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Terry Gross
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Theater
2:09 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

'Raisin In The Sun' Revival: A Uniquely American Story Is Back On Broadway

Denzel Washington plays Walter Lee, the role played by Sidney Poitier in the 1959 Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun. Sophie Okonedo, known for her Academy Award nomination for Hotel Rwanda, plays Ruth Younger in her New York stage debut.
Brigitte Lacombe

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 3:05 pm

Denzel Washington and LaTanya Richardson Jackson have received rave reviews for their starring roles in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun. The play by Lorraine Hansberry debuted on Broadway in 1959 and was adapted to a film two years later. The current production ends its run on June 15.

"I'm in tears because it has truly been the highlight of my theatrical career," Jackson tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.

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Music Reviews
2:09 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

John Fullbright's Uneven 'Songs' Finds A Way To Fascinate

John Fullbright's new album is called Songs.
Courtesy of the artist

John Fullbright's Songs is the most interestingly uneven album I've heard in a while. The work of a smart young man, it's also the work of a self-conscious young man who's prone to mistaking articulate melancholy for wisdom. Fullbright's debut album contained bold melodies and told stories about daydreamers and offbeat people. On Songs, Fullbright opts for pure mood-setting, sounding morose in an attempt to signal subtle passion, but that's not really how it plays out.

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Fresh Air Weekend
2:08 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Fresh Air Weekend: Chris O'Dowd, The Nazi War On Modern Art And Cannes

Max Beckmann's biblical and political triptych Departure (right) hangs on the same wall as Adolf Ziegler's Four Elements triptych, which Hitler owned. Both pieces are part of the Neue Galerie's "Degenerate Art" exhibit.
Courtesy of Hulya Kolabas for Neue Galerie New York

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 1:26 pm

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Music Reviews
10:47 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Jazz Pianist Ted Rosenthal Has A Feel For Gershwin

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, BYLINE: This is FRESH AIR. Ted Rosenthal an early winter of the Thelonious Monk Piano Competition has played George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" solo and with symphonic and jazz orchestras. Now he's recorded a version for jazz trio as part of the problem. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Rosenthal has a real feel for the material.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RHAPSODY IN BLUE")

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Interviews
10:47 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Phoenix To Self: 'Why Am I Talking About This? ... Joaquin, Shut Up'

Joaquin Phoenix's Her character, Theodore, has a job writing intimate — and sometimes erotic — cards and letters on behalf of other people.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 2:30 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 21, 2014.

Joaquin Phoenix started his acting career in 1982, when he was about 8, on an episode of the TV series Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. (His brother, the late River Phoenix, was a regular in the series.) He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he still vividly remembers his first time on a set.

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Fine Art
1:18 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

'Degenerate' Exhibit Recalls Nazi War On Modern Art

The Neue Galerie exhibit's empty frames represent paintings that were lost or destroyed by the Nazis. They appear beside works that survived Nazi rule, like George Grosz's Portrait of the Writer Max Hermann-Neisse (lower right).
Courtesy of Hulya Kolabas for Neue Galerie New York

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 1:28 pm

One of the most unsettling rooms in an important art exhibit at New York's Neue Galerie is a room in which numerous empty frames are hanging, with guesses about which paintings might have been in them. The paintings themselves were all lost or destroyed by the Nazis. Encouraged by Hitler, most Nazis (Joseph Goebbels was the rare exception) considered everything but the most hidebound, traditionally realistic paintings and sculptures to be "degenerate," a threat to the Aryan ideals of German culture.

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NPR Story
1:18 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

From The Screen To Broadway: Chris O'Dowd Takes On 'Of Mice And Men'

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 2:50 pm

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. My guest, the Irish actor Chris O'Dowd, was introduced to a large American audience through the film "Bridesmaids," in which he co-starred as a police officer with a crush on Annie, played by Kristen Wiig.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BRIDESMAIDS")

KRISTIN WIIG: (As Annie) I didn't know that you could be a cop here if you weren't a citizen.

O'DOWD: (As Rhodes) You can't.

WIIG: (As Annie) No?

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Author Interviews
1:45 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

'Fresh Air' Remembers Poet And Memoirist Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou's most recent autobiography, Mom & Me & Mom, looked back on her complicated relationship with her mother.
Doug Mills AP

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 2:10 pm

In her memoirs, Maya Angelou explored how race and gender affected her life. Her first memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969 and describes growing up in the segregated South. It includes the story of how, as a child, Angelou was raped by her mother's boyfriend. After the rape, she withdrew into herself and went through a long period of not speaking.

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NPR Story
1:45 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Highlights From The Cannes Film Festival

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. The Cannes Film Festival, the most important international film festival, concluded this past weekend. Getting an award at Cannes gives a new film the kind of pedigree that helps ensure good international distribution. FRESH AIR's critic-at-large, John Powers, who is also the film critic for Vogue, reported on the festival, as he's done many years.

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Books
1:54 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

China Turns To Africa For Resources, Jobs And Future Customers

Over the next few years China will build a multi-billion dollar railway linking the Kenyan port of Mombasa to Nairobi (shown here), based on an agreement signed earlier this month by East African and Chinese officials. It's one of many examples of China's increasing economic engagement with African countries.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

China's economic engagement in Africa can be measured in dollars — for instance, the $71 million airport expansion contract in Mali, funded by American foreign aid, that went to a Chinese construction firm.

More remarkably, it can be measured in people: More than a million Chinese citizens have permanently moved to Africa, buying land, starting businesses and settling among local populations.

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