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According to actor Jenn Colella, growing up in South Carolina meant she didn't have a lot of exposure to Broadway musicals as a child. So when she saw Phantom of the Opera at the age of 18, it left quite an impression. "I was just blown away, I had never heard anything so beautiful," Colella told host Ophira Eisenberg. "It was the moment I decided I was going to do this." So she went and got a tattoo of the Phantom of the Opera mask on her bicep, mark of her dedication to musical theater.

A Quiet Place is one of those films we didn't get to when it was first released, but we got a chance to revisit it this week in light of its critical and commercial success. Directed by John Krasinski, it stars him and Emily Blunt as post-apocalyptic parents living with their children in silence as a way of hiding from sound-hunting monsters. No one speaks. No one even wears shoes, lest their footsteps be detected.

The weekly potluck started simply enough. A new intern sent a Filipino-American colleague an email titled "Filipino intern looking to find other NPR Pinoys."

"He's looking for other Filipinos in the building to hang out with," my colleague told me, forwarding the email. "You should come to lunch with us."

I'm a Filipino-Egyptian-American. In my decade of working in Washington, D.C., I had never thought to reach out to my fellow kababayan, Tagalog for "countrymen," at the workplace for camaraderie and companionship — until this intern's very earnest request.

At first glance, the remake of Overboard sounds like the product of a wayward pitch meeting.

When it comes to undercutting her glam loveliness for the sake of a meaty role, Charlize Theron is the champ of champs. Meaty's the word: Having packed on the pounds and several tons of vicious attitude to play serial killer Aileen Wuornos in 2003's Monster and shed a (virtual) limb or two for 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road, Theron comes to us in Jason Reitman's Tully lugging a baby bump so massive, you can barely see her bringing up the fleshy rear.

These days, it's not uncommon to open up the paper and read about a dying town that lost its factory. Or about families struggling economically. Or about a political battle tearing a community apart.

In his latest book, Dave Eggers folds those elements into a supernatural story for kids. The Lifters is about a young boy who discovers that a dangerous force is literally feeding on the despair in his community — and even threatening his family.

In 1943, two 25 year olds — Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein — were about to rock the ballet world. The dance they collaborated on was Fancy Free — about three sailors in a bar, trying to meet women before they ship out to World War II.

"It's such a wonderful little sweet picture of that time ..." says Christine Redpath, one of four ballet masters Robbins chose to stage his work. "It's playful, and they're just fun and innocent. They don't know what's going to happen when they go off to war."

Walk into a comics shop this Saturday, May 5th, and you'll get some free comic books.

Free Comic Book Day has been an annual event for 17 years now. I've been writing up this guide to the FCBD books for the past 10 of those, so believe me when I say:

This year's a good 'un. The best yet. Don't skip it.

There are more all-ages books in this year's mix, more stories starring girls, women and people of color and a healthier, more robust selection of genres to choose from than ever before.

Arizona Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with a deadly form of brain cancer in July 2017. He has since written a memoir, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations, to be published on May 22.

NPR was provided an exclusive peek into the book, with excerpts read by McCain himself. Following is a transcript.


I don't know how much longer I'll be here.

Anyone who has followed the saga of Sen. John McCain or ever reacted with emotion to his words or actions will recognize the man speaking in this valedictory volume.

The voice and manner are familiar enough that we can almost hear and see him on every page.

It recalls his previous literary efforts (he has written seven books with longtime collaborator Mark Salter), but it also ventures deeper into our collective memories of McCain and his world — as we prepare to part with both.

No one writes about close friendships and unconventional domestic arrangements between gay men and straight women with as much charm and flair as Stephen McCauley. When his first novel, The Object of My Affection, was published 31 years ago, same-sex marriage was somewhere over the rainbow, but his characters, gay and straight, banded together to create a new-fangled family.

Back in 2015, Rachel Dolezal became a walking Rorschach test for America's racial dysfunction. She was the president of the Spokane, Wash., NAACP chapter, and she was outed as white after spending years claiming she was black.

The public backlash, and fascination, was intense.

There's a well-known Russian folktale, "Snegurochka," that tells the story of an elderly couple who yearn to have a child; they create a little girl out of snow, and she comes to life. In her novel The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey reimagined that story and set it in her home state of Alaska — and now the story has made one more leap, to the theatre at Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

On a balmy Thursday evening, dozens of young Saudis stream into the AlComedy Club in the western port city of Jeddah. It's the start of the weekend, and the crowd snacks on popcorn and ice cream before grabbing some of the sagging seats in the theater. Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" blares from speakers hanging above a tiny stage.

When I first sat down to talk to Leslie Odom, Jr., I told him that our team had seen him in Hamilton, and then I told him that I suspected that's how many of his conversations started these days. He said that now, it's all about how early people say they saw it. They saw it at the beginning of the run! Before it was a hit! Back when it was at the Public!

Lo these many years, by which I mean since 1984, many have wondered about the answer to a simple question of history. It has echoed off the walls of canyons, burbled in the bubbles of mountain streams, and been shouted into the bottoms of volcanoes, only to be absorbed by hot lava and spit back out as igneous rock. The question: What if Johnny Lawrence hadn't said, "You're all right, LaRusso"?

As a DJ, music and television producer, one-time NYU professor, founder of the online community Okayplayer — and, oh yeah, the drummer and bandleader of The Roots — Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson can't seem to stop adding hyphens to his job.

Fifty years ago this past weekend, Broadway "let the sun shine in."

The musical Hair was controversial in 1968, with its rock music, hippies, nude scene, multiracial cast and anti-war irreverence. It billed itself as "the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical."

Audiences ... didn't quite know what to make of that. (They figured it out eventually.)

To appreciate how unexpected Hair was in 1968, consider what else was playing on Broadway the week it opened:

Hello, Dolly!

Man of La Mancha

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The two most-nominated shows at this year's Tony Awards might sound familiar, even to those who don't keep an eye on Broadway: Mean Girls, based on the 2004 movie, and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical, based on the long-running animated TV show, each earned a dozen nominations.

You remember Fight Club, right? It was Chuck Palahniuk's first novel — a kind of anti-Generation X that just happened to hit (no pun intended) at the perfect moment in time (1996), skewering the perfect targets to the perfect depth. It was a bloody, furious, satirical takedown of the men's movement, self-help groups, slacker culture and consumerism.

We're Looking For Poems On Teamwork

May 1, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

National Poetry Month just ended, but, really, when is it ever not time for a poem? MORNING EDITION is teaming with our contributor and poet Kwame Alexander, and we need your help. We need you to submit a poem made of couplets.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

If the crisis facing the Swedish Academy looked dire earlier this month, this weekend spelled still worse trouble for the 18-member committee responsible for selecting the Nobel Prize in literature each year.

This is one weird-but-true story. It's a story that leads readers from 19th century scientific expeditions into the jungles of Malaysia to the "feather fever" of the turn of the last century, when women's hats were be-plumed with ostriches and egrets. And it's a story that focuses on the feather-dependent Victorian art of salmon fly-tying and its present-day practitioners, many of whom lurk online in something called "The Feather Underground."

Journalist Alex Wagner was 12 years old when a line cook in a diner asked her if she was adopted. Wagner was taken aback — her father's family came generations ago from Luxembourg, and her mother came to the U.S. from what was then Burma.

"It was the first time in my life that I realized [that] ... I conceived of myself as generically American, but not everybody else did," Wagner says. "To some Americans, there was no possible way I could naturally be the daughter of this white American; I had to be from someplace else."

This post contains extensive spoilers for the ending of Avengers: Infinity War. If you do not wish to be spoiled, read no further.

....

I don't trust you.

You're reading this, but you haven't seen Avengers: Infinity War yet, and you don't want to be spoiled. Even though this whole post is about discussing the ending.

...

The rise of the true-crime documentary — and the true-crime podcast — has made serialized storytelling about historical controversies seem like a trial, like a presentation of evidence leading to the answer to a question. A person is innocent, or a person is guilty. Someone disappeared this way or that way. A person was a persecuted saint or a nefarious monster.

The sun is out. Flowers are blooming. Spring is here — finally.

Each year, spring is coupled with a celebration of beauty, expression and the rhythmic qualities of language: We are talking about poetry.

April is National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, NPR's Morning Edition wants you to share a couplet, and author Kwame Alexander will pick a few and transform them into one, grand poem. But there's a catch: Your poem must be about teamwork.

Share a couplet about the presence of teamwork in your life, on or off the court, be that literally or metaphorically.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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