Ira Glass's twice-weekly radio show, This American Life--essentially an anthology of radio interviews and performance pieces--is easily one of the most entertaining and unpredictable shows on radio. And now a "best of" version is playing live on Sunday nights at Steppenwolf's Studio Theatre. Seeing Glass in person takes a little getting used to--I would never have guessed that the man with the ready self-deprecating wit and Woody Allen voice would look so much like Buddy Holly. And he does look a little geeky sometimes, hiding shyly behind a stack of radio equipment while the tape player runs. But he and his cohost, fringe veteran Beau O'Reilly, play off each other well, and the show's format--alternating O'Reilly's witty, wistful stories with taped interviews by Glass--has both the immediacy of live performance and the intellectual satisfaction of a carefully researched and artfully edited radio interview. Now if only they'd perform this show live in my kitchen while I do the dishes. Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, 312-335-1650. Through June 22: Sundays, 6:30 PM; no shows April 27 through June 1. $10. --Jack Helbig
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Ira Glass by Lou Russo.