Members of the team behind Night Vale Presents and TRAX from PRX present “Milky Way Underground,” a new fiction podcast for tweens about two siblings on a surreal journey through a mysterious dreamworld
A companion mobile app will combine augmented reality and spatial audio, providing an optional 3D listening experience for listeners who want to dive into the story in a new, interactive way
Members of the team behind acclaimed production company Night Vale Presents and TRAX from PRX — a podcast network for tweens from public media organization PRX — today announced “Milky Way Underground,” a new immersive fiction podcast about two siblings on a journey through a mysterious dreamworld as they search for their missing father.
An audio trailer for the 15-part podcast series is available now.
Episode one will be released beginning Wednesday, September 22 with new episodes weekly through December 29. “Milky Way Underground” is available free on-demand across all major listening platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music, and at TRAX.fm.
In “Milky Way Underground,” listeners are invited to join siblings Lydia (played by Casey Watkins) and Elijah (played by Asher Talty) of Sunnyside, Queens on an adventure about the difficulties and the joys of growing up and becoming yourself. One night, after their dad goes missing, Lydia and Elijah head into the subway in an attempt to find him. Taking the first car that arrives, they find themselves in the middle of a far-off creek, with New York City nowhere in sight. They go on to find themselves in strange versions of familiar places, from far-off forests to swamps and to snow-covered mountains. Are the people they meet in this other world really who they say they are? Who — or what — seems to be protecting them? Can they trust their surroundings, each other, or themselves as they attempt to make it back to their complicated home with their dad in tow?
For those seeking to dive deeper into the adventure, “Milky Way Underground” will have a companion mobile app available via iOS and Android — developed by award-winning game and interactive experience designer Stephen Borden — featuring bonus interactive content while combining augmented reality and spatial audio for a 3D listening experience. The app is the first of its kind in kids and family podcasting. Open the app, select an episode, and real life movements will change the way the audio sounds, allowing users to hear scenes play out in real time around them while changing visuals hint at what Lydia and Elijah are experiencing. Follow along on social media on Twitter @milkywaytransit and on Facebook and Instagram @milkywayunderground for updates of when the app will be available on iOS and Android this fall.
The production team includes co-creator and executive producer Christy Gressman (Vice President and Executive Producer at First Look Media and former Partner and Executive Producer at Night Vale Presents), co-creator, writer, and director Grant Stewart (“I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats”; “Adventures in New America”), producer and assistant director Russell Sperberg (“The Orbiting Human Circus”), and producer Adam Cecil (“Meet Cute”). The team also includes story editing by John Conroy, music composition by Jeff Tobias (Sunwatchers), sound design and mixing by Michael Hammond (“Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof”), and art by award-winning illustrator Eleanor Davis (“The Hard Tomorrow”) and by Alex Turbyfield. Teddy Bates served as a young adult mental health consultant during production.
A full cast list is below.
“‘Milky Way Underground’ is all about the difficulties and joys of growing up and becoming yourself, something that everyone struggles with in different ways,” said Gressman. “We know that young audiences are not afraid of grappling with these issues head on, and, in developing the show, we were inspired by our own favorite stories growing up, such as ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and ‘The Giver,’ and movies like ‘Spirited Away.’ We can’t wait to share this new series with listeners and to hear how it affects their lives.”
“At TRAX, we believe audio storytelling has the power to resonate deeply with tweens,” said Michelle Smawley, executive producer of the TRAX podcast network from PRX. “The team behind “Milky Way Underground” have created a very modern story that is adventurous, bold, inclusive, and attuned to the joys and complications of growing up in today’s world. This show will feel wonderfully different and breaks new ground — thank you to the team for creating a terrific and innovative escape for kids.”
Major funding for TRAX is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
About TRAX and PRX:
TRAX from PRX is a collection of free podcasts offering 9–13 year-olds authentic, imaginative, and original stories. The shows are representative of lived experiences, both real and aspirational, and touch upon the issues important to tweens at this moment in their lives.
PRX is a public media organization shaping the future of audio by producing and distributing content, building technology, and training talented, independent producers. Home to an award-winning portfolio of iconic audio programs such as “The Moth Radio Hour,” “This American Life,” “Snap Judgment,” “Latino USA,” and “Reveal,” as well as a growing body of podcast-first productions, including the Radiotopia podcast network, find more at PRX.org.
Cast of “Milky Way Underground”:
Casey Watkins as Lydia
Asher Talty as Elijah
Paige Gilbert as Mom
Robert Ashley as Dad
Radha Delamarter as Nanny
Courtney Chu as Gabby
Kevin Chacon as Morris
Jeffrey Cranor as Mr. Rau
Christy Gressman as Ms. Bivens
Stephen Winter as Gene
Russell Sperberg as Andy
Noel Brown as George
Arlett Sosa as Marla
Regina Fernandez as the Narrator