Terry Gross

Claire Suddath, a journalist in Brooklyn, pays about $24,000 a year for daycare for her 17-month-old daughter. Though considered cheap by Brooklyn standards, it's still an enormous expense — and one that Suddath acknowledges is out of reach for many parents.

"I have written a lot of stories over the years and interviewed women about their career decisions, and I can't tell you the number of women that I have talked to who have ... dropped out of the workforce or switched to part-time solely because they couldn't afford child care," she says.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced offices and businesses to shutter abruptly, fundamentally transforming the way people work.

Essential workers remained "in person," but millions of others lost their jobs. And journalist Anne Helen Petersen estimates that some 42% of Americans began to work remotely.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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Now we're going to hear an excerpt of our 2001 interview with Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for her performance as Anita. She was one of the few actors playing a Puerto Rican who was actually from Puerto Rico.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

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As a child in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Mel Brooks assumed he would grow up to work in Manhattan's garment district. That's what most of the kids in his working-class Jewish neighborhood did.

But everything changed when he saw his first Broadway musical — Anything Goes, starring Ethel Merman.

"My hands stung from applauding so much after it was over," he says. "And I remember going back in Uncle Joe's cab and I remember saying as he was driving me back home to Williamsburg, 'Uncle Joe, Uncle Joe! I'm going to do that! ... I want to be in show business!' "

Succession co-star Kieran Culkin has grown up on screen. His first gig (when he was 6) was in a commercial, followed by a small part in the 1990 film Home Alone, which his brother, Macaulay, starred in. But it was only recently, nearly 30 years into his acting career, that something clicked.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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, we're concluding our multi-day tribute to Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who died last week at the age of 91. On this show, we'll be spending time with some of the people who worked with him or performed in his musicals.

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.

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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.

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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.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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

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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."

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