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Playing on Air

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Playing on Air is a unique public radio program featuring a novel form of story-telling, the short play. The short play form is ideal for the rhythms of radio listeners on the go. Listeners enjoy a beginning, middle and knock-out punch in minutes. Listeners enjoy a variety of voices and styles in one show. Plus, after hearing the actors perform, they get to hear all the artists converse about what just went down.

Our contemporary shorts, at 10-25 minutes each, make up a 53-minute show. They are written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning dramatists in a format they love but rarely hear performed by top talent.  
Our actors are world-class: Sam Waterston, Bobby Cannavale, Audra McDonald, Rosie Perez, Adam Driver, John Leguizamo, Michelle Williams, Jesse Eisenberg, Kathleen Turner, Bill Irwin, Peter Gallagher, Ed Asner, Jerry Stiller, Jane Krakowski...
Writers include Pulitzer Prize winners David Lindsay-Abaire, David Auburn, John Patrick Shanley, Beth Henley, Lynn Nottage, Donald Margulies, Lanford Wilson; Tony winners Christopher Durang, Warren Leight, John Guare, and notable others. 

The topics of these short plays are wide-ranging, timely, and reflect the issues of our world today. Masters of the form, our playwrights write pieces that, like all great theater, entertain, illuminate, inform and humanize.
Each short is about 10-25 minutes and there are two or three of them on every 53-minute offering. Original music and polished, subtle sound design are composed for every bite-sized but beautifully crafted piece.  

Lively conversation with each short's playwright, director and cast about what just happened, round out each show. After hearing each short play, listeners get the inside scoop from its participants. (Single plays are available from our Playing on Air Singles Series).
"When I first sampled Playing on Air I thought our audience would like the program, so I scheduled it during the summer and asked for listener feedback. The most amazing feedback returned with almost 100 % positive about this program.  This is not typical of our listeners!  This is a gem worth your review and absolutely worth adding to your schedule.  Try it!  You'll love the response! What's left to say?  Playing on Air is a public radio winner."  -  Lynne Clendenin, Program Director, OPB Radio
"The programs Playing on Air has provided to us have already aired and were extremely well received by our listeners.  They commented on the quality of the plays and actors and the professionalism of the series.  I can’t help but think this is a perfect fit for public radio." -  Alan Chartock, CEO, WAMC-Northeast Public Radio
"The playwrights and the actors are award-winning first-rate professionals you will have heard of. Because the plays are short, there's time to include insightful interviews, usually with the playwrights, in each broadcast. Playing on Air definitely fills a gap in available radio theatre programming and I'm delighted to schedule them. Your audiences will love these shows." - Linda Lopez McAlister, Producer, KUNM's Radio Theatre, Albuquerque, NM

"Playing on Air is the kind of show that should be multiplied by ten - it's fun, it's intelligent, and it reminds us how glorious radio can be." - David Ives, playwright

"Playing on Air gives actors the thrilling experience of acting without having to look in a mirror first. They produce dramatically compelling radio in a fun and accessible way." - Jesse Eisenberg, actor, playwright


We offer two different series:  PLAYING ON AIR FULL-LENGTHS [53-minute offerings of 2-3 short plays followed by conversation] and PLAYING ON AIR SINGLES [a module version of the program with one play followed by one conversation, 10-42 minutes]. 
PLAYING ON AIR SINGLES (10 - 42 Minutes including optional interview)



Caption: Michael Stuhlbarg, Credit: Daniel Bergeron
Starring Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me By Your Name) and Amy Ryan (Gone, Baby, Gone). In Closing Costs by Arlene Hutton, a real estate broker hits thr...

  • Added: Mar 01, 2018
  • Length: 23:17
Caption: Jane Alexander
Staring Jane Alexander and Peter Jacobson. In THE HELPERS by Cusi Cram, a former client steps up to help his therapist after seeing her talking to...

  • Added: Mar 01, 2018
  • Length: 29:23
Caption: Vernon Baker
First Lieutenant Vernon Baker received the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War II, April 1945, near Viareggio, in Tuscany, Italy and Ca...

  • Added: Mar 01, 2018
  • Length: 34:20
Caption: John William Finn
Chief Petty Officer John William Finn was stationed at Naval Base Kaneohe Bay on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was att...

  • Added: Mar 01, 2018
  • Length: 18:46
Caption: Lucy DeVito
In 1933, a young Jewish immigrant returns to his Polish hometown in search of a wife and sets his sights on Chava, a savvy shopgirl. Written by Car...

  • Added: Feb 28, 2018
  • Length: 18:21
Caption: Rachel Bonds
As stray cats prowl and dough rises, two sardonic twenty-somethings flirt with dreams of Olympic glory - or maybe just escape from the small town b...

Bought by KUER

  • Added: Feb 28, 2018
  • Length: 15:27
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Elizabeth Ashley
Starring Tony winner Elizabeth Ashley, DRUNK CHRISTMAS tells the tale of a teenage runaway and a swerving mother crashing into each other on Christ...

  • Added: Feb 28, 2018
  • Length: 20:48
Caption: Mike Reiss
In NEW YORK STORY by Mike Reiss (“The Simpsons”), Ed Asner is a master of the one-liner to his public, a pain-in-the-neck to his son (Peter Jacobso...

  • Added: Feb 26, 2018
  • Length: 31:26
Caption: Peter Gallagher
Bobby Cannavale and Peter Gallagher star in this short about fatherhood. In the comic and heartbreaking 2 Dads by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award win...

  • Added: Feb 26, 2018
  • Length: 21:39
Caption: Clarence Sasser
The story of Clarence Sasser is a portrait from Stephen Lang's one-man show, Beyond Glory, based on the book by Larry Smith of the same title. He p...

  • Added: Feb 23, 2018
  • Length: 15:14
Caption: Hector Cafferata
The story of Hector Cafferata is a portrait from Stephen Lang's one-man show, Beyond Glory, based on the book by Larry Smith of the same title. He ...

  • Added: Feb 23, 2018
  • Length: 22:01
Caption: Nick Bacon
The story of Nick Bacon is a portrait from Stephen Lang's one-man show, Beyond Glory, based on the book by Larry Smith of the same title. He portra...

  • Added: Feb 23, 2018
  • Length: 16:50
Caption: Jay O. Sanders
In The Press Conference by Jessica Dickey, everyone reveals a bit more of their true selves when a Sheriff's public press conference about a myster...

  • Added: Feb 23, 2018
  • Length: 29:04
Caption: Brandon Dirden
In The Wonderful Thanksgiving Violet by Max Baker, two brothers struggle with life’s great fears: death, guilt, and spouses. With Brandon Dirden (A...

  • Added: Feb 23, 2018
  • Length: 24:18
Caption: Elizabeth Ashley
Starring Elizabeth Ashley, COME IN FROM THE COLD features a wintry trio of short plays about connection, lost and found. With wit, humor and heart,...

Bought by KFCF FM, KUNM, and Prairie Public

  • Added: Feb 16, 2018
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Jay O. Sanders
In James McLindon’s I Don’t Know, an old school drill sergeant is faulted by his new recruits and desperately, hysterically longs for the time when...

  • Added: Jan 30, 2018
  • Length: 23:39
Caption: Steven Boyer
Starring comic legend Bill Irwin, Tony Nominee Steven Boyer, Broadway stars Len Cariou and Michael Urie. In I LOVE YOU by Lynn Rosen, a struggling ...

  • Added: Jan 30, 2018
  • Length: 24:14
Caption: Kate Robin
In Kate Robin's Inside Voice, two parents watching their toddlers having fun in an indoor playground take on the big wide world beyond. Hear an exc...

  • Added: Jan 30, 2018
  • Length: 33:45
Caption: Timothée Chalamet
Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) and Zoe Kazan (The Big Sick) star in Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Donald Margulies' Misadventure. In ...

  • Added: Jan 30, 2018
  • Length: 12:12
Caption: Geraldine Hughes
In The Mandela Effect, written and directed by Max Baker, an actress is convinced that the present is no longer in sync with the past and she has a...

  • Added: Jan 30, 2018
  • Length: 29:15