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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."

Aspiring orchestral musicians have long known that the road to a professional career is arduous and paved with risks. But new research from the U.K. shows that even attaining the brass ring of an orchestral job does not necessarily provide financial security. In fact, even with salaried, full-time employment, many British orchestral musicians are struggling to pay their bills.

Tina Fey's popular high-school movie "Mean Girls" is now a Broadway musical. Hear Theater Critic Howard Shapiro's review this week on In a Broadway Minute. Tune in Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am.

With graduation season underway, A Tempo this week begins a short series of conversations with accomplished musicians who are giving back to young artists or imparting their wisdom at Commencement ceremonies. This Saturday (4/5 at 7 pm) host Rachel Katz chats with Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim, who frequently performs with youth and community orchestras and will be the soloist in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with West Windsor, NJ-based Sinfonietta Nova on Sunday May 6.

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.

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!

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

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.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

'Carousel' Returns To Broadway

Apr 28, 2018

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Harry Potter has arrived on Broadway with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a stage adaptation of the newest installment in J.K. Rowling's runaway hit series about a wizard and his upbringing. Hear Theater Critic Howard Shapiro's review this week on In a Broadway Minute Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am. 

The 2018 New York Opera Fest gets underway May 1, and this Saturday (4/28) A Tempo offers a preview of its diverse productions and offerings - ranging from fully staged productions to immersive events in smaller venues to a downloadable podcast. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Peter Szep, co-founder and chair of the festival, about highlights and how the New York opera scene is expanding and evolving. Tune in Saturday at 7 pm. 

I fell in love recently — with Mel Brooks. It was my almost-next-to-last day in Los Angeles, and I'd gone with my producer, Danny Hajek, to interview the great writer-director-producer-composer-lyricist-mensch, whose movies include Young Frankenstein, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (my favorite film title ever), Blazing Saddles and other knee-slapping hilarities.

Allan Monga, a junior at Deering High School in Portland, Maine, traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Poetry Out Loud contest on Monday. It's a national competition in which students recite great works of poetry, and it's run by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

But Monga, who says he fled violence in his home country of Zambia, was initially barred from the national final because of his immigration status: He's an asylum seeker and does not yet have U.S. citizenship.

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