BWW Previews: THE 1940'S RADIO HOUR at Old Opera House
Tap your toes to the swinging big band jazz sounds of the 1940's, including "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and "Strike Up The Band" as The 1940's Radio Hour opens this weekend at the Old Opera House.
Directed by Glenn Frail, The 1940's Radio Hour tells the story of a group of American working class, home front citizens right before Christmas in 1942. The audience watches as if they are the live audience backstage as the radio show is broadcast, complete with behind the scenes drama, such as a producer dealing with a drunken lead singer , a delivery boy who wants to be the new star and a young trumpet player who decides to leave the radio program business to join the service. The 1940's Radio Hour, as the name implies, features many hit songs from the 1940's.
"All of the music is so much fun to sing" said Denise O'Brien who plays Ann Collier.
"I've loved learning some music from the 1940's. A lot of the music isn't as well-known, but it's just as fun and beautiful as the more famous standards. Telling the stories behind the songs is always a blast for me, and being able to put on a radio show is also enjoyable" said Ed Conn, who plays Neal Tilden.
The 1940's Radio Hour takes a different theatrical approach, in showing the audience the comical behind the scenes story of a light hearted evening of entertainment, set against the serious home front backdrop of World War II.
"The 1940's Radio Hour is not your typical musical. You have elements of your standard book-musical, jukebox-musical, and revue all in one show. It's been a challenge in that aspect, but also fun for all of us" said Conn.
"One of the most challenging factors for me was trying to hold myself as a man in the military. My character, Biff, is going overseas to join a fighter squadron, so it was hard to capture what that would feel like. Glenn, our director, gave me a lot of assistance on what to do with my uniform and my demeanor on stage, which helped me greatly" said Chase Remsburg, who plays Biff Baker.
The cast is ready to share this poignant evening of World War II music and stories with audiences this weekend.
"It is a historical retelling of a major part of U.S. history. For most of us today, we were not around for World War II, so I see it as a tribute not only to war veterans who served and those who are currently still serving, but also to everyone who endured losses and troubled times during the war. This production gives us all that short amount of time to just step away from life and simply enjoy the arts at its finest. All of the arts provide us with that satisfaction that takes us out of reality and brings us into our creative senses that we all need more of. This production does just that, so allow us to provide society with that beautiful release from the world's tensions and enjoy The 1940's Radio Hour" said Remsburg.
"It's a really fun peek into a 1940's radio program" said O'Brien. "People who want to see a show with a lot of heart, and some music from an era not too long ago should definitely take time to come out, and laugh and reminisce with us. It's truly a fun time" said Conn.
The 1940's Radio Hour also features Rick Harner as Lou Cohn, John Glymph as Johnny Cantone, John-Michael Rolnick as Stanley, Adam Venham-Carter as Wally Ferguson, Markita Hosby as Geneva Lee Brown, Mike Reed as Clifton Feddington, Elizabeth McCormick as Ginger Brooks, Richard Hamstead as Pops Bailey, Madeleine Pitcher as Connie Miller, Zac Gilbert as B.J. Gibson and Bobb Robinson as Zoot Doubleman.
The 1940's Radio Hour runs Friday, October 13 at 8:00 PM, Saturday, October 14 at 8:00 PM, Sunday, October 15 at 2:30 PM, Friday, October 20 at 8:00 PM, Saturday, October 21 at 8:00 PM and Sunday, October 22 at 2:30 PM at the Old Opera House, 204 North George Street in Charles Town, West Virginia, 25414. Tickets are $22.00 for adults and $19.00 for students and seniors. For more info, please visit http://www.oldoperahouse.org/
Photo Credit: Travis Fouche for Old Opera House