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Listen: How Make-Believe Creates Plays for Your Ears

The Make-Believe Association is making new audio dramas for podcast listeners — and to do it, the company has taken a page from the playbook of another medium entirely: Television.

Listen to this week’s podcast below:

For the Make-Believe podcast’s first season, three writers each penned a new audio drama, but writing them wasn’t a solitary process. The trio wrote and collaborated together in a “writer’s room,” reminiscent of the process used for TV series.

“It was my favorite, it turns out,” said writer-producer Jeremy McCarter, the founder of Make-Believe, on the new episode of Stagecraft, Variety’s theater podcast. “There’s a reason why TV is so good these days. It’s because the writers help each other. They collaborate. … When I think about the way traditional theater works, you don’t often get that many chances to collaborate with the people who do what you do. What you find is that with this mutual help and inspiration and feedback, if it’s delivered regularly, the room itself starts to get smarter. That’s the magic of it.”

McCarter, a former staffer at the Public Theater and the co-author with Lin-Manuel Miranda of the book “Hamilton: The Revolution,” worked in the writer’s room with fellow Chicago playwrights Nancy García Loza and Nate Marshall. Their three plays, inspired by folk tales and fables, make up the first season of Make-Believe, along with a fourth episode that showcases a little-known teleplay by Lorraine Hansberry.

In the new episode of Stagecraft, McCarter took listeners behind the scenes of that first season, and dropped a few hints for what’s coming up in season two. He also revealed how his connection to “Hamilton” has changed him.

“I do find that [being involved in ‘Hamilton’] inoculates you against the feeling that something won’t work,” he said. “Because that was such a crazy-sounding idea at the very beginning, and to see what it has become — this global, possibly interplanetary phenomenon — just shows that if you’re willing to take a big risk with the right collaborators at the right moment, these astonishing things really do happen.”

New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available biweekly in July, August and September, with a weekly schedule resuming in October. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on Apple PodcastsStitcher or anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

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