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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.

Matthew Yokobosky finds food inspirational — which is perhaps not entirely surprising, considering that as an art curator, it's his job to make connections between seemingly disparate objects, just as a chef creates a cohesive dish out of contrasting ingredients.

So when New York City restaurateur and chef Saul Bolton suggested developing a themed menu and a series of dinners around the "David Bowie Is" exhibition now on view at the Brooklyn Museum, Yokobosky was intrigued.

The most expensive play in Broadway history opened Sunday night. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child cost $33.5 million, runs five and a half hours long (in two parts), and has gotten rave reviews. But while it has plenty of special effects, it's actually designed for audiences to use their imagination.

As the orchestral world strives for greater diversity among musicians, a variety of programs to support musicians of color, who face multiple challenges on their path to an orchestral seat, have been explored. Recently, three organizations that have been tackling some of these issues - The Sphinx Organization, The League of American Orchestras and the New World Symphony - have brought their expertise and experience together, joining in a partnership to launch the National Alliance for Audition Support.

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A good magician never reveals his secrets. Well, one of the world's most famous magicians has just broken that rule.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Arvo Pärt is one of the most popular, most performed living composers. He's beloved worldwide for his signature sound – a spacious, meditative music that tends to sound timeless.

But there's a lesser-known side to the 82-year-old Estonian's career. It's a story that can be traced in a new recording of Pärt's four Symphonies. The album is a musical journey spanning 45 years in fervently detailed performances by the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic, conducted by fellow Estonian Tõnu Kaljuste.

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