Dear Evan Hansen, Emmanuel Jal, How to Make a Living as a Writer
Dear Evan Hansen is the Tony award winning musical about a socially anxious teenager who, via a web of lies, gets caught up in social media adulation following a classmate’s suicide. As the musical opens in London’s West End amidst much anticipation, co-creator Steven Levenson talks about turning such a sensitive story into a life affirming show.
We speak to former child soldier, Sudanese hip-hop star Emmanuel Jal, about his fifth album, Naath, a collaboration with his sister who lives in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Emmanuel performs a track from the album which combines afrobeats with folklore offering an alternative perception of life in South Sudan.
As the busiest month of the publishing calendar begins, two seasoned insiders will be giving us their perspective on the state of the book world every day this week, from the arrival of Amazon in 1995 to the continuing popularity of the printed page in the digital age. Today, agent and former publisher Clare Alexander, and John Mitchinson, co-founder of the crowdfunding publisher Unbound, consider how feasible it is to make a living as a writer today.
And we pay tribute to Terry O'Neill, the photographer whose iconic images documented the fashions, styles, and celebrities of the 1960s, hearing from O'Neill himself in an interview with John Wilson from Front Row in 2010.
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Presenter: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Simon Richardson
Northern Ballet at 50, Art B&B, Iced Bodies
As Northern Ballet reaches its half century, the company's Artistic Director David Nixon discusses his love of telling stories through Dance.
Ever fancied sleeping in an artwork? Soon you’ll be able to do exactly that at the Art B&B – a new hotel in Blackpool which has commissioned 30 artists to turns its rooms into works of art. Michael Trainor, Creative Director of the Art B&B explains the vision for the hotel, and Arts journalist Laura Robertson shares her thoughts on the new establishment after getting an early preview.
When the African-American cellist Seth Parker Woods came across a photograph taken in the 1970s of the avant-garde cellist Charlotte Moorman - nude and playing a cello made from ice, the image stayed with him. Charlotte’s performance was in part a feminist statement but Seth and his partner in this project, Spencer Topel, have reimagined the work as a statement on race. As they prepare Iced Bodies for its UK premiere at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival they discuss fusing art with activism.
Presenter: Keisha Thompson
Producer: Ekene Akalawu
Floods and art, Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries, Tom Rosenthal
With Italy set to declare a state of national emergency in Venice after the Unesco world heritage site was engulfed by a 6ft 'acqua alta', flooding its historic basilica and many other sites of great historic interest, art critic Jonathan Jones discusses the cultural significance of the imminent threat from flood and fire and what is being done to protect the city’s invaluable architectural and artistic heritage. And John Wilson talks to artist Katie Paterson about the metaphorical representation of environmental disasters in art and the responsibility amongst artists in raising awareness of current climatical concerns.
On Saturday the world’s largest galleries devoted to the history of medicine open at the Science Museum in London. Surprisingly, perhaps, there is a lot of art involved in medicine, with imaginatively-designed sculptural devices and equipment. Major new artworks have been commissioned for the new galleries too. John Wilson talks to the artists Marc Quinn, Studio Roso and Eleanor Crook, as well as Sir Ian Blatchford, the Science Museum’s director.
Tom Rosenthal is the musician whose songs are used on the new Radio 4 podcast Tunnel 29, the extraordinary true story of the escape tunnel dug under the Berlin Wall in 1962. Tom performs How This Came To Be live and discusses building a successful pop career outside of the mainstream music industry.
Presenter John Wilson
Producer Jerome Weatherald
Tobias Menzies plays Prince Philip; Six, a musical about the wives of Henry VIII; and Rapman
This edition of Front Row has a regal air. As the third series of The Crown airs next week, with Olivia Coleman taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth from Claire Foy, Stig Abell talks to Tobias Menzies about the challenges of playing Prince Phillip, previously Matt Smith's part. Covering the years 1964 – 1977, in this series the Royals have all four of their children and are more settled in their domestic lives. But events in the wider world are making their impact, from the election of Harold Wilson as Prime Minister to the Apollo moon landing.
Six is a musical about the wives of Henry VIII which started out as a Cambridge student production in 2017 and is now a transatlantic phenomenon, about to tour the UK and open on Broadway. Professor of Musical Theatre Millie Taylor reviews.
Shiro’s Story was a series of three videos telling the story, partly in rap, of a young man caught in a world of violence and retribution. Each amassed over 7 million views and Jay-Z was a fan. Their creator, Rapman, has now made a full length feature film, Blue Story, about the gang wars he witnessed while growing up in South London. Will his YouTube audience follow him to the cinema? He joins Front Row to talk about who gets to tell stories in film.
And news of the winner of the £10,000 Goldsmiths Prize for fiction that "opens up new possibilities for the novel form", announced this evening.
Presenter: Stig Abell
Producer: Julian May
Lorna May Wadsworth, Marriage Story, My Mother Said I Never Should, I Feel Pretty
Portrait painter Lorna May Wadsworth has forged a remarkable career with subjects including David Tennant, Michael Sheen, David Blunkett and Baroness Thatcher. As a major retrospective of her work - Gaze - opens at the Graves Gallery in her home town of Sheffield, Lorna May Wadsworth talks about the importance to her of the “female gaze."
Marriage Story is the new film from director Noah Baumbach, well known for relationship dramas like The Squid and the Whale and Greenberg. Starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, it’s a comedy telling the story of the disintegration of a marriage. Simran Hans reviews.
Charlotte Keatley’s 1987 play My Mother Said I Never Should tells the stories of four generations of women, spanning the 20th century. The play is performed all over the world and has been translated into 32 languages. The most recent is British Sign Language, for a production in Sheffield with a cast of three deaf actresses and one hearing. Samira is joined by director Jeni Draper and actress Lisa Kelly.
A production of West Side Story is due to open on Broadway without one of the most popular numbers in the show. I Feel Pretty has been dropped by the controversial director Ivo van Hove. How will audiences react to the loss and is it part of a wider movement of reinterpreting classic musicals? Samira talks to critic Matt Wolf.
Presenter: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Hilary Dunn