The Big Listen ended production in May 2018. While this site is no longer updated, all the content remains available for archive purposes.
In 2015, the New York Times published an essay titled “To Fall In Love With Anyone Do This” by Mandy Len Catron. It recalled a study done by psychologist Arthur Aron more than 20 years ago wherein Aron successfully got two strangers to fall in love by getting them to answer 36 questions. The questions were designed to foster intimacy and trust. And they pretty much worked! The experiment has been replicated by countless couples looking to skip a few steps on the path to love.
Generally, scientific studies don’t make great fodder for musical theater. But don’t tell that to the folks behind the podcast musical, 36 Questions. The show stars Jonathan Groff (of Hamilton and Frozen fame) and Jessie Shelton as an estranged couple looking to repair their relationship using the 36 questions. Also there’s a duck named Henry, who is actually pretty critical in advancing the story.
Recently, we chatted with Groff about why doing a podcast musical intrigued him and whether there’s a future for musicals in podcast form. And in our extended interview with him, we also asked him a couple of the famed 36 questions. You know, so he would fall in love with us. You can hear our Groff special here.
Tell Me Other Stuff To Check Out
- On Drugs — Since the dawn of time, drugs have profoundly influenced human existence. They’ve helped us beat cancer and become the gender we were born to be. They’ve made us more open to art and they’ve stirred our creative juices. They’ve also caused irreparable damage. In this show, CBC journalist Geoff Turner explores all the ways that drugs have impacted our lives.
- Radio Atlas — If you only speak English and you want to read a book written in another language or watch a foreign film, there are likely translation options available to you. But what about audio? If you don’t speak the language, it’s unlikely you’d listen. Until now. Radio Atlas is a podcast that translates foreign language audio stories into English text-only videos. So it’s like a foreign film with no moving pictures.
- “I Survived Domestic Violence. Now I’m Drawn To True Crime Podcasts” — In this New York Times op-ed, writer Jes Skolnik explains how survivors of violent crime can find true crime podcasts to be cathartic and healing. It seems counterintuitive, but Skolnik’s consumption of true crime podcasts is ostensibly exposure therapy, which is commonly used to treat PTSD. Knowing you can control the violence with the tap of a button is empowering. Since writing the op-ed, Skolnik has found a whole community of survivors who find therapeutic benefits from true crime podcasts.
- Very attractive listener recommendations: Cross-Examined Life and Human Race
Do you have a podcast recommendation you’d like to share with us? We want to hear it! Give us a jingle on the Pod Line at 202-885-POD1 and leave a message. Then we’ll put you on the radio and your third grade teacher will hear it and realize how much she underestimated you..
Thanks for reading, pals! ‘Til next time…keep listening, America.
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