Playing on Air Full Length Episodes

Series produced by Playing on Air

Caption: Playing on Air
Playing on Air  

Playing on Air is a unique public radio program featuring a novel form of story-telling, the short play. The short play form is ideal for the rhythms of radio listeners on the go. Listeners enjoy a beginning, middle and knock-out punch in minutes. They enjoy a variety of voices and styles in one show. Plus, after hearing the artists perform, they get to hear all the artists converse about what just went down.

Our contemporary shorts, at 10-25 minutes each, make up our 53-minute show. They are written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning dramatists in a format they love, but rarely hear performed by top talent.

Our actors are world-class: Sam Waterston, Bobby Cannavale, Audra McDonald, Rosie Perez, Adam Driver, John Leguizamo, Michelle Williams, Jesse Eisenberg, Kathleen Turner, Bill Irwin, Peter Gallagher, Ed Asner, Jerry Stiller, Jane Krakowski...

Writers and directors include Pulitzer Prize winners David Lindsay-Abaire, David Auburn, John Patrick Shanley, Beth Henley, Lynn Nottage, Donald Margulies, Lanford Wilson; Tony winners Christopher Durang, Warren Leight, John Guare, and notable others.

The topics of these short plays are wide-ranging, timely, and reflect the world we live in now. Masters of the form, our playwrights write pieces that, like all great theater, entertain, illuminate, inform and humanize.

Each short is about 10-25 minutes and there are two or three of them on every 53-minute offering. (Single plays are also available). Original music, and polished, subtle sound design are composed for every bite-sized but beautifully crafted piece.

After hearing each short play, listeners get the inside scoop from its participants. Lively, insightful conversation with each short's playwright, director and cast about what just happened, round out each show.

"When I first sampled Playing on Air I thought our audience would like the program, so I scheduled it during the summer and asked for listener feedback. The most amazing feedback returned with almost 100 % positive about this program. This is not typical of our listeners! This is a gem worth your review and absolutely worth adding to your schedule. Try it! You'll love the response! What's left to say? Playing on Air is a public radio winner."
- Lynne Clendenin, Program Director, OPB Radio.

"The programs Playing on Air has provided to us have already aired and were extremely well received by our listeners. They commented on the quality of the plays and actors and the professionalism of the series. I can’t help but think this is a perfect fit for public radio."
- Alan Chartock, CEO, WAMC-Northeast Public Radio.

"The playwrights and the actors are award-winning first-rate professionals you will have heard of. Because the plays are short, there's time to include insightful interviews, usually with the playwrights, in each broadcast. Playing on Air definitely fills a gap in available radio theatre programming and I'm delighted to schedule them. Your audiences will love these shows."
- Linda Lopez McAlister, Producer, KUNM's Radio Theatre, Albuquerque, NM

"Playing on Air is the kind of show that should be multipied by ten - it's fun, it's intelligent, and it reminds us how glorious radio can be."
- David Ives, playwright

"Playing on Air gives actors the thrilling experience of acting without having to look in a mirror first. They produce dramatically compelling radio in a fun and accessible way."
- Jesse Eisenberg, actor, playwright Hide full description

"When I first sampled Playing on Air I thought our audience would like the program, so I scheduled it during the summer and asked for listener feedback. The most amazing feedback returned with almost 100 % positive about this program. This is not typical of our listeners! This is a gem worth your review and absolutely worth adding to your schedule. Try it! You'll love the response! What's left to say? Playing on Air is a public radio winner." - Lynne Clendenin, Program Director, OPB Radio. "The programs Playing on Air has provided to us have already aired and were extremely well received by our listeners. They commented on the quality of the plays and actors and the professionalism of the series. I can’t help but think this is a perfect fit for public radio." - Alan... Show full description


43 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: American Horror Story's Denis O'Hare, Credit: FX Networks
Denis O’Hare (“American Horror Story”, Tony winner for Take Me Out), and Kristine Nielsen (Tony nominee for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) st...

Bought by KUNM


  • Added: Aug 10, 2018
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Susie Essman of "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
In PLAYING GOD, a divine comedy from SNL's Alan Zweibel, God (Bill Buell), over the objections of a heavenly assistant ("Curb Your Enthusiasm" star...

Bought by KUNM


  • Added: Jun 29, 2018
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Elizabeth Ashley
COME IN FROM THE COLD features a wintry trio of short plays about connection, lost and found. With wit, humor and heart, the episode begins with WI...

Bought by KFCF FM, KUNM, and Prairie Public


  • Added: Feb 16, 2018
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Martha Plimption
Featuring Emmy winners Bobby Cannavale and Martha Plimpton, and recorded live on stage at Playwrights Horizons, the entertaining and timely plays i...

Bought by KUNM


  • Added: Jan 25, 2018
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Condola Rashad
Starring Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins and Condola Rashad (“Billions”), CELL tells the riveting story of three African-American women working at ...

Bought by WCPN, New Hampshire Public Radio, KUNM, WCAI / WNAN, and WHRV


  • Added: Jan 18, 2018
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Geraldine Hughes
CHANGING OF THE GUARD features two short comedies about getting outpaced by a world zooming way ahead. In The Mandela Effect, written and directed...

Bought by KUNM, KZYX, and WHRV


  • Added: Oct 24, 2017
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Bill Irwin
Starring Bill Irwin, Steven Boyer, Len Cariou, Michael Urie. A FATHER’S LOVE celebrates the unbreakable bond that exists between fathers and childr...

Bought by New Hampshire Public Radio, KUNM, WHRV, and Georgia Public Broadcasting


  • Added: Oct 02, 2017
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Michelle Williams
Starring Michelle Williams, Rupert Friend, Caitlin FitzGerald, Timothee Chalamet; RENDEZ-VOUS WITH JOHN PATRICK SHANLEY delivers two thought provok...

Bought by KUNM and WHRV


  • Added: Aug 28, 2017
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Callie Thorne
Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda, offers two romantic comedies with questionable romance! In At The Water’s Edge, Wet, a Production Stage Manager and his S...

Bought by KUNM, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and WHRV


  • Added: Jul 05, 2017
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Timothee Chalamet
Timothee Chalamet, Zoe Kazan, Ciaran Hinds, Geraldine Hughes star in three humorous shorts in which love trumps panic, insecurity and anxiety! In ...

Bought by WNPR and KUNM


  • Added: Jun 01, 2017
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Scott Adsit
Comedy writer all-star, Alan Zweibel (“SNL,” Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays), and young comedy writer MVP, Jon Kern (“The Simps...

Bought by KUNM


  • Added: Mar 23, 2017
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: John Douglas Thompson
Sam Waterston and John Douglas Thompson star in this offering from Playing on Air. It features two short plays about American Black History. In th...

Bought by KUT and KUNM


  • Added: Feb 28, 2017
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Jane Alexander
Jane Alexander, Peter Jacobson, Amy Ryan and Michael Stuhlbarg star in two short, touching and humorous plays about stepping up when you are neede...

Bought by WHRV, KUNM, and Oregon Public Broadcasting


  • Added: Nov 02, 2016
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Stephen Lang
"One of the richest, most complex pieces of acting I've seen in my theater going life." The Wall Street Journal "As starkly moving as taps at dusk...

Bought by Red River Radio Network, WHRV, and Oregon Public Broadcasting


  • Added: Oct 27, 2016
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Peter Gallagher
Ed Asner, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Gallagher, Elizabeth Ashley and others star in two shorts about fatherhood, and fathers who don’t always enjoy a s...

Bought by WCPN, WHRV, KUNM, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and Georgia Public Broadcasting


  • Added: Aug 03, 2016
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Brandon Dirden
Two short plays directed by award-winning actresses. In the comic The Press Conference by Jessica Dickey, everyone reveals a bit more of their true...

Bought by WHRV, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and KUNM


  • Added: Jun 28, 2016
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Stephen Lang
"As starkly moving as taps at dusk" says the Washington Post about BEYOND GLORY, a powerful tribute to military valor written and performed by stag...

Bought by Red River Radio Network, KWIT, KUER, New Hampshire Public Radio, Prairie Public and more


  • Added: Apr 30, 2016
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Carol Kane
Carol Kane, Julie White, and Steven Boyer are among the stars in these two shorts. It’s spring in the neighborhood "Hell’s Kitchen" in SOMETHING I'...

Bought by WHRV, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and KUNM


  • Added: Mar 08, 2016
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Amy Ryan
Two short plays. In Pulitzer Prize winner David Auburn’s Fifth Planet, a professional astronomer played by Amy Ryan (Birdman; Gone, Baby, Gone) an...

Bought by WHRV, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and KUNM


  • Added: Jan 15, 2016
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Lucy DeVito
Two short plays about teenagers facing their futures. With summer imminent, they look ahead with anxiety, optimism, resignation, possibility. In th...

Bought by Oregon Public Broadcasting, WHRV, and KUNM


  • Added: Nov 04, 2015
  • Length: 53:00
  • Purchases: 3