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April 2015
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Hecht’s 1,001 Afternoons in Chicago Gets New Life as Musical Radio Play


On April 6, 2015, at 8:00 pm Central on  Live from WFMT, listeners can catch a sneak peek at a new radio play, 1,000 Afternoons in Chicago, developed by composers Seth Boustead and Amos Gillespie and Strawdog Theater. Boustead shares some of his ideas behind this interesting new work with us in anticipation of his performance on the air.

Ben Hecht was a newspaperman in the 1920’s at the Chicago Daily News. He went to his editor with a big idea, he would write a short story to be published in the newspaper every day for a year. Incrediby his editor said yes, and ultimately described the column as, “journalism extraordinary; journalism that invaded the realm of literature.”

65 of the best stories have been anthologized as 1,001 Afternoons in Chicago and we chose 6 of the best of those as the inspiration for a radio play adaptation. Amos and I wrote the music and we worked with Strawdog Theater for the script adaptation and the voice actors.

We wanted the music to be an equal partner with the stories. This is not underscoring, we were really clear about that. We worked hard to make everything line up in a way that the music is so important that you miss it when it’s not present.

-Seth Boustead

To hear samples of the play, visit:

  • Jill

    The radio play was fantastic. An amazing performance by the musicians and actors. I am, however, disappointed that Boustead was the only composer interviewed on-air when the idea to honor these stories with music was Gillespie’s inspiration. I feel the audience was robbed of a piece of the story by this failure to hear from Gillespie of the original inspiration and the early development of the project before Boustead was brought in. This piece of the story is also missing from the summary of the performance on the site and seemingly credits Boustead as the project’s main force with Gillespie as a side-note. I am disappointed to see this program mis-crediting this amazing composer.