Trey Graham

Trey Graham edits and produces arts and entertainment content for NPR's Digital Media division, where among other things he's helped launch the Monkey See pop-culture blog and NPR's expanded Web-only movies coverage. He also helps manage the Web presence for Fresh Air from WHYY.

Outside NPR, Graham has been a lead theater critic at the Washington City Paper, D.C.'s alternative weekly newspaper, since 1995, which means he's seen a good deal of superb theater and a great deal of schlock. He's still stage-struck enough to believe that the former makes up for the latter.

Graham began his career as a writer and editor at The Washington Blade; his subsequent tenure at USA Today included a stint as the newspaper's music and theater editor. A past fellow at both the O'Neill Critics Institute and the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater, Graham won the George Jean Nathan Award for distinguished drama criticism in December 2004.

Graham is also a regular panelist on Around Town, the venerable arts roundtable program on Washington PBS affiliate WETA-TV, and the author of the theater section of the newest Time Out Guide to the nation's capital. He's written about books, travel, movies and the arts for publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Born in New Orleans (during Mardi Gras, no less) and raised in South Carolina, Graham has lived in Washington, D.C., since 1990 ­ except for a couple of years in Zimbabwe, which turned out to be way more fun than a politically perilous, economically disastrous situation has any right being.

Once upon a time, it was MySpace. (Huh. Turns out you can still link to it.) Then Facebook happened. And Twitter. And beyond those two dominant social-media platforms, there are a host of other, newer options for staying in touch and letting the digital universe get a look at your life. And for certain kinds of sharing, some of those other options make more sense to tech-savvy teens than the Big Two do.

The last few days of my post-Tonys theater week were so jam-packed that there was no time to write up what I was doing. Matinees, cabarets, stand-ups, burlesques, benefit readings; it was a mad dash of a weekend. So here goes, with the recap — and a few recommendations for things to try next time you get to New York:

There's plenty of high drama going on in Porgy and Bess, and high drama can often mean intense acting.

God knows Audra McDonald is tearing up the stage as the drug- and drink- and sex-addled Bess: I've never seen her loosen up her joints and contort her body the way she does in two or three of the show's more scorching moments. She's located something rough and ugly deep inside, and found a physical and a vocal language for it.

On Monday night, a theater-critic buddy and I were hoisting a round at a 9th Avenue saloon called Flaming Saddles. "God Bless Texas" was on the jukebox, which was an actual jukebox and not somebody's Spotify playlist, and the big-screen TVs were showing Shirley MacLaine getting smashed in Can-Can, because it's that kind of establishment.

The Tonys, like all awards shows, are about successful people dressing pretty to congratulate each other for being successful. Can't get past that.

But the Tonys, to me, always seem just a little less gross than the Oscars or the Grammys or the Xtreme Video Music Firewalking Awards or what have you.

I get somewhere between four and six e-mails every day from NPR's news managers, each one an update on the network's coverage plans for the day — and each one bearing this stern all-caps warning:


Like most news organizations, we keep our so-called "story budgets" close to the vest, not least out of competitiveness.

It's Halloween. Want to hear Neil Patrick Harris get freaked out?

Thought so. You'll want to click on that play button above, and check out Neda Ulaby's All Things Considered piece on an L.A. haunted house — more of an interactive play, really — called Delusion.

If there's anything guaranteed to lift the heart of an NPR nerd, it's the sound of All Things Considered's Robert Siegel losing his composure. This is a news anchor, after all, who can deliver the song title "Party 'Til You Puke" with all the gravity of a president announcing the death of a hero. (No, really. This happened.)