“The 1940’s Radio Hour” Opens Theatre Season

Kirkwood’s first-ever radio theatre production

Kirkwood kicks off its performing arts series for the 2016-2017 school year with a radio theatre production called “The 1940’s Radio Hour”, a musical written by Walton Jones. The musical is set for four performances, Nov. 3-6, Ballantyne Auditorium. Show times Thursday, Friday and Saturday are at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

A different time is evoked in this marvelously theatrical and award-winning show. The setting is a live broadcast of The Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade from the Hotel Astor’s Algonquin Room on December 21, 1942. The spirit of that bygone era when the world was at war and pop music (“Strike Up the Band” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”) is accurately captured as the harassed producer copes with a drunk lead singer, the delivery boy who wants a chance in front of the mike, the second banana who dreams of singing a ballad, and the trumpet playing sound effects man who chooses a fighter plane over Glenn Miller.

The musical is directed by Rick D. Anderson, associate professor of theatre, and Fred Kiser, director of vocal music, with set and lighting design by professor Shelly Ford and costume design by Emily Ganfield.

The idea for a radio theatre show came from Anderson and Kiser debriefing around the piano after a rehearsal for last year’s musical production of Quilters.

“Fred said it would be fun to do a radio play sometime and I knew of this show,”said Anderson. “I got a copy, gave it to Fred and we decided to do it.”

According to Kiser, musicals are incredibly hard work.

“Not only do you spend all those hours in rehearsal, but you also spend what seems like countless hours rethinking everything that happened in rehearsal and planning for the next night,” said Kiser. “But, the payout is incredible. It’s amazing to see how it all come together.”

Kirkwood’s first-ever radio theatre production also stars well-known media personality and General Manager of KCCK Jazz 88.3, Dennis Green. The tie-in with Green playing the announcer and general manager of radio station WOV seemed like a natural fit. Both Anderson and Kiser agree that having Green as part of the cast has been great.

“Working with Dennis Green has been a joy,” said Anderson. “Watching him work with our students one-on-one is a wonderful experience and I know the students have found it to be great as well.”

Tickets for “The 1940’s Radio Hour” are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students with a current ID. Kirkwood students and employees are admitted for free. Tickets are available at the door.

For more information, please contact Karla Scriven at (319) 398-5896.

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