Terry Gross

Sondheim, who died Nov. 26, was the lyricist and composer who gave us Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and other shows. In 2010 he spoke about his writing process, from rhyming to finding the right note.

Actor/filmmaker Rebecca Hall had what she describes as a "real gasp" moment when she first read Nella Larsen's 1929 novel Passing.

The book centers on two light-skinned African American women who run into each other after not having seen each other for many years. One of the women is an active member of Harlem's Black community. The other is married to a white man and is passing as white.

Reading the story of these fictional women, Hall realized that her maternal grandfather had also passed as white.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. We thought it would be fun to spend Thanksgiving with Paul McCartney, so we're going to feature my recent interview with him. We talked about his life and music through two projects. He has a new two-volume set of books called "The Lyrics," collecting his lyrics and the stories behind them, starting with songs he wrote before the Beatles and ending with songs from his latest album, "McCartney III," which was released late last year.

Dave Grohl still remembers the first punk show he ever saw: Naked Raygun, in Chicago around 1982, at a little corner bar across from Wrigley Field called The Cubby Bear.

"They knew four chords and the singer was, like, on top of my head, and I was against the stage, and it was life-affirming, because I thought ... 'Oh my God! This is what I want to do,' " the Foo Fighters frontman says.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, professor of television studies at Rowan University in New Jersey, sitting in for Terry Gross. Today, our interview with Twyla Tharp, one of the most celebrated dancers and choreographers of our time. Earlier this year, she was the subject of a PBS "American Masters" documentary. And this weekend, three duet dances from her archives will be performed on stage in New York City.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Marine veteran and intelligence officer Elliot Ackerman served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and won the Silver Star Medal for leading a platoon in the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq. For him, Veterans Day is a time for reconnection.

Actor Andie MacDowell was hoping that she would get a chance to work opposite her daughter, Margaret Qualley, so she was pleasantly surprised when Qualley landed the starring role in the Netflix series Maid and suggested MacDowell join her in the production.

"That's a really special thing to happen to a parent, to have a child trust them and to want them to play opposite them," MacDowell says.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, professor of television studies at Rowan University in New Jersey, sitting in for Terry Gross.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

It's been more than 50 years since The Beatles disbanded, and Paul McCartney wants to set the record straight: "It's always looked like I broke up The Beatles, and that wasn't the case," he says.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, professor of television studies at Rowan University in New Jersey, sitting in for Terry Gross.

On the night before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Washington Post reporter Robert Costa walked through the streets of D.C., surrounded by a throng of Trump supporters. He says he remembers a particular energy in the crowd that night.

"They were clashing with police officers. They were fighting with each other. There was a euphoria," Costa says. "The mob ... it was loud."

As co-host of NBC's Today show from 1991 until 2006, Katie Couric was known for her relatability and mass appeal. But recently Couric's been working with a therapist on relinquishing the notion that she has to be likeable. She even bought a T-shirt that says, "I'm not for everyone."

Actor Oscar Isaac was middle school-age in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew swept through his hometown, blowing the roof off his Florida home. He remembers holding his dog and huddling with his family under some cushions in the living room as water rose up to his ankles.

Actor Billy Porter grew up in Pittsburgh, immersed in the Pentecostal church and convinced that he would be damned for being gay. It wasn't until he was introduced to the world of theater in sixth grade that Porter began to imagine a different future.

Theater, he says, "cracked open a space for me to dream beyond my circumstance."

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross.

The memoir "Maid" - that's M-A-I-D - by our guest Stephanie Land is about what it's like to clean houses for a living and what it's like to be a working single mother struggling to get out of poverty. The new Netflix miniseries of the same title is adapted from Land's memoir. Here's a clip from the series in which Alex, the single mom based on Land and played by Margaret Qualley, applies for government assistance.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MAID")

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Afghan British journalist Najibullah Quraishi has had trouble sleeping for more than two hours a stretch ever since the U.S. withdrew troops from Afghanistan in August and the Taliban came back into power.

Pages