Great Lives

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Great Lives
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Arthur Miller, Ryan Cutrona, Tim Jerome, Julie Renick, Joe Frank
Improv Actors, Absurd Monologue, 59 minutes
Preceded by: Bad
Followed by: Great Lives (Remix)

"Well of course, Stalin was a very amusing man."

Great Lives is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1989.


The sound of a train, coming to a stop.

A man (Arthur Miller), says that Stalin was very amusing with a 'light, fey sense of humor' and more unlikely stories about him.

2:40 A man (Ryan Cutrona) travels on interstates and other metaphorical highways.

4:20 A man (Tim Jerome) puts words together to form sentences, but they don’t have intrinsic value; if we don’t have intrinsic value, we don’t have extrinsic existence.

7:30: Joe asks the man about his claim that Hitler was a woman, which he affirms, then tells other unlikely stories about him.

10:10: A man (Ryan Cutrona) tells about the things he has been (holy, evil, rich, very wealthy…), then the places he has been (Indianapolis, Korea, Venezuela, Baton Rouge, the Moon). Then he says some things he wants to talk about - but doesn't.

11:10: A man (Tim Jerome) talks about confusion, then god, then watching a woman doing something she should or shouldn't through a window, whether or not you are doing what you should.

14:40: A man (Arthur Miller) talks about how Freud was a depressed, lonely, lost man, due to a childhood bicycle accident. Freud really wanted to be a shoe salesman.

18:40 A man (Ryan Cutrona) says there are people who are no longer around, and people who are outside the law.

19:20 A man (Tim Jerome) lists the crimes he has committed.

22:00: Joe talks to a man (Arthur Miller) who taught at Princeton, knew Einstein, tells unlikely stories about him, including Einstein's affair with Marilyn Monroe.

24:30: A man (Ryan Cutrona) tells all the things he's seen god in.

26:40: A man (Tim Jerome) tells unlikely stories about Sigmund Freud.

29:00: Joe asks a man (Arthur Miller) about Picasso's relationship with Gertrude Stein, allegedly an explosive affair.

32:00 A man (Ryan Cutrona) lists the crimes he has committed.

34:00: A woman[1] talks about songs Marlene Dietrich sang.[2]

37:20: A man (Arthur Miller) tells about attending a costume party in New York City dressed as Marlene Dietrich did for The Blue Angel, where he meets her and has a relationship with her when she was in her 50s.[3]

42:10: A man (Ryan Cutrona) tells about Hitler's life as a little girl, goes on about why we haven't been told Hitler was a woman.

43:50: A man (Tim Jerome) complains about his childhood.

45:30: A man (?) talks about his father’s life.

51:00: A man (Arthur Miller) lists the crimes he has committed.

54:20: A man (Ryan Cutrona) talks about when he lived in Vienna and hung out at cafés with Freud, often saw Stalin, then Einstein and Marilyn Monroe; Picasso drew portraits on the street. He claims Eleanor Roosevelt turned his life around.

57:10: A woman (Julie Renick) sings 'You do something to me' in a fake German accent, impersonating Marlene Dietrich.


This is an incomplete record of the music in this program. If you can add more information, please do.

Shared material

Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "With Arthur Miller, Ryan Cutrona, Tim Jerome, Julie Renick, and Joe Frank. This program was recorded at Westrax Recording Studios in New York City and at KCRW in Santa Monica."


The programs "Great Lives" and "Great Lives (Remix)" from are identical, but KCRW originally broadcast a slightly longer version of the program.


Thanks to people in the German subreddit for help identifying the 2 Marlene Dietrich songs mentioned at 34 minutes; one said her voice is authentically German.Arthur Peabody (talk) 17:59, 23 August 2021 (EDT)


  1. German accent, real according to a correspondent on Reddit - I don't think it's Julie Renick, the only woman mentioned in the cast
  2. The first song is 'Ach, Fräulein Annie wohnt schon lang nicht hier', 'Annie doesn't live here anymore'; the second song is 'Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte', 'If I could wish for something'. Dietrich sang both.
  3. She was born in 1901.