The Onassis Foundation and the TRAX podcast network for tweens from public media organization PRX today announced Live from Mount Olympus, a new podcast produced in partnership with theater ensemble the TEAM, combining the magic of audio and contemporary theatre with the power of Greek myth.
The show will debut free on-demand to audiences everywhere on Tuesday, February 2, with new episodes each Tuesday through March 9. Click here to listen to the trailer.
Live from Mount Olympus, an audio adventure for all, is co-directed by Rachel Chavkin, recipient of the Tony Award for best direction of a musical in 2019 for Hadestown and honored in 2017 for Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 and Zhailon Levingston, who currently serves as the Resident Director for Broadway’s Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.
“These recording sessions have been profoundly joyous for the company, in extremely heavy times,” said Rachel Chavkin, Co-Director. “Silliness, as well as depth, abounds. And I think that this joy in making will translate to listeners of all ages, as these old tales are rendered new and fresh.”
“It has been such a gift to, within these covid times of isolation, still be able to visit worlds new and old through the prevailing gift of the imagination and the willingness of everyone to bring their most optimistic and joyful selves to the project,” said Zhailon Levingston, Co-Director. “I hope it touches every young listener who hears it.”
When young Perseus, voiced by actor Divine Garland, makes a rash promise to save his mother from the clutches of an evil king, he has to strike out on a dangerous quest. Hermes, god of luck and thieves, voiced by Tony Grammy and Emmy Award-winning actor André De Shields (The TEAM, Hadestown, The Wiz, Play On!, The Full Monty, Ain’t Misbehavin’), narrates this tale of terrifying monsters, powerful gods, and a brave girl who will change Perseus’ life forever. Richly imagined through evocative action and immersive sound, the podcast also explores timeless themes of complex families, love, and discovering not only who you are, but what you are capable of.
Live from Mount Olympus features artists from acclaimed Brooklyn-based theater company the TEAM including Vinie Burrows (Gaia, Maia, Gray Sister, Nymph), André De Shields (Hermes), Jill Frutkin (Metis, Gray Sister, Nymph), Divine Garland (Perseus), Amber Gray (Cassiopeia), Modesto “Flako” Jimenez (Phylakos), Libby King (Athena), Ian Lassiter (Zeus, Apollo, Acrisius, Polydectes, Kronos, sea monster Cetus), Zhailon Levingston (Young Hermes, Funeral Games Announcer, Series Announcer), Christina Liberus (Andromeda), Nehemiah Luckett (Cepheus), Jake Margolin (Dictys), James Harrison Monaco (Hephaestus, Atlas, Phineus), Kristen Sieh (Perseus at ages five and 12, Rhea, Gray Sister, Nymph), and Jillian Walker (Danae).
The Live from Mount Olympus production team includes executive producer Karen Brooks Hopkins, Senior Advisor of Onassis USA, who served as President of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) from 1999 to 2015. The series is created and produced by Peabody Award-winning radio producer Julie Burstein, creator of public radio’s Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen. In addition, the podcast features writing by Alexie Basil (episodes one through four) as well as by Sesame Street writer and playwright Nathan Yungerberg (episodes five and six), sound design by David Schulman of NPR’s “Musicians in Their Own Words” series, story editing by author Nalini Jones, music composed and performed by Magda Giannikou, leader of the Banda Magda world music ensemble, and illustrations by cartoonist Jason Adam Katzenstein, whose work has been featured in The New Yorker and on Cartoon Network.
“The Onassis Foundation has a deep and organic connection to the Greek myths and their timeless stories about existence, divinity, struggle, and righteousness. I can’t think of any better medium to communicate these enduring tales than audio drama via a contemporary podcast,” said Karen Brooks Hopkins, Executive Producer and Onassis USA Senior Advisor. “We are thrilled that our program is part of PRX’s new TRAX network and we are proud of the stellar cast, creators, and advisors who have brought Live from Mount Olympus to the airwaves.”
“It’s been a great pleasure to work with artists from all over the country and the globe despite the global pandemic,” said Julie Burstein, Co-Creator and Producer of Live from Mount Olympus. “Audio has allowed us to create a world we can inhabit together even when we all have to stay home. Our marvelous, diverse cast and immersive sound design bring the story of Perseus to life in a podcast that will thrill listeners of all ages.”
“Live from Mount Olympus is an epic tale of mortals and gods, but at its core, the story is full of universal truths we all face in our lives, especially in the midst of growing up,” said Michelle Smawley, Executive Producer of TRAX from PRX. “At TRAX, we believe podcasts have the power to provide adventurous entertainment to tween audiences, while also speaking to their lived experiences in order to better understand the world. We’re delighted to partner with the Onassis Foundation and this accomplished and very inclusive team of creators to bring tweens a show the likes of which they’ve never heard before.”
Live from Mount Olympus is available free on-demand across podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher, and online at TRAX.fm.
Visit onassis.link/olympus for more information.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.
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