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Backstage at The Moth

OPB | Feb. 16, 2012 8 p.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 12:59 a.m.

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Portland loves The Moth. The storytelling series was back at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall last week with The Moth On the Road, sponsored by Literary Arts.

The On the Road events are a traveling version of the New York-based organization’s flagship series, The Moth Mainstage, which features acclaimed writers and actors telling stories around a single theme. The theme for the Portland show was “Walk the Line: Stories of Balancing Acts” and included stories by comedian Lisa Lampanelli, writer and performer Brian Finkelstein and Moth favorite Steve Osborne, a retired New York City police officer.

It was a big crowd for The Moth, which normally plays much smaller venues. But they don’t seem to have any problem selling out in Portland. Moth Executive Director Joan Firestone says they have been amazed and impressed by the reception they have received on their annual visits to the city.

“Portland has become a really important place for us,” says Firestone. “Last year I walked in here and saw 27,000 seats and said ‘Wow.’ When the first storyteller began, you could year a pin drop. Every eye was focused on that storyteller.”

OPB’s Ifanyi Bell went backstage before the show to meet storytellers Lisa Lampanelli, Brian Finkelstein, Ellie Lee and Steve Osborne and learn more about the art of storytelling, Moth-style.

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