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A new twist to an old classic

| November 20, 2012

COSHOCTON – What does Charles Dickens, the Lindbergh baby, and a villainous man named Rudolph all have in common? They’re all a part of the Footlight Players’ new comedy production of “The 1940s Radio Hour: A Christmas Carol”, which will be at the Triple Locks Theatre Nov. 30, and Dec. 1, 7, 8, 15, and 16 at 8 p.m.

Set on Christmas Eve 1943, the Feddington Players of New Jersey decide to broadcast a contemporary take on Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. When they decide to hire a well-known Broadway actor, William St. Claire, they never imagine that the veteran actor will have a nervous breakdown on their live radio production and he begins to compare his life to that of the famous Christmas story. In order to try and save the show from being a complete disaster, the rest of the company improvises the ending to Dickens’ classic, which involves a heroic rescue of Tiny Tim from a Hitler-like character named Rudolph, finding the Lindbergh baby in the process.

“When we did a read through of the script and everyone was sitting around the table, and we got to the part where the Hitler character takes Tiny Tim and the Lindbergh baby, we were rolling,” said Shane Pyle, director of the production. “We had to stop before we could go on.”

According to Pyle, the Footlight Players decided to do this production because it’s a musical, a comedy, and has a Christmas theme, which all seem to be very popular with audiences.

“When I read the script, I found it an absolute delight, and I wanted to bring it to the stage,” said Pyle. “It’s hysterical and of course you get to see the joy of working in live radio where everything is live. You had to do the commercials live, the music live, and of course, you get to see everything that can go wrong.”

Pyle said the production is a little different from other productions the Footlight Players have done in the past in one respect because all the sound effects are done live on stage by an actor. Some of these sound effects include horse hooves and breaking glass.

“This is different because 95% of the sound effects are being produced on stage,” Pyle said. “You’re really relying on him to do it on cue and at the right time. He’s half the show and it’s really amazing to watch him.”

Another one of the challenges for the ensemble is to make the show appear live and unrehearsed even though the show is scripted. Finding authentic 1940s props were hard to come by, according to Pyle. Actors and crew started searching for props last summer, such as 1940s cereal boxes and soup cans. A couple of props are still missing, but Pyle said they are slowly coming together.

The cast includes Shane Thornsley, Frank Ackerman, David Wickham, Cody Kirker, Laura Bice, Jeff Wherley, Shelby Hobert, Norma Owens, Austin Wickham, Francois Servais, Jacob Panteloukas, and Kent Kirker.

“We are simulating as close as we could to what would happen in a live radio broadcast,” said Pyle. “Come see the show. Bring friends and family for an entertaining two hours of live radio full of Christmas fun and cheer.”

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 18 years old and under. The show is children-appropriate. Tickets are available online at footlightplayers.com or by calling 622-2959. The next production will be “Always…Patsy Cline” and will be performed March 2013.

Category: Arts & Entertainment

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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