Al Roker, Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie step away from Today for surprising new project

The stars of NBC’s Today looked very different on Wednesday as they stepped away from their usual gig for a surprising new project.

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Al Roker, Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager, and Savannah Guthrie took on new personas for a one-day-only off-Broadway performance of Norman Corwin’s radio crime series Murder in Studio One at Audible’s Minetta Lane Theatre.

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The foursome were joined by Sheinelle Jones, Tom Llamas, Kerry Sanders, Stephanie Ruhle, D.D. Jakson, Leer Leary, Harry Smith, Peter Alexander, and Dylan Dreyer.

Despite being recorded as a podcast – although the performance will be aired on Today – the NBC stars underwent a 40s-style makeover for the hour-long production, which saw them reading from scripts in different accents thanks to help from dialect coach Jordan Yaneo.

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“I’m a cross between some inspector and Regis Philbin,” Hoda, who played Inspector Cameo Klopf, quipped to Page Six. Craig Melvin, who portrayed Dr. Lionel Bumbridge, added: “My goal was to just not screw it up like every day on the air — and to make the voice coach proud.”

The Today stars dressed up in 1940s costumes

Al joked that the performance was “just basically an offshoot of what we do almost every day”.

Explaining why they decided to undertake such a daunting task, Savannah revealed: “It came from the [1940s]. It was unearthed by our producer, Robin Sindler. [He] thought it would be fun because it was called Murder in Studio One,” she added, referencing the fact Today shoots in NBC’s Studio 1a.

Originally written by Norman Corwin, the radio play was adapted for the reading with permission from the Norman Administrative Trust. Audible and NBC News will be releasing the recording on their respective platforms with a segment dedicated to the reading scheduled to air on the Today show on May 18.

Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

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