Trey Graham

Trey Graham edits and produces arts and entertainment content for NPR's Digital Media division, where among other things he's helped launch the Monkey See pop-culture blog and NPR's expanded Web-only movies coverage. He also helps manage the Web presence for Fresh Air from WHYY.

Outside NPR, Graham has been a lead theater critic at the Washington City Paper, D.C.'s alternative weekly newspaper, since 1995, which means he's seen a good deal of superb theater and a great deal of schlock. He's still stage-struck enough to believe that the former makes up for the latter.

Graham began his career as a writer and editor at The Washington Blade; his subsequent tenure at USA Today included a stint as the newspaper's music and theater editor. A past fellow at both the O'Neill Critics Institute and the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater, Graham won the George Jean Nathan Award for distinguished drama criticism in December 2004.

Graham is also a regular panelist on Around Town, the venerable arts roundtable program on Washington PBS affiliate WETA-TV, and the author of the theater section of the newest Time Out Guide to the nation's capital. He's written about books, travel, movies and the arts for publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Born in New Orleans (during Mardi Gras, no less) and raised in South Carolina, Graham has lived in Washington, D.C., since 1990 ­ except for a couple of years in Zimbabwe, which turned out to be way more fun than a politically perilous, economically disastrous situation has any right being.

Movie Reviews
4:27 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Twins Or 'Enemy' — And What Could It All Mean?

Jake Gyllenhaal acts with stunning control and specificity in his double role as two lookalikes.
Courtesy of A24

Strange and stylish and surpassingly dark, Denis Villeneuve's Enemy — especially paired with the same director's recent cop thriller Prisoners — makes a strong case for star Jake Gyllenhaal as maybe our most enigmatic young leading man.

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Movie Reviews
3:44 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

'Particle Fever': Thrills, Chills And High Subatomic Drama

Yes, that is a man standing there, in the middle of this one small fraction of one experimental node of the Large Hadron Collider.
CERN

All you really need to know about Particle Fever is that it includes footage of physicists rapping. About physics. Wearing giant Einstein masks.

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Movie Reviews
1:11 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

'Kids For Cash,' Or Perhaps Not — But A Broken System For Sure

Sandy Fonzo confronts Judge Mark A. Chiavarella on the courthouse steps after he was convicted in the "Kids for Cash" scandal in 2011. Fonzo's son, who eventually committed suicide, was among thousands Chiavarella had sent to a juvenile detention facility from which he'd received a "finder's fee."
SenArt Films

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:53 pm

There's a moment, toward the end of the documentary that centers on him, when Judge Mark A. Chiavarella breaks down, his voice cracking as he mourns the likelihood that his grandchildren won't have him in their lives.

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Monkey See
11:49 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Clip Job: 'Five Dances,' One Sweetly Moving Romance

Ryan Steele in Five Dances
Paladin

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:10 pm

Five Dances might be the least talky movie I've seen in months — but it's plenty expressive. What it says, it says silently, or at least nonverbally, in the music-and-movement language of Jonah Bokaer's haunting choreography, which speaks of solitary strivings and the brief, passionate connections that punctuate them.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Don't Worry, Kids, These (Sex) Addicts Are All Right

Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow star in Thanks for Sharing, a heartfelt if overstuffed take on addiction and recovery.
Anne Joyce Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions

Somewhere between Tim Robbins' angry assumption about his wife's pain pills and Pink's ecstatic-dance excursion with the guy from Book of Mormon, I realized that the dealing-with-addiction drama Thanks for Sharing really, really wanted to tell me everything it knows about life in recovery. As a critic, I've gotta acknowledge the problems that kind of crowding creates for a storyteller. As a person, I've gotta admire the generosity it bespeaks.

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Monkey See
12:45 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

When A 'Total Eclipse' Leads To Some Serious Exposure

Christina Bianco performs with some regularity at Jim Caruso's Cast Party and 54 Below's Backstage open-mic night in New York City. She's currently in the cast of Newsical the Musical, the current-events lampoon running at Theatre Row.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 2:40 pm

So this here "Total Eclipse of the Heart" video has blown the heck up, tallying a million-plus YouTube plays since Scandal showrunner Shonda Rhimes tweeted a link to it. It's made the rounds of LaughingSquid and Gawker and the like, and if you haven't watched it, do yourself a favor and get that done, because you'll thank me.

I'll wait.

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Monkey See
6:27 am
Sat August 3, 2013

Guy Pearce, We Are Pleased To Find You Looking Vaguely Disreputable In 'Jack Irish'

Dear Guy Pearce: The Jack Irish stubble is working, though we're not feeling the giant butterfly art. We assume it's in a hoodlum's house, not Jack's, but we'll be watching this weekend just to confirm.
Lachlan Moore Acorn TV

Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 12:46 pm

With Linda still out at the TCA gathering, TV is much on our minds. And as she noted yesterday, there's a whole big conversation going on about the newer modes of consuming what we still, for lack of a better word, generally call television.

(Actually, we probably don't need a better word, as "television" just means "far-sight" and doesn't have anything to do with broadcast or spectrum or modes of transmission or the technology involved, BUT I DIGRESS.)

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Monkey See
1:13 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Coffee Break: The Get Your 'Mary Poppins' Groove On Edition

iStockphoto.com

* Having seen Cate Blanchett's electric Blanche DuBois, and had a public pretend-squabble with our own Bob Mondello about it, I felt like I was all up in Charles McNulty's head when I read his take on Blue Jasmine. [The Los Angeles Times]

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Monkey See
12:34 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Coffee Break: People Arguing And Counting And Singing And Getting Gassed Edition

iStockphoto.com

* If you're anywhere near Winston-Salem, please note that Tonya Pinkins, whose chops are so considerable that I don't entirely know where to start with her amazingness, so just Google her, is in cabaret thereabouts, as part of the biennial National Black Theatre Festival. This is a thing that makes me want to go to North Carolina. [Winston-Salem Journal]

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Monkey See
3:37 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Coffee Break: Of Weddings And Looming Parental Mortality And German

iStockphoto.com

No, it's not Morning Shots today. Some of us just really aren't morning people. (What, breakfast is the only time you caffeinate?)

Without further ado:

* Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita got married, and a lot of stars were there, which is nice and all, but waitwhatdidyousaytonykushnerofficiated? <dies> [The Wrap]

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Monkey See
11:39 am
Fri July 19, 2013

In Which We Consider 'Turbo,' But Do Not Quite Write A Review Of It

Turbo, center, is the hero of an unlikely adventure involving six or seven talking mollusks, a similar number of humans willing to gamble large sums of money on them, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And they say Hollywood doesn't have any new ideas.
DreamWorks Animation

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 1:27 pm

When I was passing out assignments for this week's movie reviews, I noticed that none of my critics had raised a hand to bid for Turbo -- you know, the DreamWorks animated comedy about a sheltered suburban garden snail who dreams of racing in the Indy 500, and the scrappy squad of Van Nuys strip-mall snails who, with the help of an ethnically diverse array of down-on-their-luck shopkeepers, help him make that dream come true.

Wait, I think I've just figured out why I ended up with this assignment my own self.

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Monkey See
10:13 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Morning Shots: In Which Kristin Wiig Gets Very Silly

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 11:37 am

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Movie Reviews
6:25 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

'Terms And Conditions' And Us — Oh, My ...

Take It Or Leave It: The legalese you accept when you use Facebook or iTunes (or NPR's digital platforms) may have you agreeing to some surprising things. Cullen Hoback's documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply illustrates just how many — and just how much control we've obligingly signed away.
Variance Films

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 12:06 pm

I'm 45, single, substantially in debt and way too susceptible to jokes about redheads. And I'm telling you these things upfront because ... why not? It wouldn't be all that hard for you — or your Big Brother — to find out.

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Monkey See
4:45 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Teens Find The Right Tools For Their Social-Media Jobs

When you need to illustrate a story about proliferating social-media platforms, it's good to know that an enterprising stock photographer has probably thought about it already.
Anatoliy Babiy iStockphoto.com

Once upon a time, it was MySpace. (Huh. Turns out you can still link to it.) Then Facebook happened. And Twitter. And beyond those two dominant social-media platforms, there are a host of other, newer options for staying in touch and letting the digital universe get a look at your life. And for certain kinds of sharing, some of those other options make more sense to tech-savvy teens than the Big Two do.

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