Night Vale is a creepy little town.
Shadowy, hooded figures roam around, a giant glow cloud eerily looms overhead, and supernatural events happen every day.
Fortunately, Night Vale is a fictional place. But the wildly popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale, which tracks the daily happenings in the desert town through a hilarious and horror-filled community radio station, is a very real part of millions of folks’ lives worldwide.
To date, the biweekly podcast has been downloaded more than 170 million times, and its fame has led to a book (plus a second volume, scheduled for release in October), heaps of related merchandise, and several world tours.
The WTNV crew will make its first-ever stop in Miami Friday, July 7, at the Olympia Theater, to perform an all-new script, titled "All Hail," centered on the infamous glow cloud.
“It is a very fun and funny show... probably the most hilarious one we’ve done yet,” says Meg Bashwiner, MC of the touring show, who also plays the lovable character Deb as well as Proverb Lady on the podcast. “You don’t need to be fully ingrained in the Welcome to Night Vale world to get it. When we see the security guards laughing and parents of kids who wanted to see us, we know it’s accessible to everyone.”
The Miami live show will feature Cecil Baldwin at the microphone of the “bizarro-world NPR broadcast,” as Bashwiner calls it, with live music by Disaparition and weather updates performed by “goth Disney princess” (again, Bashwiner’s description) Eliza Rickman.
“It really is a stripped-down show... It’s a pretty classic theater show,” Bashwiner says. “Cecil does most of the talking from a microphone. It’s worth it just to see this guy work. The way he holds an entire room and tells a story is like no other. He is incredibly watchable.”
Cecil Baldwin (left) and Meg Bashwiner perform live in Welcome to Night Vale.
With an articulate, uncanny tone, he’s among the most listenable people your ears will ever feast on. Welcome to Night Vale recently celebrated its fifth anniversary with Baldwin at the audio helm. “It’s been incredible and different to see how things have changed over the years,” says Bashwiner, who is married to WTNV co-creator and co-writer Joseph Fink.
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“Before all of this, I was selling insurance, and [Fink] was selling green energy on the street in Brooklyn,” she adds. “And now we’ve performed hundreds of times for fans all around the world... It’s remarkable to us that people want to watch us.”
And if you can’t watch them in Miami, it’s not too late to tune in every other week. “The new podcasts... are the best they’ve ever been,” Bashwiner says. “The past six months have been especially surprising, beautiful, and cool.”
Welcome to Night Vale
8 p.m. Friday, July 7, at the Olympia Theater, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami; 305-374-2444 or visit olympiatheater.org. Tickets cost $27.50 to $32.50.