Elizabeth Blair

Elizabeth Blair is a Senior Producer in the Arts Information Unit of NPR News.

On a daily basis, she produces, edits and reports arts and cultural segments that air on NPR News magazines including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Her recent stories explored the rise of public humiliation in popular culture, consumers' changing media habits and the late night TV wars.

In this position that she has held since 2003, Blair's varied work has included profiles of actor Neil Patrick Harris, rapper K'Naan, and the band Pearl Jam. She has written and produced long-form documentaries on such cultural icons as Paul Robeson and Billie Holiday. Blair oversaw the production of some of NPR's most popular special projects including "50 Great Voices," the NPR series on awe-inspiring voices from around the world and across time in, and the "In Character" series which explored famous American fictional characters. Blair is especially proud of her interview with Cookie Monster and her reporting on the 10th anniversary of SpongeBob.

Over the years, Blair has received several honors for her work including two Peabody Awards and a Gracie.

For three and a half years, Blair lived in Paris, France, where she co-produced Le Jazz Club From Paris with Dee Dee Bridgewater, and the monthly magazine Postcard From Paris.

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6:05am

Sat July 19, 2014
Theater

With Humor, 'Dead And Breathing' Dives Into End-Of-Life Struggles

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 6:40 pm

Lizan Mitchell (left) as the wealthy and crotchety Carolyn and N.L. Graham as Veronika, her nurse, in the play Dead and Breathing.
Seth Freeman

The play Dead and Breathing begins boldly. Sixty-eight-year-old Carolyn takes off her towel and steps into a bathtub completely naked. She's bathed by her chatty nurse, Veronika.

The wealthy, cantankerous woman is dying of cancer. Carolyn, played by Lizan Mitchell, wants to die sooner rather than later, and tries to convince the nurse (N.L. Graham) to help her do that.

It's one of the most talked-about new plays at this year's Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, W.Va., which runs through Aug. 3.

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2:53pm

Thu July 17, 2014
Theater

Actress Elaine Stritch, 'Her Own Greatest Character,' Dies At 89

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:19 pm

Stritch first appeared on Broadway in 1944 — and was still performing occasionally even at age 89. She is pictured above in 1955.
AP

Elaine Stritch — one of Broadway's boldest and brassiest performers — has died. With that gravelly voice — and those long legs — and that utter command of the stage, Stritch was a bona fide Broadway star. Not as a classic leading lady, necessarily, but as the hardened-yet-vulnerable performer audiences couldn't forget. Stritch died of natural causes Thursday morning at her home in Birmingham, Mich. She was 89.

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2:13pm

Tue July 8, 2014
Book Your Trip

In 'Little Engine That Could,' Some See An Early Feminist Hero

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 6:23 pm

Was "I think I can" the great-grandmother of "lean in?" Some readers see the plucky locomotive as a parable about working women, but some versions of the story feature a male protagonist instead.
Platt & Munk, Penguin Young Readers Group

"Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. Ding-dong, ding-dong."

The beloved tale of the little blue engine — who helps bring a broken-down train of toys to the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain — has been chugging along for a very long time. But despite the locomotive's optimistic refrain — I think I can, I think I can, I think I can — the story has a somewhat checkered past: In its tracks, The Little Engine has left both a legal battle and a debate over whether the little blue engine is male or female.

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7:50am

Fri June 20, 2014
Author Interviews

In 'Fever,' Town's Teen Tic Epidemic Gets A Chilling Novelization

Megan Abbott's other books include Queenpin, The Song Is You and The End of Everything.

Sometimes real life is stranger than fiction, so it makes sense that novelists get some of their best stories from the headlines. That's what happened with mystery writer Megan Abbott. A few years ago, she was one of the millions of people captivated by news stories about a strange illness that seemed to consume a town in upstate New York. Now, Abbott has taken pieces of that true story and turned it into a chilling new novel.

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5:29am

Fri June 13, 2014
Movies

'How To Train Your Dragon 2' Is More Growly And Snarly (And Wise) Than Ever

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 11:20 am

Advanced animation and audio software help bring Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his pet dragon, Toothless, to life in How to Train Your Dragon 2.
DreamWorks Animation

The dragons are more fantastic. The stakes are higher. And protagonist Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III still wants humans and dragons to live together in peace. How to Train Your Dragon 2 — one of the most anticipated family movies of the summer — opens Friday.

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