PRI’s Studio 360 American Icons: Moby-Dick
In an effort to reexamine what it means to be American, Studio 360 launched a constructive series aimed at understanding American cultural benchmarks, American Icons. This debut installment guides us through Herman Melville’s classic tale of compulsion, rage, and rapture, Moby-Dick. Host Kurt Andersen employs Studio 360‘s distinctive format to contextualize the work through modern artists including performance artist Laurie Anderson; playwright Tony Kushner; sculptor and painter Frank Stella; jazz scholar Stanley Crouch; science fiction writer Ray Bradbury; and playwright David Ives, who summarized the mammoth novel in the two-minute world premiere radio play, Moby Dude. Listeners are further brought into the account by actor Edward Herrmann who gives a visceral performance as the voice of Ishmael. Scholars Samuel Otter and Andrew Delbanco reflect on how the image of Ahab’s maddened pursuit of the whale was widely mentioned in the press after September 11th - as a metaphor for both the attack and retaliation. Produced by WNYC radio for Public Radio International with executive producer/writer Julie Burstein; director Kerri Hillman; writer Peter Clowney; consulting producer Mary Beth Kirchner; technical director Leital Molad; and writer Edward Lifson. For illuminating and revitalizing a masterpiece with energy, humor, imagination, and verve, and for making “great radio,” the Peabody Board honors Studio 360 American Icons: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.