Ari Shapiro

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The Band's Visit is a Broadway musical that tells the story of human connection and commonality between cultures. When an Egyptian police band gets stranded in a tiny Israeli town, the musicians wait in a cafe — and get to talking with the locals.

The plot is simple and the set modest, but since its debut on Broadway in late 2017, the show has become the surprise smash hit of the season. Now, the musical is nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including best musical, ahead of Sunday's award ceremony.

It's nightfall in Washington, D.C., at the end of the evening shift, when the throngs of students on school field trips have slowed to a trickle at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

With a flashlight in one hand and a clear plastic bag in the other, Bob Herendeen walks the length of the austere, black granite wall. The National Park Service ranger surveys the things visitors have left at the memorial: American flags, wreaths, flowers.

More than a decade ago, author Neil Gaiman wrote a short story that captures some of the strangeness of being a teenager discovering the world. It's called "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," and it's really only one scene: Two boys stumble upon a party where the girls seem rather alien. As it turns out, the girls are actual aliens.

For decades, Americans have seen celebrities through photographer Mark Seliger's lens. His work has appeared in magazines such as Vanity Fair, GQ and Rolling Stone.

"Having a sense of humor" is important to the work, he says. "Whether it's a big concept or whether it's a wink."

The title of Maxim Loskutoff's debut book is an invitation. Or is it a command?

In the short story collection Come West and See, he writes about a region that is wild and aggressive, standing in stark opposition to the society that exists in, say, Washington, D.C., or New York City.

Loskutoff grew up in the American West, in Missoula, Mont., but back then, that fierce, rugged individualism didn't quite appeal to him.

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Last week, teachers-to-be WinnieHope Mamboleo and Cristina Chase Lane marched across the graduation stage at North Carolina State University.

This week, they'll be marching with future colleagues at the state capitol in Raleigh, asking for better pay and better school funding.

North Carolina is the sixth state to see teacher walkouts in the past four months. The others are West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado and Arizona. The Tar Heel state ranks 39th both in per-student spending and in average teacher pay as of 2017.

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The new movie "Beast" is a psychological thriller set on a quaint island in the English Channel called Jersey. Twenty-seven-year-old Moll lives a quiet, stifling life with her controlling mother.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BEAST")

At any given moment, volunteers and paid workers are writing fictional narratives that they present online as news stories, and some of those will get picked up and shared — perhaps thousands of times — on social media.

Hoaxes are presented as fact, conspiracy theories are offered as truth, and some of them may even end up on Wikipedia, one of the most-visited sites online.

Over the past 20 years, Souad Massi has sung provocative songs challenging authority and weaving stories in Arabic, French, and Kabyle, languages from her native Algeria. She's never been afraid to take risks through her music. "You want to know all my secrets?" Massi asks. The Algerian artist laughs and says she has only the best.

University of Michigan students Griffin St. Onge and Lauren Schandevel have published an online guide that anybody can edit called "Being Not Rich at UM." It's a Google Doc about navigating the costs of college that has grown to more than 80 pages.

Allan Monga, a junior at Deering High School in Portland, Maine, traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Poetry Out Loud contest on Monday. It's a national competition in which students recite great works of poetry, and it's run by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

But Monga, who says he fled violence in his home country of Zambia, was initially barred from the national final because of his immigration status: He's an asylum seeker and does not yet have U.S. citizenship.

After months of searching, the fourth annual Tiny Desk Contest winner has been announced!

Killer robots have been a staple of TV and movies for decades, from Westworld to The Terminator series. But in the real world, killer robots are officially known as "autonomous weapons."

At the Pentagon, Paul Scharre helped create the U.S. policy for such weapons. In his new book, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, Scharre discusses the state of these weapons today.

In the last few years, some European countries have refused to take in refugees, prejudiced views have entered the mainstream, and leaders demonize religious minorities and attack the free press.

Nils Muiznieks has raised alarms about many of these issues. He's just finished his six-year term as the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, the continent's main human rights watchdog.

Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods wanted to start a podcast about life in prison. It would be for inmates, by inmates, to be played on the closed-circuit station in San Quentin State Prison in California — "for the inside," as Woods says.

Woods is serving a 31-years-to-life sentence for attempted second-degree robbery. Poor is a visual artist who volunteers at San Quentin.

Amid saguaro cactuses and yucca plants, Lauren Rosin shows off a house that she's renovating in Phoenix's Central Corridor, a pricy neighborhood north of downtown.

"This was actually a courtyard and I blew it out," she says, pointing to what will now be an extra-large open kitchen with custom cabinets, quartz countertops and chandelier-style lighting. She'll also upgrade the swimming pool in the backyard.

Phoenix was among the cities hit hardest by the mortgage and foreclosure crisis. Ten years later, the city and its real estate market have rebounded, but no one has forgotten.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Award-winning composer Dan Romer is best known for scoring TV shows and films like Beasts Of The Southern Wild and Beasts Of No Nation. Recently, his career took a turn from movies to video games. He's written the music for the latest installment in the popular series Far Cry.

Dystopian thriller, The Walk, is a tale of mistaken identity, terrorism, and a life-or-death mission to walk across Scotland. But the format of this story is — unusual.

The Walk is an immersive fiction podcast, and the creators want you to listen to it while walking. It begins with a terrorist attack at a train station; you are the protagonist, known only as Walker, and the police think you're a member of a shadowy terror group called The Burn.

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Alan Hollinghurst is an English novelist who likes to explore private, secret lives. His characters are often gay men — sometimes living in an earlier era, when they wouldn't use the word "gay" to describe themselves.

Millions of Americans use opioids to relieve pain. But many also struggle with addiction.

This week, a report in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, found that nonopioid painkillers — like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — were as effective as opioids at treating chronic back, hip and knee pain, and with fewer side effects.

The new film A Wrinkle In Time has some of Hollywood's biggest stars: Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, and more. But their stories all revolve around the central character, Meg Murry, who sets out on a journey through the universe to find her missing father — and Meg is played by 14-year-old actress Storm Reid.

A Wrinkle In Time is based on the acclaimed book of the same name by Madeleine L'Engle, which Reid first read in the 6th grade for a book report. She says she never thought that Meg could look like her.

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Joan Baez has dedicated her life to music — and the causes for which music can speak. The folk star began using her voice to protest in the 1960s, leading rallies against wars and discrimination alongside the likes of Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie. Though gentle, her renditions of "We Shall Overcome" and "What Have They Done to the Rain" served as the heartbeat to peaceful revolutions.

Botanist David Fairchild grew up in Kansas at the end of the 19th century. He loved plants, and he loved travel, and he found a way to combine both into a job for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Every Olympics it seems like people turn into overnight experts on whatever event happens to be on. Who knew that we could so easily master the subtleties of 4x10 cross-country ski relay and...

(SOUNDBITE OF CURLING)

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