“The Haunting of Night Vale” Welcomes New Haven to its Brand-New Live Show

Jennifer Moglia, General Manager

Welcome to…Night Haven? New Vale? It turns out that no matter how you mash up the name of your favorite podcast and your college town, it sounds pretty cool.

On April 30, 2023, Wake the Giant wasn’t the only thing happening in our community. Night Vale Presents brought its brand-new live show to College Street Music Hall in New Haven, CT.

“Welcome to Night Vale” is the main podcast produced by Night Vale Presents, led by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. It has been running since 2012 as a radio show for the fictional desert town of Night Vale.

Equal parts spooky, funny, and heartfelt, I fell in love with this podcast about a decade ago when a friend recommended it to me and I started listening to it starting with the first episode. What I love about the series is that each episode can stand alone and can be listened to without prior knowledge, but if you are a fan, there are little nods to past episodes that you’ll enjoy.

The live show is the same way – I brought a friend who had never listened to the show before and she had as much fun as I did as a longtime fan. I hadn’t seen a Night Vale live show since the “All Hail” tour hit Brooklyn, NY in 2017, so I was excited to be welcomed back to my favorite fictional town.

The show started with an introduction by one of Night Vale’s creators, Jeffrey Cranor. He reminded the audience of all of the etiquette and safety protocols and also shared that he used to live in the New England area, so he was familiar with New Haven.

On each episode of “Night Vale,” there is a segment called “The Weather” including a performance by a musical guest. Our show’s weather and opening performance was by Mal Blum, an artist I was familiar with from their song “New Year’s Eve” which went viral on TikTok a few years ago.

Blum played a few ghost-themed songs in honor of this live show being titled “The Haunting of Night Vale.” They also spoke about transgender rights (they are openly trans and queer), loving the TV show “Ghost Adventures,” and preparing to release an album next year.

I was delighted to see Disparition on stage as the show got started, the composer who has made most of the music for “Welcome to Night Vale” from the beginning. Cecil Baldwin, the narrator of the podcast, then took the stage to host the show.

This tour’s story centers around Baldwin and his husband Carlos building their dream home with the help of the Property Brothers. However, as they are watching construction begin, they feel as if their house is haunted before it has even been built.

There were tons of nods to recurring segments on the podcast, including horoscopes, the Children’s Fun Fact Science Corner, and conversations with characters from the show like Tamika Flynn (played by Symphony Sanders) and Harrison Kip (played by Cranor).

Baldwin did a great job of involving the audience, interacting with people in the first few rows and working New Haven into the story. The show ended with a beautiful message about facing your fears. “Night Vale” is known for its strangely beautiful quotes, my favorite of which from the night being, “A house is just a box, a home is what you put into that box.”

Whether you’re a hardcore fan of the show, you’ve listened to a few episodes, or you’ve never even heard of the show, I highly recommend going to a live performance if there is one in your town. This was an incredible experience, and I can’t thank College Street Music Hall enough for making it happen as well as for their support throughout this entire academic year. We can’t wait to cover more shows in the fall!