Jeff Lunden

Jeff Lunden is a freelance arts reporter and producer whose stories have been heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, as well as on other public radio programs.

Lunden contributed several segments to the Peabody Award-winning series The NPR 100, and was producer of the NPR Music series Discoveries at Walt Disney Concert Hall, hosted by Renee Montagne. He has produced more than a dozen documentaries on musical theater and Tin Pan Alley for NPR — most recently A Place for Us: Fifty Years of West Side Story.

Other documentaries have profiled George and Ira Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Lorenz Hart, Harold Arlen and Jule Styne. Lunden has won several awards, including the Gold Medal from the New York Festival International Radio Broadcasting Awards and a CPB Award.

Lunden is also a theater composer. He wrote the score for the musical adaptation of Arthur Kopit's Wings (book and lyrics by Arthur Perlman), which won the 1994 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical. Other works include Another Midsummer Night, Once on a Summer's Day and adaptations of The Little Prince and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for Theatreworks/USA.

Lunden is currently working with Perlman on an adaptation of Swift as Desire, a novel of magic realism from Like Water for Chocolate author Laura Esquivel. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Christmas is coming, and soon TV screens everywhere will light up with that 1946 holiday classic, It's a Wonderful Life . But the same story is coming a little early to the stage of the Houston Grand Opera . That's right: An operatic version of George Bailey's struggle with life and death opens this Friday. Librettist Gene Scheer admits that adapting such a beloved movie has sometimes felt like a fool's errand. "It's almost secular scripture, this piece," he says. "Everyone...

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In September 1993 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn. It was an iconic moment — two mortal enemies had come to terms on a historic peace agreement. That agreement was forged during months of secret back-channel talks in Norway. A new off-Broadway play, OSLO , looks at this little-known part of the peace process. The most important piece of scenery in OSLO is a door: On one...

You might not know Marni Nixon's name, but you've probably heard her. The singer dubbed the voices for Deborah Kerr in The King and I, Natalie Wood in West Side Story and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady — three of Hollywood's biggest movie musicals. Nixon died Sunday at 86 from complications from breast cancer. Nixon had a career that defied categorization. She performed on Broadway and in opera houses, hosted an Emmy Award-winning...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: The smash hit Broadway musical "Hamilton" mixes hip-hop with American history and features a multiracial cast. A lot's been written about the founding fathers in the show - Hamilton, Washington, Jefferson and Aaron Burr among them. But for reporter Jeff Lunden, "The One That Got Away," a song about the founding mothers, is the emotional heart of the show. JEFF LUNDEN, BYLINE: I'll admit it - since the ...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: We're going to spend the next few minutes reflecting on musical accomplishments. A bit later, we're going to talk about the revival of the hit musical "The Wiz." But first, a remembrance - conductor Kurt Masur died today of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 88 years old. Masur led orchestras in Berlin, Leipzig and London. He's also known for reviving the New York Philharmonic. Jeff Lunden...

Ten years ago, Griffin Matthews was singing in a church choir when his pastor found out he was gay and kicked him out. Feeling depressed, he booked a ticket to Uganda for mission work. What happened next is the subject of Invisible Thread , a new off-Broadway musical co-written by Matthews and his life partner, Matt Gould. Matthews, a working New York actor, says he was quickly disillusioned after he arrived in Uganda and found out the man leading his volunteer organization was corrupt. "And...

By now, you may have heard about the new Broadway musical Hamilton . When it opened off-Broadway in February, it earned almost unanimous raves and awards for blending history and hip-hop. Its sold-out run had A-list celebrities and politicians clamoring for tickets. Thursday night, the story of Alexander Hamilton, and the Founding Fathers and Mothers, opened on Broadway. Most people in the business expected Hamilton to move immediately from the Public Theater to Broadway, win a...

Broadway is New York's biggest tourist attraction and brought in $1.3 billion in ticket sales last season. But it's also a high-stakes gamble for producers, since only 1 in 4 Broadway shows turns a profit. This month, two of the fall's most highly anticipated musicals, a revival of Side Show and The Last Ship , with songs by Sting, have thrown in the towel — closing, having lost almost their entire investments. Entertainment reporter and theater critic Jeremy Gerard of Deadline has been...

New York is saying goodbye to another historic building. Steinway Hall, the main showroom for Steinway & Sons pianos, will be moving to a new location, leaving its home of almost 90 years on 57th Street near Carnegie Hall. The first floor has been designated a landmark and will be preserved, while the rest of the building will be torn down to build high-rise luxury condominiums. Steinway Hall was, quite literally, the shop window for Steinway pianos in New York City. When it was...

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