Ira Glass Stages "This American Life" stories with the help of some fine-footed friends.
Ira Glass onstage with Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass.
The concept of Ira Glass’s new stage show, Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host, is to marry storytelling and dance, and the horn-rimmed host of the esteemed radio program “This American Life” has pointed words for anyone who finds that idea aberrant: He agrees. “The most important thing to say is that we know this is ridiculous,” he quipped to an interviewer before the 2014 premiere of the show, a collaboration among Glass, dancer/choreographer Monica Bill Barnes, and dancer Anna Bass. Be that as it may, the production has scored with audiences ever since it debuted in a miniature version at Carnegie Hall in 2013, spawning a national tour that visits Las Vegas this month. The unlikely collaboration came about after Glass saw Barnes’s dance company perform and was struck by a strong connection between the dancers’ work and his own, even if his medium has no visual elements and theirs has no words. As on “This American Life,” he says, “They were documenting small, very relatable human moments” while at the same time trying hard to entertain. That encounter led to a 2012 film project and now this 90-minute theatrical production, which stages “This American Life” interviews with dancing, props, and costume changes. It also incorporates personal stories from the three performers—and yes, Glass even busts a few moves himself, although he’s the first to admit he’s unlikely to swap the microphone for the merengue anytime soon. January 17. Reynolds Hall at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 702-749-2000