6 Questions for Podcasting Sensation Sarah Koenig

Sarah Koenig | Courtesy of X

Sarah Koenig | Photo by Elise Bergerson

Serial was a riveting, record-breaking, 12-part podcast series that re-investigated the murder of Baltimore teenager Hae Min Lee. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was convicted of the crime, but he has always insisted he is innocent.

As a fan, I’m in awe of the show’s reporting, which revealed deep flaws in the criminal justice system, as well as its deft storytelling that hooked listeners.

As a journalist, I have questions: Has Serial changed podcasting forever? Does its success mean all the wonderful things I want it to mean for investigative reporting? And on the flip side, was it worth it to reexamine a murder case if it wasn’t obvious in the end whether Syed did it?

In advance of Serial creators Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder‘s live presentation Thursday night at the Kimmel Center (details here), I interviewed Koenig. Our questions have been paraphrased her responses have been edited lightly for clarity.

Ticket: Serial was the most popular podcast in the world. Now that some time has passed, why do you think it caught fire?

Koenig: We had no idea why, we had like no idea, and now with a little bit of time, we’ve kind of started to think about what just happened and why did that just happen. And I think it’s a bunch of things. It’s funny, none of the elements that we did are new, you know what I mean? To re-investigate a murder case is not a new idea. A serial is not a new idea. Podcasts are not new. But there was something about the combination of all the elements that we chose to put together in one medium that felt really new.

And I think people weren’t used to hearing journalism in that form, in a sort of serialized audio podcast where you had to stick with it week to week, where I was a very strong narrator, so I’m leading you through almost like a character. And I think all of that felt new and I think that’s what was interesting for people. And then crime stories are unfortunately very, very popular for people, which I also weirdly had not understood going in. I didn’t get that, oh, it’s a murder story and people are going to be interested. I didn’t foresee that. Because I’m an idiot [laughs]. Read more »

Win Tickets to See Serial Creators Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder at Merriam Theater

Serial creator/host Sarah Koenig in the studio.

Serial creator/host Sarah Koenig in the studio.

Veteran radio journalists and producers Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder will be in town on May 14th for a live presentation that delves into the creation of their binge-worthy NPR series, Serial, which made history by becoming the fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads in iTunes history.

The ladies will use tape from the show to tell behind-the-scenes stories about the making of Serial, touching on how they constructed favorite episodes and sharing personal anecdotes about working with the podcast’s players, like Adnan Syed, Jay Wilds and more.

Tickets are on sale now, ranging from $35 to $99 a pop, but we have five pairs that we’re giving away for the price of zilch. The giveaway tickets are valued at $90 a pair, and the seats are located in the balcony section of Kimmel’s Merriam Theater. To win, just sign up for our weekly e-newsletter in the box below. The contest ends on Friday, May 8th at 4 pm, at which point we will draw five names at random. Winners will be notified by email.

Best of luck to you. If you don’t happen to win tickets, you can purchase some of your own here.

REVIEW: Bernstein’s MASS With The Philadelphia Orchestra an Otherworldly Delight

A scene from 'MASS.'

A scene from ‘MASS.’

If you missed The Philadelphia Orchestra’s staging of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, you didn’t miss a performance: You missed a major, major event.

How else can you describe the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall stage filled with not only the Philadelphia Orchestra, but the Westminster Symphonic Choir, the Temple University Concert Choir, The American Boychoir, members of the Rock School for Dance, and the Temple University Diamond Marching Band, plus nearly 20 Broadway actors and opera singers…all at once. Add the excitement of Yannick Nezet-Seguin at the podium, and you sort of wonder how the entire building didn’t shatter due the sheer insane sound and energy from this cast of hundreds (Fun fact: this production is the first time that Verizon Hall’s orchestra pit was used. There were so many people on the stage, they couldn’t fit everyone). Read more »

Kimmel Center Announces PIFA 2016, Plus Collaboration with New York’s Joe’s Pub

Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

At this afternoon’s first ever Kimmel Center Presidential Address, CEO and President Anne Ewers presented several new initiatives that the performing arts center will launch over the next several months, and emphasized the success of the Kimmel Center as a cultural venue for the city of Philadelphia. Read more »

GIVEAWAY: Win a Pair of Tickets to Kinky Boots Worth $225

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Broadway sensation Kinky Boots is about to clip-clop into town for its big Philadelphia debut starting April 28th, and we’ve got a super-nice pair of tickets to give away.

The six-time Tony winner—featuring several tunes penned by gay icon Cynci Lauper—concerns Charlie Price, a down-on-his luck chap who’s having trouble keeping his inherited family business, a shoe factory called Price & Sons, afloat. Just as the clouds start rolling in, Lola, a sassy cabaret star/drag queen, comes in looking for a new pair of stilettos. The boots they create turn out to be the ticket that saves the business, and things just get all kinds of crazy fabulous from there.

The tickets we’re giving away are a pair worth $225. To win, sign up for our weekly enewsletter in the box below between now and next Thursday, April 23rd. At that point we’ll draw one of those names at random and voila, they’re going to see Kinky Boots. Good luck!

Kinky Boots runs April 28th through May 10th at the Forrest Theater. More information and tickets can be found here.

REVIEW: Indigo Girls With The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra—and a House Full of A-Gays

indigo girls

Last night at the Kimmel Center, the Indigo Girls performed alongside The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra—the first time they’d ever played with such an ensemble. If that wasn’t exciting enough, there was a wedding ceremony in the fifth row, and it was singer Amy Ray’s birthday.

It’s also worth noting that the house was packed to the brim with local A-gays—everyone from State Rep. Brian Sims and his boyfriend Brandon McMullin to William Way Executive Director Christopher Bartlett and Nellie Fitzpatrick, director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs. Check out this epic Oscar-like selfie they snapped during the performance:

Read more »

GIVEAWAY: Win Tickets to See the Indigo Girls With the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra

Indigo Girls 2

The Indigo Girls are coming to Philly’s Kimmel Center on April 12th, when they’ll try something they’ve never done before: perform with a youth symphony backing them up. That lucky symphony is the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, and Indigo Girls singer-songwriter Amy Ray told us in an interview this week that the collaboration gives their iconic sound a “different dimension” without changing things too dramatically. “We’ve stayed true to the music.”

It’s sure to be an uplifting show, and I’m excited to be able to give away three pairs of tickets to G Philly readers. The process is simple: Just sign up for our weekly e-newsletter in the box below between now and Wednesday, April 8th at 4 pm. At that point we’ll randomly draw three winners from the list. Tickets are valued at $92 for the pair, and are located in the 3rd Tier section (2nd Balcony) at Verizon Hall. Winners can pick them up at Will Call the night of the show.

You can catch the Indigo Girls with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra at the Kimmel Center on April 12. For more information, click here. Read our interview with Amy Ray here.  

Amy Ray of The Indigo Girls Chats About Their Upcoming Philly Concert and Her Advocacy Work

Indigo Girls 2

Emily Saliers and Amy Ray (right) of the Indigo Girls.

 

“It’s riveting to physically hear that much sound, and there’s so much going on,” said Amy Ray when I asked her what it was like to play her Indigo Girls music with an orchestra backing her up. “When we first started to do it, it was so hard because I’d be distracted by the power of it.” Read more »

Broadway Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center Announces 2015-2016 Season

The Broadway League estimated that the 2013-14 Broadway Philadelphia season brought $100 million in revenue for local businesses. That’s no chump change, and speaks to the importance of Broadway touring productions on Philadelphia’s economy. Lucky enough for the city, the 2015-16 Broadway Philadelphia season features 11 productions, many of which are making their Philadelphia touring debuts, plus the epic return of the smash Philly hit The Book of Mormon. Read more »

« Older Posts