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Janis studies her lines while Bob, our talented engineer, adjusts the mic.

We knew Kirby would be amazing as Ender.  We knew Stefan would be the perfect fit for Graff.  We knew that the moment we heard the words, “The enemy’s gate is down,” that a chill would send our arm hairs to standing.  But what we didn’t know was how moving some of the smaller moments would be, how pivotal a single line can truly be.  But Orson Scott Card’s writing is gold in this audioplay. Every single line counts.

For example, the moment Ender gets his monitor removed seems like a mere plot point, something that must happen in order to move the story forward.  But once we got into the booth we realized it was so much more than that.  Of course Kirby brought his usual commitment and vulnerability, and we found ourselves wincing and whining right along with him, sharing his fear in the pits of our stomach.

Oscar Nominee Theodore Bikel in Ender's Game Alive

Oscar Nominee Theodore Bikel in Ender’s Game Alive

As the Doctor, vocal master Theo Bikel scared us a little more than we’d like to admit with his guttural demands as Ender began to react badly.  And DeeDee, his nurse, played by the one and only Janis Ian, was all nerves and concern, worried for Ender, but wanting to please her boss at the same time.  Because these three actors are masters of their craft, they brought this scene to the next level, making it painful and memorable for the listener, which is perfect, because that’s just how Ender feels.  And you know the writer—and in this case, the actors—are all doing their jobs when the listener is feeling the same complex feelings as the protagonist.  Job well done, folks.  And for more juicy details about these two superstars,  keep reading after the break!

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CAST LIST

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin………………Kirby Heyborne

Valentine Wiggin………………………….Susan Hanfield

Peter Wiggin………………………………….Paul Boehmer

John-Paul Wiggin…………………………..Arthur Morey

Theresa Wiggin…………………………..Gabrielle de Cuir

Mazer Rackham……………………..Richard McGonagle

Chamrajnagar/Fly Molo/Pol Slattery…..Vikas Adam

Jayadi………………………………………..Samantha Eggar

Colonel Graff………………………………..Stefan Rudnicki

Doctor/General Levy……………………………..Theo Bikel

DeeDee/Server……………………………………….Janis Ian

 

Theodore Bikel is a legendary folk singer who made his debut in 1956 at Carnegie Hall, and he’s been wowing audiences with his music ever since.  He’s an Emmy-Award winning television star, a renowned theater veteran, and an Academy Award-nominated actor (The Defiant Ones) who has played every bad guy imaginable.  Not to mention the fact that he played Zoltan (a.k.a. the wild Hungarian) in My Fair Lady and the original Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music on Broadway.  Wow.  Fluent in several languages, he’s also an author, a political activist, and a sought-after audiobook narrator.  And we could go on.

Janis Ian is the perfect counterpart to Theo’s experience and brawn.  Janis is also a legendary folk singer/songwriter, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to report that her matchless musical prowess will grace ENDER’S GAME ALIVE as well.  She wrote Valentine’s theme song especially for EGA, a piece of music as sweet, whimsical, and heartbreaking as the character herself.  But Janis is so much more than just a musician.  She’s also a best-selling author and Audie Award-winning narrator.  Earlier this year, she won her second Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for the audiobook of her memoir, Society’s Childproduced by Stefan and published by Audible, and she recently completed recording LOST CANTOS, a beautiful collection of myths written by Maggie Schein and published by Skyboat.  Don’t miss it.

It’s no wonder these two gave us chills, right?

 

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