Episode 473. Meet Aaron Posner

”Playwright and director Aaron Posner (Stupid F*cking Bird) talks about his celebrated production of The Tempest at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, his upcoming production of Midsummer at the Folger Theatre, and his ongoing exploration of the classics using both reverence and irreverence. Featuring the importance of populism, the fun of making plays you want to see, the gift Read more…

Episode 464. Writing “Almost, Maine”

Playwright John Cariani (who’s also an actor from the original Broadway casts of the musicals The Band’s Visit and Something Rotten!) talks about writing his play Almost, Maine, one of the most popular and widely produced scripts in the U.S. Among many surprises, John reveals love stories for character actors, F. Read more…

Episode 458. Captain Kirk’s Autobiography

”Writer David Goodman (Enterprise, Futurama, Family Guy, Federation: The First 150 Years) discusses his fantastic new book The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, which he “edited” from the actual papers of Starfleet’s greatest captain. Featuring much dot-connecting and blank-filling, writing in voices, carrying on traditions and storylines established fifty years ago, woefully Read more…

Episode 444. The New Pages

”Authors Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor talk about the development process of their ninth stage collaboration William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged), and reveal the joys and anguish of the writing process, shuffling of ideas and scenes, the five stages of writing, the pleasures of research, the discoveries of rehearsal, Read more…

Episode 437. Back Room Shakespeare

”Chicago actor and now author Samuel Taylor chronicles the origins of the Back Room Shakespeare Project in his new book My Life With The Shakespeare Cult. Part cri de coeur, part call to arms, Sam’s book is a brief and inspiring manifesto about restoring life to Shakespeare performance. Featuring the Read more…

Episode 435. Nerd Noir Novelist

”Ian Tregillis has quite possibly created a new genre with his recent novel Something More Than Night, a murder mystery detective novel with an angel protagonist set in Thomas Aquinas’ vision of Heaven. Ian talks about his supportive writers group (featuring a promising newcomer named George R. R. Martin), the struggle of describing Read more…

Episode 431. TJ And Dave

”You may not have heard of them but TJ & Dave are the gods of improvisation, and they’ve written a book about what they do called Improvisation at the Speed of Life. Dave Pasquesi (who you may recognize from the films Groundhog Day and Angels and Demons, or as Julia Louis-Dreyfuss’s ex-husband on Veep), talks Read more…

Episode 420. Satan Sings Sondheim

”No, not Santa — Satan. For this most festive time of year, we present news of RSC founding member Adam Long‘s most recent project, Satan Sings Mostly Sondheim, the script of which has just been published by The Sondheim Review. At the Review’s request, Austin Tichenor interviews Adam and they discuss Read more…

Episode 404. The Scottish Effect

”Novelists Alexandra Sokoloff (American) and Craig Robertson (Scot) discuss how living in Scotland inspires their work. Featuring thin boundary issues, chasing markets, how art imitates life, so-called “monster-boning”, the differences between Glasgow and Edinburgh, shout-outs to novelists Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith, and Christopher Moore, and how a successful career Read more…

Episode 401. Yisrael’s Three Conversions

”Yisrael Campbell is just your run-of-the-mill Irish, Italian, Catholic, American, Reform, Conservative, and now Orthodox Jew, and he tells the story of his fascinating journey in “Circumcise Me”, his funny and poignant one-man show currently playing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Featuring journeys both spiritual and theatrical, stereotypes both confounded and embodied, Read more…

Episode 389. Jacques Lamarre’s Journey

”From the box office to the Vatican to drag queens (oh my)! Jacques Lamarre has not had a typical journey to becoming a playwright, yet his most recent work I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti is being produced around the country, including at one of our favorite places Cincinnati Read more…

Episode 385. Unknown Dan Rice

”Author David Carlyon talks about his book Dan Rice: The Most Famous Man You’ve Never Heard Of and its subject, one of the richest entertainers of the 19th century and the Jon Stewart of his day. Featuring “Hits on the Times”, an examination of 19th century performance and politics, the Read more…

Episode 383. Meet The Darwins

”Playwright Sara Gmitter talks about her new play In The Garden: A Darwinian Love Story (now getting its world premiere at the Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago), which explores the long and successful romance between Charles and Emma Darwin: A woman who believed in God and heaven and salvation — Read more…

Episode 377. By The Numbers

”Playwright, director, and comedy nerd/scholar/author Gary Rudoren discusses his very funny book Comedy By The Numbers: The 169 Secrets of Humor and Popularity (co-written with Eric Hoffman). Featuring more talking in pubs, parental influences, the road to publication (by McSweeney’s), cool Mr. Show and Saul Goodman connections, the truth about Read more…

Episode 366. Serpent of Venice

”Pocket of Dog Snogging returns! New York Times Best-Selling author Christopher Moore discusses his Shakespeare-inspired comic novels Fool (a retelling of King Lear from the jester’s point of view) and his latest The Serpent of Venice, which combines Othello, Merchant of Venice, Edgar Allan Poe, and a sea monster. Featuring Read more…

Episode 360. Austin Tichenor’s ‘Frankenstein’

Austin Tichenor’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is getting new life, with a new production and published acting edition. Austin talks to director Rob Richards about the current production and consider the ideal interpreters of 19th-century Romantic authors, some genius casting notions, the dangers of polite acting, the close relationship between laughter and screams, a special appearance by newly elected Senator Cory Booker, dodgy Jeff Goldblum impressions, and the nature of monstrosity. (Length 19:15) (Pictured: Matthew Geary as The Creature in the 2013 Phillips Exeter Academy production. Photo by Cheryl Semter. Used by permission.)

Episode 354. Playwright Anthony Clarvoe

”Anthony Clarvoe‘s plays (Pick Up Ax, Ambition Facing West, Ctrl+Alt+Delete, etc) have been produced all over the US in many of the same theaters we play, yet despite us having many friends and colleagues in common, our paths have never crossed until now. Anthony talks about his life as a Read more…

Episode 352. Our Comic Inspirations

”On the opening weekend of The Complete History of Comedy (abridged), authors Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor reflect on how their early comic influences have inspired the writing of the show. Featuring favorite movies, formative stand-ups, fundamental lessons, a celebration of Blackhawk Films, and the importance of parents with excellent Read more…

Episode 349. Rocking The Casbah

”Journalist and author Robin Wright talks about her book Rock The Casbah: Rage and Rebellion in the Muslim World, which chronicles youth-inspired Islamic revolts against autocrats and extremism using such pop-cultural weapons as music, comedy, and theatre, plus even comic books and theme parks. Featuring pop-culture political flash points , hip-hop Islam, Read more…

Episode 343. Celebrities Getting Served

”Just in time for summer comes Bill Ryan‘s “Serving Celebrities: Stories of Your Favorite Celebrities From One Who Served Them” and it’s the perfect beach read, filled with funny, revealing, unabashedly gossipy, and mildly bitchy tales of greatness and the people who serve them. Featuring behind the scenes dish, interactions with Read more…

Episode 342. ‘Bible’ Down Under

”Finally! We return to Australia, with RSC veterans Michael Faulkner, Jerry Kernion, Mick Orfe, and Dominic Conti performing The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) in Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane, and Sydney. This week, playwrights and directors Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor chat with original cast member Matt Croke about putting together the original Read more…

Episode 315. Our New E-Book

“Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor discuss their new e-book How The Bible Changed Our Lives (Mostly For The Better), their irreverent comic memoir (originally published in paperback as The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Westminster/John Knox Press) and talk about how, while writing their whimsical look at the Bible, they find their friendship Read more…

Episode 312. Autobiography of Iago

Novelist and former theatre dramaturg Nicole Galland has written I, Iago, a novel which tells the story of Shakespeare’s famous villain and the events of the play Othello, but from Iago’s point of view. Nicole talks about her tragic, comic, and crazily compelling riff on both the familiar story and Shakespeare’s famous villain, and Read more…

Episode 270. Time Travel Tales

In honor of Groundhog Day last week, we swap favorite time travel stories with fellow nerd AJ Mass that run the gamut from Ray Bradbury, Jack Finney, and Stephen Fry to Eliza Dushku and Ashton Kucher. Featuring nods to precision, romance, 12 monkeys, gateway drugs, literary detectives, time-traveling Irish playwrights, open and closed Read more…

Episode 243. Meet Scott Simon

”Broadcaster, journalist, novelist, inveterate tweeter, and now (gasp) playwright, National Public Radio’s Scott Simon discusses his recent novels, upcoming projects, and the degree to which his Chicago background informs his work. Featuring Scott’s tribute to the Windy City, insight into the intriguing differences between his various jobs, a special appearance Read more…

Episode 182. The Scottish Play

”Jennifer Lee Carell‘s new mystery Haunt Me Still (aka The Shakespeare Curse outside the US) deals with the legends surrounding the manuscript and supposed curse of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, or as it’s known euphemistically in the theatre world, “the Scottish Play”. Featuring the difference between knowledge and superstition, Shakespeare’s fascination Read more…

Episode 178. The Ballet Book

Kay Tichenor (Austin’s mom!) talks about her 1976 book Ballet (Troubador Press/Price Stern Sloan) and how a casual family interest became an activity and reference book that’s still in print after thirty-five years. Featuring a reduced history of this ‘history of the dance’, advice for aspiring writers, the power of movement, and a special appearance by a man of a certain age. (UPDATE: Kay passed away on May 29, 2010, less than a month after this was recorded. She is and will be missed.) (MP3. Length 20:47)

Episode 177. Festival Of Books

”LIVE! From the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, we read excerpts from Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide For The Attention-Impaired (abridged), The Complete History of America (abridged), The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), and All The Great Books (abridged). Featuring RSC bits as you’ve never heard them, a Read more…

Episode 176. The DeVere Code

”In his book The DeVere Code, actor Jonathan Bond explains the startling discovery he made that reveals Shakespeare’s sonnets were written by the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere. Featuring impertinent pop-culture comparisons, Eureka moments, a special appearance by a genuine Nutter, and a first-hand account of what it’s Read more…

Episode 173. Shades of Grey

”A series of mini-reunions this week! New York Times bestselling novelist Jasper Fforde (the Thursday Next series, the Nursery Crime series) has written Shades of Grey and was good enough to chat about it. Then we reconnected with several RSC UK members, several of whom have gone on to much Read more…

Episode 168. Tiny Rebellious Acts

”“Let’s face it, we’d all love to topple a government or stage a full-scale rebellion, but who’s got the time or energy these days? Never fear, Tiny Acts of Rebellion can help.” Thus begins the funny new book by Rich Fulcher of The Mighty Boosh, who reveals how – and Read more…

Episode 139. What’s Really Changed

”This week we discuss what it’s like to perform the revisions to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged). Featuring cast changes, Singapore changes, and a special appearance by RSC founding member Jess Winfield, author of My Name Is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs, and Shakespeare. (MP3. Length 20:03)

Episode 104. Shakespeare (abridged)

”The RSC is strapping on the tights again for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) — and this time it’s revised. Authors Jess Winfield and Daniel Singer talk about what prompted them to update the script, what references they wanted to update, and – thankfully for us – how Read more…

Episode 96. My Name’s Will

”Founding RSC member Jess Winfield discusses his first novel My Name Is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs, and Shakespeare, and why politics, artistic growth, and the occasional naughty word fuel his recent work. Featuring RenFaire and RSC memories, hints about a possible sequel, a desperate cry for minions, and Read more…

Episode 91. The Shakespeare Secret

”A new Shakespeare thriller! Published in America as Interred With Their Bones, and around the world as The Shakespeare Secret, Jennifer Lee Carrell‘s new book is a page-turning treasure hunt adventure about one woman’s global search for a lost Shakespeare manuscript. The author herself talks about her luck as a Read more…

Episode 36. Ffan-Ffording-Tastic!

”Bestselling author Jasper Fforde talks about First Among Sequels, the latest in his Thursday Next series. Jasper shares the RSC’s reverential irreverence for sacred literature, reveals some eerie insight concerning Jane Austen, and outlines his Schrodinger Night Fever Principle of Literary Analysis. Featuring a special appearance by The Word Nerds. Read more…

Episode 33. Modern Slim Pickens

Character actor/comedian David Koechner (Anchorman, Thank You For Smoking, Snakes on a Plane) tells tales of typecasting and creating comic characters, and deconstructs his short-lived Comedy Central TV show, The Naked Trucker & T-Bones Show. Featuring a special appearance by Gerald ‘T-Bones’ Tibbons (left). Boop! (MP3. Length 26:20)

Episode 28. Meet “Professor” Letwin

”A Very Special “Where Are They Now?” (or rather, a “Who Are They Again?”) episode. David Letwin, an original member of the Criterion Theatre cast in London, tells outrageous tales of Royals in the stalls, Adventures in Lecturing, and an audience with Moses Himself. Special appearance by Gary Rudoren, co-author Read more…