Ira Glass had lost his voice. That gentle, reliably nasal, public radio staple of a voice had been worked hoarse. On any given day, this would be an issue for Mr. Glass, 55, whose award-winning show, "This American Life," is broadcast on nearly 600 stations and is consistently the top podcast on iTunes.
But it was an unusually big problem one recent Friday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where Mr. Glass and his team were deep in rehearsals. The next night, in two sold-out performances, they would be staging a mini-opera, radio drama and musical, starring 50 performers and hosted by Mr. Glass who, less than 36 hours from curtain, could not speak.