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Podcast Creators Ian Coss and Sam Jay Gold Present “Newts!” — A New Audio Drama from PRX Made in Partnership with PRX Productions and “The Truth”

The cast features Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Rachael Grace Holmes, Jon-Michael Reese, Joseph Medeiros, and Chris Barron of the Spin Doctors. Performers include Glynn Washington, Mo Rocca, and Joshua Malina. “Newts!” is inspired by the work of 20th century science fiction pioneer Karel Čapek

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Podcast creators Ian Coss (“Forever Is A Long Time”) and theater artist and screenwriter Sam Jay Gold today announced “Newts!, a new audio drama with original music. Made in partnership with the iconic fiction podcast “The Truth” from Jonathan Mitchell and PRX Productions, “Newts!” is distributed by public media organization PRX.

Named one of most anticipated podcasts of summer 2022 by Vulture, a trailer for “Newts!” is available now via its own podcast feed. The podcast is free across all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

The first episode will premiere on June 1, via “The Truth” from Jonathan Mitchell, part of the Radiotopia podcast network from PRX. All episodes from the six-part series will then be available via the “Newts!” feed, released each Tuesday through July 5th.

Inspired by the work of Czech science fiction pioneer and seven-time Nobel Prize nominee Karel Čapek — specifically his 1936 novel “War with the Newts” — “Newts! combines radio theater, surf rock, and propulsive storytelling to bring audiences an absurd yet uncomfortably resonant catastrophe.

A sea captain — played by singer/songwriter Chris Barron (the Spin Doctors) — barges into the office of a shipping merchant dragging a barrel of water. He opens the lid to reveal a newt, setting off a series of world-changing events. It turns out these newts can be trained to work, talk, fight and so much more. Soon, humanity is poised to be overthrown by this species of highly intelligent amphibians. This globe-spanning tale of self-interest and unintended consequences is recounted with a mash-up of scenes, song, and news clippings. Played by Broadway actress Lindsay Nicole Chambers (“Lysistrata Jones”), the narrator attempts to pinpoint the exact moment humanity’s fate was sealed. The cast of “Newts!” also features Rachael Grace Holmes (“Wolverine: The Lost Trail”), Joseph Medeiros (“Matilda the Musical”), and Jon-Michael Reese (“A Strange Loop”).

The cast of “Newts!” — Chris Barron, Rachel Grace Holmes, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Jon-Michael Reese, and Joseph Medeiros

The series also features voices from across podcasting such as Glynn Washington (“Snap Judgment”), Mo Rocca (“Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!”) Marco Werman (“The World”), and Avery Trufelman (“Articles of Interest”); actors including Joshua Malina (“The West Wing”), Michael Cumpsty (“Severance”), and Rebecca Robles (“Search Party”); musicians Ahmed Gallab (Sinkane), Alecia Chakour (The Tedeschi Trucks Band), Julian Saporiti (No No Boy), Naomi Yang (Galaxie 500), and more.

The creative team of “Newts!” includes co-creators Ian Coss and Sam Jay Gold, original music and sound design by Coss, and story editing by acclaimed podcaster Jonathan Mitchell. The executive producers of the series are Peabody Award-winning producers Jocelyn Gonzales and Mitchell. Artwork for the series is done by cartoonist and biologist Caroline Hu.

“At the time Čapek published ‘War with the Newts’ in 1936, my grandmother also lived in Prague under the shadow of an approaching war. Now in the 21st century, this work continues to speak directly to the issues of our time: climate change, artificial intelligence, nationalism and the basic challenge of collective action,” said co-creator Ian Coss. “To me, Karel Čapek is an incredible observer of human nature. I’m excited to present his visionary tale in a new form.”

“I first read ‘War With the Newts’ in 2011 and was instantly hooked,” said co-creator Sam Jay Gold. “With its straight-faced absurdism, harrowing foreshadowing, and detailed yet delirious detours into science, culture, and politics, Čapek has crafted the most plausible end of civilization I’ve ever encountered without ever looking down upon his doomed human protagonists. We hope listeners are enthralled by this podcast, and send our gratitude to the whole team who helped us to create this show.”

Ian Coss, Sam Jay Gold, Jonathan Mitchell, and Jocelyn Gonzales

About PRX

PRX is a non-profit public media company specializing in audio journalism and storytelling. PRX serves independent producers and organizations by helping them connect to their most engaged, supportive audiences. One of the world’s leading podcast publishers, PRX works in partnership with TED, PBS, the Smithsonian, Futuro Media, GBH, Religion of Sports, and more. PRX is also home to Radiotopia, known as one of the most creative and successful podcast networks. In addition, PRX distributes trusted and treasured public radio programming to hundreds of stations nationwide, including “The World,” “The Moth Radio Hour,” “This American Life,” “Snap Judgment,” “Reveal,” “The Takeaway,” and “Latino USA.” PRX programs have won awards from the Peabody Awards, duPont-Columbia Awards, the IDA Documentary Awards, and the Pulitzer Prizes. Visit PRX.org for more.

About Ian Coss, co-creator of “Newts!”

Ian Coss is an audio producer whose work spans music, podcasting and sound art. His original series “Forever is a Long Time” was named one of the best podcasts of 2021 by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Apple Podcasts. A member of PRX Productions, Ian produced and scored the podcasts “Ways of Hearing,” “The Great God of Depression,” “Over the Road,” and “Blind Guy Travels” for Radiotopia, and launched “Detours” in collaboration with team members from GBH and Antiques Roadshow. His work has appeared on “Snap Judgment,” “Studio 360,” and “99% Invisible” has been featured at the Tribeca Festival, and has been honored with multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards, as well as a nomination for The Podcast Academy’s Podcast of the Year.

About Sam Jay Gold, co-creator of “Newts!”

Sam Jay Gold is a theater artist and screenwriter. A former Thomas J. Watson Fellow, Sam trained in traditional forms of puppetry around the world while exploring empathy and imagination across the animate/inanimate divide. His work onstage has been supported by the Jim Henson Foundation and featured at Lincoln Center, St. Ann’s Warehouse, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). As a screenwriter, Sam’s work has played in festivals across the country, winning Best Writing at the Independent Television Festival. His unproduced pilot, “Converso,’’ is currently the highest rated TV script on The Black List.

About Jonathan Mitchell, creator of “The Truth”

Jonathan Mitchell — creator of “The Truth — has alsocontributed a wide range of work — documentaries, fictional stories, non-narrated sound collages, and original music to “Radiolab,” “Studio 360,” “This American Life,” “All Things Considered,” “Planet Money,” and PBS’s “Nova.” His work has won many awards, including the Peabody, Third Coast Festival, The Sarah Lawrence College International Audio Fiction Award, and the Gold Mark Time Award for Best Science Fiction Audio. He studied music composition at University of Illinois and Mills College.

About Jocelyn Gonzales, Director of PRX Productions

Most recently Executive Producer of the Peabody Award-winning arts show “Studio 360,” and a longtime producer for radio, podcasts, audio publishing and digital media, Jocelyn also teaches sound design at NYU Film School. Previous projects include audio production for TheNew York Times, Hello Sunshine, Soul Pancake, WNYC, and American Public Media.

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PRX is a non-profit media company shaping the future of audio by producing and distributing content, building technology, and training talent.

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