This Saturday Ira Glass Comes to Milwaukee
Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host. Ira Glass, Monica Bill Barnes, Anna Bass live at the Riverside Theater Saturday April 26. 7pm doors | 8pm show
This American Life host Ira Glass has been working with Monica Bill Barnes & Company to invent a show that combines two art forms that – as Glass puts it – “have no business being together – dance and radio.” One is all words and no visuals. One is all visuals and no words. The result is a funny, lively and very talky evening of dance and stories that brought down the house in its first test run at Carnegie Hall. “What makes it work,” says Glass “is a shared sensibility. As dancers, Monica and Anna are these amazingly relatable and funny storytellers without words.”
THREE ACTS, TWO DANCERS, ONE RADIO HOST . . .
Radio host Ira Glass and choreographer Monica Bill Barnes thought their work shared a sensibility, even though hers includes no talking and his involves no physical movement whatsoever.
“There’s something funny and intensely personal in her dances,” Glass says, “with these moments of awkwardness or self-consciousness or striving that I find
“Ira has a way of telling stories that makes me feel like I am playing a supporting role,” Barnes says. “I will cringe, laugh and sometimes be heartbroken -basically I empathize, which is what I want an audience to do when we are dancing.”
In May 2012 they collaborated on three short dances that were part of a This American Life variety show that was beamed into movie theaters nationwide. It was such a success that they decided to do a full show that combines stories and dance.
Some are performed together onstage by Glass, Barnes and dancer Anna Bass. For a few, the dancers or the radio host take over for a while.
“People who like This American Life will probably like this,” says Glass “because it’s just like the radio show, um, if you picture dancers during all the stories.”
“I think it’s important that we put the phrase ‘risk taking’ into the press materials and show description,” adds Bass. “That’s important in the dance world.”
“Done,” says Glass. “Well done.”
Glass is the creator and host of WBEZ Chicago’s public radio show This American Life, which is distributed by Public Radio International and heard on over 500 public radio stations; its podcast most weeks is the most popular podcast in America. Monica Bill Barnes & Company is a contemporary American dance company with the mission to celebrate individuality, humor and the innate theatricality of everyday life. The company has performed in over thirty venues in New York City including New York City Center, The Joyce Theater, Joe’s Pub and Upright Citizens Brigade, and out of town venues including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The American Dance Festival and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
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Live at the Pabst Theater Friday May 26. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m.