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L.A. Theatre Works highlights 12½-hour, star-studded, unabridged
recording of ‘Babbitt’ by Sinclair Lewis for novel’s centennial
LOS ANGELES (January 7, 2022) — In 1987, L.A. Theatre Works took the audio world by storm with a word-by-word recording of “Babbitt,” the seminal novel by Sinclair Lewis, starring Edward Asner in the title role and with a 33-member star-studded ensemble playing all the remaining parts. Recorded in the Santa Monica studios of NPR affiliate station KCRW 89.9 FM, the 12½ marathon reading, which took over a year to produce, debuted on Thanksgiving Day to instant acclaim. In honor of the novel’s centennial year in 2022, this remarkable recording is once again available for purchase at www.latw.org.
Published in 1922, “Babbitt” tells the story of real estate agent George F. Babbitt and explores the vacuity and conformity of the middle class in small town, white collar America. Lewis’s epic novel, celebrated for its comic tone, satire and vivid dialogue, uniquely captures the booming 1920s and the relentless culture of American business. In a recent article on the occasion of the book’s 100th anniversary, The New York Times called it “Lewis’s best – and most misunderstood – novel.” In the L.A. Theatre Works production, Asner is joined by celebrated actors of stage and screen including René Auberjonois, Bonnie Bedelia, Ed Begley Jr., Georgia Brown, Roscoe Lee Browne, Jack Coleman, Bud Cort, Ted Danson, William Devane, Richard Dreyfuss, Héctor Elizondo, Fionnula Flanagan, Robert Foxworth, Harry Hamlin, Julie Harris, Helen Hunt, Amy Irving, Stacy Keach, John Lithgow, Nan Martin, Marsha Mason, Richard Masur, Marian Mercer, Joanna Miles, Holly Palance, Judge Reinhold, Franklyn Seales, David Selby, Ally Sheedy, Madolyn Smith, James Whitmore, JoBeth Williams and Michael York. Together, they voice 90 different characters.
“Babbitt” was the first radio program recorded by L.A. Theatre Works and its newly formed L.A. Classic Theatre Works radio company. Since then, L.A. Theatre Works has become the world’s foremost publisher of great dramatic literature. LATW stands apart in its approach to making great theater widely accessible and affordable, bringing plays into homes and classrooms of millions of theater lovers, teachers and students each year. Its catalogue of nearly 600 plays is collected by over 8,000 libraries. LATW’s syndicated radio theater series broadcasts weekly on public radio stations across the U.S. and daily in China on the Radio Beijing Network. According to AudioFile magazine, “L.A. Theatre Works sets the gold standard for fine audio theater recordings.” The Philadelphia Inquirer calls L.A. Theatre Works “a national theatrical treasure.”
To purchase the complete, unabridged L.A. Theatre Works recording of “Babbitt” by Sinclair Lewis, go to www.latw.org.