KPFK Radio's Arts in Review Preps for Annual Holiday Special
KPFK Radio's Arts in Review, Los Angeles's longest-running radio showcase on live theater and cabaret, presents its annual Christmas Day Holiday Drama Special, aired in two parts (10 to 11am & 1pm to 2pm), highlighted by the radio dramatization premieres of All is Calm, All is Bright ("The Story of Silent Night") & One Horse Open Sleigh ("The Story of Jingle Bells"), performed by the Arts in Review (AIR) Repertory Players. This special broadcast will also offer the 14th annual concert presentation of Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales, featuring actor Al Alu, and an encore presentation of AIR Repertory's The Christmas Eve Truce. Hosted by entertainment journalist Julio Martinez, the program airs on KPFK 90.7.FM, and streamed live worldwide on kpfk.org.
All is Calm, All is Bright, written by Julio Martinez, directed by Irene Arranga, edited by Jee Hyun Lee of Pacifica Archives, chronicles Christmas Eve in the home of choirmaster Franz Gruber, and the events leading to the hastily composed Christmas Carol, Silent Night. The AIR Repertory Players include Gigi Perreau, Richard Heft, Linnea Liu Dakin, Lauren Lewis. Michael Yapujian, Cullen Kirkland and Estela Volturo.
One Horse Open Sleigh, written by Julio Martinez, directed by Irene Arranga, edited by Federico Garcia of KPFK Radio, follows the events in 19th century Savannah, Georgia that led to the creation of a simple tavern drinking song that become one of the this country's most iconic holiday melodies, Jingle Bells. The AIR Repertory Players include Ed Krieger, Christiane Carman, Richard Heft, Lauren Lewis and Michael M. Johnson. The music director is David Moscoe.
The great 20th century Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) wrote A Child's Christmas in Wales, a reminiscence of his youth growing up in the South Wales village of Swansea. He performed the piece on the radio in 1952, shortly before his death. The work was published posthumously in 1955. American actor Al Alu , who passed away on Dec 2, 2014, was a founding member of the prestigious American Conservatory Theater (ACT). Mr. Alu's performance is underscored by Koto Keys (keyboardist Marilyn Harris and Japanese harp virtuoso Mara Purl).
The Christmas Eve Truce, written by Julio Martinez, directed by Irene Arranga, edited by Mark Torres, which premiered in 2013, dramatizes actual events that led soldiers of Germany and Austria to reach out to soldiers of England and France, facing each other on the Western Front, to halt the shooting on Christmas Eve so that religious services could be conducted in the trenches and on the Western Front battlefield that separated the combatants. The AIR Repertory Players features the talents of Cullen Kirkland, Linnea Liu Dakin, Kevin Delaney, Lauri Fraser, Richard Heft and Nicholas Read.
Arts in Review radio dramatizations have included, The Christmas Eve Truce, Keeping Christmas Well (Dickens Journey to A Christmas Carol), All is Calm, All is Bright (The Story of Silent Night), The Nutcracker's Journey, O Henry's The Gift of the Magi, Mark Twain's The Diary of Adam and Eve, To All a Good Night (The Story of Santa Claus), Che and Allen (The fictional meeting of Che Guevara and Allen Ginsberg), Dreidels & Donuts, Christmas in Tinseltown and One Horse Open Sleigh.
Arts in Review 2017 Holiday Special airs Monday, December 25 on KPFK (90.7fm), featuring A Child's Christmas in Wales (10am), The Christmas Eve Truce (10:30am), All is Calm All is Bright (1pm) and One Horse Open Sleigh (1:30pm). Broadcasting since 1987, Arts in Review airs regularly over KPFK (90.7fm), Pacifica Radio for the Greater Los Angeles area, in Santa Barbara (98.7FM) and streamed live around the world on kpfk.org.
Photo: "All is Calm, All is Bright" in Rehearsal (clockwise from top: Cullen Kirkland, Richard Heft, Michael Yapujian, Lauren Lewis, Estela Volturo, Linnea Liu Dain)