36 Thoughts on the 36 Questions Podcast Musical

  1. What is the 36 Questions: The Musical podcast?
  2. It’s a three-part musical about a couple trying to bring their marriage back from the brink of divorce using the 36 Questions, a set of questions designed for strangers to use to fall in love, or at least skip straight to understanding important things about how the other person sees the world.
  3. This premise sounded depressing and that’s why I waited awhile before listening to this.
  4. It’s not depressing; it’s real and tells the particular and universal story of what happens when you lose/discover/realize something in a marriage and try to figure out what happens next. 
  5. Other things the podcast does so well: showing the shifting power and emotional balance, managing time, amping up tension, giving just enough of the characters’ stories, using silences.
  6. I binged this one hard. In the car, cleaning, in the car again, humming the songs and wondering what would happen to the characters in between.
  7. A story about a couple might be the perfect scale/size/thing for a musical podcast.
  8. It’s so intimate and intense, but also shifts so easily into funny, goofy, weird.
  9. It’s such an unfamiliar experience hearing a musical designed to be a podcast. Every setting was so vivid to me even though I’m not used to this kind of story being told this way.
  10. I felt like I was getting away with something getting to listen to a brand new gorgeous musical for free, like someone just handed me tickets to a Broadway show on the street something and all I had to do was listen to a few Hello Fresh ads.
  11. The plot device of using the phone to record totally could have been distracting, but wasn’t.
  12. Recording when the characters were alone gave them opportunities for honesty and also somehow didn’t feel like a weird thing to be happening.
  13. Thanks Hamilton and Glee because Jonathan Groff can do what the F he wants now, and he did this!
  14. And Jessie Shelton as Judith. Her character is tricky and nuanced and funny and flawed and she nails it. Groff’s is kind and tough and defensive and in love, and he of course also nails it.
  15. It’s just kind of thrilling that this exists. Mashups of two things you love don’t always turn out that way, but this does.
  16. The way they weave the 36 questions into the musical is both a smart, simple plot device and a more complicated way to tell a love and heartbreak story.
  17. I hope they make more of these. I hope original musicals are the new weird murder podcasts.
  18. I did the 36 questions myself with my husband after being married for over 10 years.
  19. Some of the middle questions have obvious answers if you have kids and already know each other, but some of my husband’s answers surprised me after all this time.
  20. There is always more to learn about any other human being.
  21. Even/especially after you think you know everything.
  22. The world needs more love stories about people who have been married for two years like this couple.
  23. It’s such a rich, interesting time in a relationship, when shit starts to get real. More everything about that, please.
  24. The setting of the dilapidated house for Act II is so great. They use sound in this funny, surprising way, from chickens clucking to pouring wine.
  25. “We Both” from Act II is my favorite song.
  26. I only got to set III of the 36 questions with my husband.
  27. Talking about your relationship with your mother makes for a good stopping place once you’ve been married for 10 years.
  28. The Why Oh Why podcast has a great interview with Mandy Len Catron, who wrote the Modern Love essay “To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This” about her experience asking the 36 questions on a first date.
  29. Mandy married that guy she asked the questions to.
  30. She also wrote a book!
  31. Podcasts like this one are why I need this blog.
  32. I am so excited about this podcast musical, and so now I will inevitably attempt to explain it to someone after I’ve had two glasses of wine and the topic (of podcast musicals? No, but maybe love, or musicals, or whatever…) organically comes up.
  33. How do I do that? I have to work on my elevator pitch for this one. It’s so good.
  34. How about,  “If you like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend? If you liked Once? If you’re a HUMAN WHO CAN FEEL LOVE??”
  35. I’ll keep working on it.

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