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E-MAIL AND NOTES FOR MY INSATIABLE EGO

 

Despite my best efforts to screw up your play (including asking the actors to cop 20s Berlin drag, whisper Doris Day/Rock Hudson pillow talk and/or mug Jim Carrey lowball humor) your script and an excellent trio of AFTRA-SAG pros had the audience in the palms of the hands. [Brian Price, director, live premiere of Sherlock Holmes Turns 50 (aka, Ghastly Double Murder in Famed Detective's Flat) at Columbia College, Chicago. 3/24/04]

 

Well after god-knows-how-long I finally got access to a cassette player (in a rented car) and listened to The Cabinet of Dr Caligari--fantastic! I don't know when, if ever, I've listened to an audio-drama, but the experience was really great. I liked how the almost formalized language of the students was able to flow so naturally, and was impressed by the clarity of the medium--that sounds could create such a clear visual in my head. So yeah, I just wanted you to know I enjoyed it very much. Kudos to you! [Olen Steinhauer, novelist, 4/7/04]

 

Our "Evening of Radio Theater" was outstanding!  A full house and we  had to turn away many people.  Good to know that so many love radio theater.  While Stoppard and Cranston are indeed worthy competitors, "Sherlock Holmes Turns Fifty" was more than equal to the task....Thank you for an excellent radio play and hope to work with you again soon! [Barbara Calabrese, chair, radio dept., Columbia College Chicago, 5/3/04]

 

I've listened to the first half of Tarnished Eye. It's wonderful. Each of the main characters has a secret emotional life which occasionally rises to the surface of ordinary actions like the anger that bubbles up in the laid-back sheriff, or the sadness of the murdered woman. I read the book, but I didn't really understand the characters until I heard it read by Mark Bramhall. I can appreciate how much "interpretation' these characters have undergone. The reading is completely compelling I couldn't turn it off. Thanks I really cared about this book and I feel it was beautifully read. [Haila Willaims, Blackstone Audio, 6/18/04]

 

I listened to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari this weekend and it was superb.  Very creepy and dark.  The kind of book that should only be read in the daytime, so of course I listened to it after midnight sitting alone on my front porch with all of the scary sounds of the night adding to the scary sounds of the tale.  It's a full cast dramatization and all of the narrators are outstanding...especially the somnambulist.  I'm going to be hearing his voice in my head for a long time. ["C Sue," audiobook listserv, 6/29/04]

 

And yeah - [The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari] is a beauty.  Creepy stuff, well-acted, well-written... and who else but Yuri would think of doing an audio adaptation of a silent film? [Scott Danialson, audiobook listserv, 6/29/04]

 

...been listening to your sci-fi radio drama series (bought the CD from amazon.com) and loving it!!! [Jensen Wheeler, actor, 7/4/04]

 

I've been listening to the cd's [of The Sherlock Holmes Theatre] - they sound great. You did a wonderful job - my husband (love saying that!) can't get enough ... Thanks for the copy. [Melissa Greenspan, actor, 3/3/05]

 

I think the read and production [of Midnight Cab] are excellent..I couldn't be happier. Scott [Brick] lifts the words off the page in quite a magical way, really..and the tone, pacing, over-all arc of the story fall into place so effortlessly and artfully..it seems to me to weave a kind of spell. I think..though obviously I'm not entirely objective..that all this makes for a really compelling listen. [James W. Nichol, writer, 7/9/05]

 

I think I originally became aware of radio dramas because of my audio book producer, the immensely talented Yuri Rasovsky. He's not only a brilliant producer of audio books and dramas, but he's also a radio historian, as well as a cool guy.

What his passion showed me, which I'd never really realized, was the range, depth, power, and innate potential of the radio drama. I'm always fascinated and excited by people who tell stories in a completely different way than myself, and Yuri's one such person. One of his strokes of genius was to write and produce, of all things, an audio version of the silent film, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, which AudioFile described, rightly, as "orgasmic"!

Who woulda thunk it? [Olen Steinhauer's blog, 11/5/2005]

 

I will always cherish my days working with you and The Chicago Radio Theatre. They represent some of the most theatrically rewarding experiences of my career.  I've never worked with a better director than you.  Ever.  Those were the days. [James Deuter, actor, 10/8/05]

 

I've enjoyed quite a bit of your work even the non-sci fi stuff I've had the pleasure of coming across.  A lot of people produce NTR, but few people are really great at it. ["The Zombie Astronaut," webmaster, 10/30/05]

 

Today I finished proofreading The Incredible Shrinking Man and had to let you know how much I enjoyed your powerful, moving interpretation of the book.  It's not often that I enjoy my job as much as I did while listening to this book. Thank you so much! [Cheryl Benham, Quality Control Dept., Blackstone Audio, 12/8/05]

 

I wanted to take this opportunity to . . . thank you for things you may not realize you've inspired. Indirectly, you're the reason I got started in audio theatre 20 years ago.  I was a sophomore in college in Illinois, and my friend Mitchell Grayson went to a radio conference in Chicago.  There he met the one and only Yuri Rasovsky, and you inspired him upon his return to start up a radio theatre troupe at our 1000-watt campus station.  He asked me to help him, and that started a part of my life that continues to this day.

Though I've never met you, I still owe you my thanks.  Without your inspiration, I never would have gone to MRTW [The Midwest Radio Theater Workshop]. I've been to six of them now and participated in many aspects of production.  I never would have written "Cow Tipping." And almost certainly, I wouldn't have met my wife Dana, since we met at MRTW.  Thanks to you, we went on to create Mind's Ear Audio Productions together.... Audio theatre has become a smaller part of our business now, but that's because the skills we've honed over the years have made us a popular studio for educational and government audio productions. . . .

So I salute you, El Fiendo.  You, the never-met but still much-felt force that's helped shape such an important part of my life.  Thank you for everything. [Joel Pierson, Mind's Ear Audio Productions, 5/21/06]

 

The biggest reason to write GOOD audio theater?: Yuri Rasovsky will say mean things about you if your writing is crap. [Erik Deckers, writer]

 

. . . And yes, you can be difficult to work with, no not difficult, demanding and opinionated. But, your demanding comes from your dedication to the material, and your opinions are backed up with fact. That's easy to work with. And rewarding. The projects I did with you were all wonderful, because not only were they worthwhile, and I'd never get a chance to do something like them, but I learned so much from you. You are a very smart man, and a very well read man, and it is a privilege to work for you. [David Mink, actor/director]

 

The works of YURI RASOVSKY and THE HOLLYWOOD THEATRE OF THE EAR, I also recommend, particularly his "2000 X" series with Harlan Ellison . . .  Oh, he did some wonderful adaptations! And he also did some fun, original little short silly pieces. And I mean it's a treat to listen to. He cast wonderful actors. Of course he has this great talent pool out here. But he cast great, fun actors to do these things. He had the intelligence to cast both me and my wife, Melinda Peterson, in some of the projects as well. And it was just such a joy to work with all these fine people. [Phil Proctor, actor, commedian]

 

Just a note to say thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for getting the Odyssey released!  I've been waiting for this for a long, twenty one years and I absolutely cannot wait to hear that incredible program again! [Eric Bobinsky]

 

Yuri, dear Yuri, will be in any forum. This man is a plethora of insight, writing with a quill  pen dipped from the ink of old vinyl spoken-recording  records from Caedmon, with PHD of BC (Piled higher & Deeper in Bull Crap). I wouldn't ever do this forum without his insights -- its like Harlan Ellison LITE! We need your warped li'l mind to brighten our mundane thought. [Cleopatra Rojas]

 

Without his crushing repartees
to compliments inflated,
My charitable actions
would have blossomed undebated.
All my little weaknesses could have
blinded peoples eyes,
And little satisfactions
gone unmortified.

His irritating chuckles, celebrated sneers--
his sniggers, his leers--
To benefit the medium
he gives everything a try,
But calls himself "El Fiendo,"
And I can't think why. [Erik Bauersfeld, narrator, producer]

 

I wanted to tell you how much you mean to me.  I appreciate more than I have or can ever express the opportunities (and challenges) you've given me and your patience with my inadequacies (of which there are many) but most of all I appreciate your friendship.   So...thanks for being there. [Carol Adorjan, writer, 4/22/07]

 

...I wish you were getting my recordings to review, too; I always learn something from your insights.  (I once told [AudioFile editor/publisher] Robin Whitten that you are the Pauline Kael of audiobook reviewers, and I meant it.) [Barrett Whitener, audiobook narrator, 6/29/07]

 

I never got to tell you, I think, how wonderful I thought [the Oresteia] was.  Listened in rapture.  I am proud and you should be very proud!  Thank you for inviting me to be part of it. [Jeanie Hackett, actor/teacher, 8/13/07]

 

Having you observe [my class] would be like having Pavarotti watching Nancy Sinatra sing "These Boots Were Made for Walking." [Pat Fraley, narrator/audiobook producer/teacher]

 

I wanted to meet up with you at the last Audie awards, and congratulations on your victories for Sweeney Todd.  No one likes to lose as we did in both of those categories, but to lose to a legend makes you feel much better about yourself.  [Dave Arnold, executive producer, Focus on the Family Radio Theater, 10/13/08]


I’m writing a quick note to let you know how much I admire your work in audio drama. . . . . All these productions sound so beautiful that I won’t take time to sing all of their praises, but “The Maltese Falcon” I thought was ingeniously written with the characters reading a little of the Hammett’s prose to describe themselves or what was going on. That just knocked me out to say the least. “The Black Mask Audio Magazine” was absolutely thrilling and is the last thing I’ve purchased so far and I look forward to your next project. I’m also probably going to purchase the rest of your productions. [John Roach, 8/12/09]

 

It was great working with you and I hope you do win that Grammy. Perhaps that disappoints you considering your fiendish view of yourself. The truth is I really don't remember any time when it was awful working with you. That's probably because I've had to endure some truly messed-up folks that live within the advertising industry.

I was very young, hell we were both very young when we first worked together. You allowed me to experiment. I remember sticking a microphone into a heating duct in order to create a low rumbling, room tone. I remember working on The Fall of the House of Usher and working with Donnie through a major patten that twisted more minor and demented each time around. 

They were good days and I'm very glad I was able to work with you and I hope we're able to work together again. [Stewart Sloke, partner, World Wide Wadio, 1/23/2010]

 

One of the all-time greatest pieces of Chicago comedy business has just been posted on YouTube. It’s the famous "Chicago Language Tape," a politically incorrect but hilarious recitation of local street names, performed by humorist and radio dramatist Yuri Rasovsky.  [Robert Feder, media critic, 5/12/2010]

 

I just finished up Bernard Shaw, Saint Joan presented by Hollywood Theater of the Ear. It was heart wrenching, emotionally moving. Each character was played with passion. I laughed, I cried. In the end, felt compassion for Joan, and anger toward the ignorance of others. The cast was wonderful, bringing to life each character. [Susan Lynn Knight, Audiobook Community, 5/25/2010]

 

I have to confess that I think you are one of the coolest people on planet earth Yuri, and I can't wait for this new audio play, but did you have to kill Scott Brick! [Susan Lynn Knight, Audiobook Community, 8/31/2010]

 

You are a brilliant story-teller and a master at bringing clarity and depth out of your actors. It was a privilege to work with you. [Don Donahue, actor, 11/19/2010]

 

You are a brilliant man. [Bill Rauch, artistic director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 1/30/2011]

 

WOW!!!   We heard your Maltese Falcon on the way home from San Fran to Palm Desert. It is wonderful.  Better than the movie (which didn’t include the Sam strips the lady to search for a missing $1,000 bill and should have!).  The voices were marvelous, the characterizations were perfect.  The musical stings were so very original and yet references to the music of the time and of broadcasts.  The sound effects were amazing, especially Sam lighting his cig lighter, as he often did, so subtle, so important. [Norman Mark, media critic / author, 2/7/2011]

 

I think it's pretty impossible not to love you, Yuri :) [Ruth Livier, actor, writer, producer, 7/6/2011]

 

Reading these latest dispatches regarding (The Mark of) Zorro, I realize I don't think I've ever told you how very much I enjoyed listening to this sucker! I was delighted -- especially taken off guard by the production values! The music, for instance, made me laugh out loud: it was so perfectly romantic with just the right amount of cheese, lifting the whole thing into another world entirely! I loved it; however did you come up with it? And Val, Armin, Meshach, et al were terrific! But you made everyone even better and created a perfect sonic world for them to inhabit. Bravo, bravo! [Ned Schmidke, actor, teacher, 5/18, 2011]

 

I got to hear the entire monster (The Mark of Zorro). It is beautiful. Awesome work. Congrats. [Elizabeth Pena, actor, 5/4/2011]

 

I have worked with Yuri Raskovsy on a number of complex and demanding dramatic recordings, both in a group and as a solo reader. I have never worked with a better producer. He has taste, intelligence and a fierce desire to "get it right." If he wanted me to record the Peoria phone book I would be first in line. Yuri is simply the best there is at what he does. [Edward Herrmann, actor 4/4/2011]


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