In Night Vale, stay wary of angels. Be on the lookout for dark-hooded figures. And keep a close ear on community radio.
“Welcome to Night Vale” is not just the local greeting, but the title of a mega-hit podcast whose live stage show comes to the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater stage Monday night.
Since its creation in 2012, the twice-monthly podcast “Welcome to Night Vale,” authored by creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor and available for download online, has spun off even more podcast series, four books (one to be released this October), a line of merchandise and attracted millions of fans.
Each half-hour “Night Vale” episode — and there have been 106 so far — consists of a community radio newscast from a small desert town, unwinding tales of events both mundane and supernatural. The audio series has been described as “ ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ meets Stephen King.” At times funny, always unnerving, the narrative of Night Vale’s happenings is backed by a haunting music track by Disparition.
The show’s narrator and main character is Cecil Palmer, whose sonorous radio voice is prone to sometimes-odd digressions and personal revelations. Palmer, played by Cecil Baldwin, will be the centerpiece of the 90-minute show, titled “All Hail,” coming to Madison.
Baldwin, 38, recently talked to the State Journal from New York City:
Q: Your Madison show is almost sold out. Is this tour related at all to the book “It Devours!” coming out in October?
A: The podcast, the live shows and the book are all kind of interconnected. When we started doing these live shows, we wanted to make sure that people who come to see the show — whether they are diehard fans who have listened to every episode, or people who had no clue what “Night Vale” was but it sounded like something interesting – we wanted to make sure those people had just as good a time.
Q: The touring show is a self-contained show, correct? Not part of a podcast?
A: Absolutely correct. We take these live shows out on the road. They’re meant to be performed live, and are definitely theatrical experiences. We take advantage of the fact that the audience is there in the same room as the performers. And we acknowledge that and kind of play with that. The podcast has worked so well because it’s like an intimate conversation, but the live shows are different because it’s hundreds of people having the same experience in the same room.
Q: Where do you record the podcast?
A: I record the podcast out of my apartment here in Brooklyn. We’ve really not changed the way the podcast is made over the years. It’s a formula that seems to work for us, so we’ve kept it as simple as possible.
Q: So how does the podcast production work?
A: The creators, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, toss…