New podcast series from Baltimore brings Edgar Allan Poe's madness and mayhem to life

On April 17, 2018, WYPR Baltimore will air the first in a series of new podcasts by The National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre On the Air, with its production of The Tell-Tale Heart. The series features fresh, 20- to 30-minute podcast adaptations of the best-known works of Edgar Allan Poe, America’s renowned master of horror and suspense. Each episode guides listeners through a mental hospital where each cell houses Poe protagonists, each waiting to thrill audiences with dramatic re-tellings of familiar stories including The Tell-Tale HeartThe Black CatBerenice and The Cask of Antillado. Musical underscore and sound effects add even more suspense to the stirring character accounts, brought to life by a creative team of performing artists and talent from the Baltimore metro area.

“As Poe’s final resting place, Baltimore has long been linked to the author’s legacy,” said Alex Zavistovich, founder and artistic director of The National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre. “It’s fitting that we should team with WYPR for this ongoing series, to bring Poe’s works to life while also preserving the unique form of programs from the golden age of radio.”

The program will air every month, and is sponsored in part by RavenBeer, Baltimore’s purveyor of Poe-inspired craft beer. Zavistovich and RavenBeer’s CEO, Stephen Demczuk, are launching the podcast series as the first part of their effort to create The National Edgar Allan Poe Theater. Planned as the world’s first performing arts establishment dedicated to adapting for the stage the collected works of Edgar Allan Poe, the theatre will bring tourism, responsible economic and cultural development, and increased English literacy to Poe’s hometown of Baltimore.


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Creative Team

Alex Zavistovich (Artistic Director) is co-founder of the 501c3 non-profit Molotov Theatre Group and co-founder of The National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre. He was also founding Managing Director of Lean & Hungry Theater, which performs radio drama adaptations of the classics of English literature. The works of Lean & Hungry Theater have been aired on NPR affiliate stations in Washington, DC, Austin TX, and Tampa, FL.

Richard J. Hand (Adaptation/Playwright) is the author of the textbook “The Radio Drama Handbook: Audio Drama in Context and Practice.” A professor of media practice in the University of East Anglia in the UK, he is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Greg Martin (Producer/Engineer/Composer) is a playwright, composer, and scholar. His play Poe ran for two months at the historic Reynolds Tavern in Annapolis, MD. Mr. Martin's Opera Life in Death, based on the Poe short story The Oval Portrait, has been performed repeatedly, including a showcase performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Jay D. Brock (Director) is on the acting/directing faculty at Catholic University of America, and has directed nationally for more than 15 years. He directed Mr. Martin’s showcase production of the Poe opera Life in Death at the Kennedy Center. Mr. Brock is an Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Jennifer Restak (Education Director) is a teacher of English, and a professional curriculum developer. She holds a Masters in Education from Hunter College and a Masters in Drama from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Ms. Restak is developing a common core curriculum-based performance and literacy program, “Poe, Flesh and Blood,” to be used in pilot programs to improve English proficiency for disadvantaged inner city school students.