Doby Photography/NPR
Bob Mondello 2010
Doby Photography/NPR

Bob Mondello

Arts Critic

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career, "hired to write for every small paper in Washington, D.C., just as it was about to fold," saw that jink broken in 1984, when he came to NPR.

For more than three decades, Mondello has reviewed movies and covered the arts for NPR News, seeing at least 250 films and 100 plays annually, then sharing critiques and commentaries about the most intriguing on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered. In 2005, he conceived and co-produced NPR's eight-part series "American Stages," exploring the history, reach, and accomplishments of the regional theater movement.

Mondello has also written about the arts for such diverse publications as USA Today, The Washington Post, and Preservation Magazine, as well as for commercial and public television stations. And he has been a lead theater critic for Washington City Paper, D.C.'s leading alternative weekly, since 1987.

Before becoming a professional critic, Mondello spent more than a decade in entertainment advertising, working in public relations for a chain of movie theaters, where he learned the ins and outs of the film industry, and for an independent repertory theater, where he reveled in film history.

Asked what NPR pieces he's proudest of, he points to commentaries on silent films – a bit of a trick on radio – and cultural features he's produced from Argentina, where he and his husband have a second home. An avid traveler, Mondello even spends his vacations watching movies and plays in other countries. "I see as many movies in a year," he says. "As most people see in a lifetime."

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Story Archive

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An Iraqi Sniper Traps Two U.S. Soldiers In 'The Wall'

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Grooving To That 70s Beat, 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Return In Volume 2

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'Obit' Documentary Follows Journalists Who Tell Lively Stories Of Death

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Jane Jacobs commandeering a city planning meeting. Courtesy of IFC Films hide caption

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Courtesy of IFC Films

City Planning As A Contact Sport In 'Citizen Jane: Battle For The City'

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Movie Review: Richard Gere Plays A Scheming New York Fixer In 'Norman'

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Your Name. starts like a teen rom-com but turns into a harrowing survival tale. Courtesy of Funimation Films hide caption

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Courtesy of Funimation Films

A Body-Switching Teen Romance Anime Disaster Flick With 'Your Name.' On It

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Friends Ginger and Lena in All This Panic. Tom Betterton/Courtesy of Dogwoof hide caption

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Tom Betterton/Courtesy of Dogwoof

Two Ways Of Documenting Uncertainty: 'All This Panic' And 'God Knows Where I Am'

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Live-Action 'Beauty And The Beast ' Revisits A Tale As Old As Time

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Life and Alien: Covenant (both 2017 films) are about astronauts who have disastrous encounters with extraterrestrials. Pictured: Katherine Waterston (left) in Alien: Covenant and Jake Gyllenhaal in Life. Mark Rogers via Twentieth Century Fox; Courtesy of Sony Pictures hide caption

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Mark Rogers via Twentieth Century Fox; Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Movie Twins? Weirdly Similar Films That Came Out Within Months Of Each Other

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Hollywood's Favorite Giant Ape Returns In 'Kong: Skull Island'

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Fred Gwynne plays Judge Chamberlain Haller in the 1992 comedy My Cousin Vinny. 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images hide caption

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20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

How Do Americans Feel About The Courts? Let Hollywood Be The Judge

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In 'Logan,' Hugh Jackman's Wolverine Shines His Badge One Last Time

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