In case you didn’t know, before it was a popular podcast,Modern Lovewas a beloved New York Times column. With tales of lovelorn, love lost, love found and love learned, the essays took on second acts whenWBUR partnered with the Times to create a podcast featuring their most memorable stories. They tapped celebrity readers, many of whom had a personal connection with the column themselves, to perform a retelling before calling in the original writer for a discussion with editor Daniel Jones and host Meghna Chakrabarti.
Now, you can see them retold in person. The podcast celebrates its first birthday with three celebrity guests — Alysia Reiner (“Orange is the New Black,” “Better Things”), Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”) andBrian Tyree Henry(“Atlanta”) — at the Wilbur for a 90-minute edition of Modern Love Live with Chakrabarti and Jones. Naturally, this all goes down on Valentine’s Day.
Even before she was asked, Reiner made a habit of reading every week. For the podcast, the New Yorker was tapped to read“Those Aren’t Fighting Words,”an essay by a woman who refuses to accept her husband’s lackluster confession: “I don’t love you anymore.”
But for the “Live” show, she’ll take on Laura Wilkinson Sinton’s“The Magi at 40,000 Feet,”about a single mother who ponders the frustrations of a complicated long-distance relationship on the verge of becoming, well, just a complicated relationship. (Essays to be read by Rossum, whose podcast episode featured“The Millennial’s Guide to Kissing,”and Henry, will be kept under wraps until the show.)
“Coincidentally a dear friend of mine is going through a long-distance relationship right now, too,” she says. “I was like, ‘You have to come to Boston — or at least, read this essay right now!’”
Reiner confesses that she’s been lucky in love, but has always found solace in the column, sharing anecdotes with friends in similar situations. But don’t ask her to single out an essay, because she loves them all. “I can’t pick,” she laughs. “I’m not a favorite player.”
Her original Modern Love performance earned her a kind letter from the essay writer, Laura A. Munson, following the podcast’s debut, and she hopes to do Sinton’s words equal justice at the live performance.
“I think with anything, you just want to tell the truth, and do the material justice,” Reiner explains. “I think that’s true with fiction writing, screenplays, essays — everything has some element of truth to it. A writer writes to share truth; so as a performer, I’m just looking to relay that, too.”
If you go:
Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
246 Tremont St.
246 Tremont St.