruptcy and ceasing operations. Dubbed "The People's Opera" by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia when it was founded 70 years ago, the company was meant as an alternative to the richer Metropolitan Opera. It's the place where exciting young singers like Beverly Sills and Placido Domingo made their New York debuts and where innovative productions of new operas premiered.

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4:51pm

Thu September 26, 2013
Theater

An American Masterpiece, And A 'Menagerie' Of Stars

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 7:19 pm

In a Broadway transfer of the American Repertory Theatre's acclaimed production of The Glass Menagerie, Cherry Jones plays Amanda, mother to the very troubled Laura (Celia Keenan-Bolger). The play cemented Tennessee Williams' reputation as an American original when it premiered in 1945.
Michael J. Lutch

Pop-culture aficionadoes will know Zachary Quinto as Spock in the cinematic reboot of Star Trek, and Cherry Jones as President Taylor from television's 24.

But both are accomplished stage actors as well. And tonight, they're opening on Broadway, in a revival of Tennessee Williams' classic play The Glass Menagerie.

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5:34pm

Tue July 23, 2013
Theater

'Love's Labours,' Tuned Up And Playing In The Park

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 7:14 pm

Daniel Breaker, a Juilliard-trained actor who's earned praise for roles as varied as Donkey in Shrek the Musical and the protagonist Youth in Passing Strange, gets to play a king in a new musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost.
Tammy Shell The Public Theater

A few years ago, after songwriter Michael Friedman and writer-director Alex Timbers had finished working on their cheeky historical musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, they decided to look for a new project to work on. Friedman says they wanted the next show to have a completely different feel.

"So we started looking at Shakespeare," Friedman says. "And then, I think, we came to sort of, 'How amazing would it be to work on a romantic comedy?' "

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2:03am

Sat May 18, 2013
Music Interviews

Audra McDonald, A Broadway Star Gone Roaming, Comes Home

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 9:24 am

Audra McDonald's new album, Go Back Home, marks a return to her roots in musical theater.
Autumn de Wilde Courtesy of the artist

In the seven years since her last album, Audra McDonald has kept busy. She spent several years in Hollywood, filming the television series Private Practice. She's gotten divorced and remarried, absorbed the shock of losing her father in a plane crash and watched her daughter, Zoe, grow up from a kindergartener to a middle-schooler.

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3:23am

Thu April 25, 2013
Theater

'Pippin' Revival Is A Circus Of A Show

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 2:46 am

The role of the Leading Player (Patina Miller) becomes a kind of circus ringmaster in the new Broadway revival of Stephen Schwartz's 1972 musical Pippin.
Joan Marcus

When Pippin opened in 1972, it was a sensation. Directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, who was coming off his Academy Award-winning film version of Cabaret, it was a showbiz triumph of jazz hands, sexy dancing and theatrical magic.

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