Arts and Entertainment

‘Old Time Radio’ returns in an encore live performance in Langley

Some of the many props used to create the live sound effects in the show.   - Samantha O’Brochta/ The Record
Some of the many props used to create the live sound effects in the show.
— image credit: Samantha O’Brochta/ The Record

In a world full of visual entertainment, radio has become a forgotten art. With “Old Time Radio — Live On Stage!” the sounds of radio programing return.

The show, previously performed in Coupeville in June, will take place again tonight at an encore show in Langley.

The show is a benefit for Whidbey’s radio station KWPA FM 96.9. And with a cast and crew of 30, the production is a community effort.

Four radio scripts from the 1940s will be heard again, voiced by local actors: “Fibber McGee & Molly,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Our Miss Brooks” and “The Whistler.”

The production will be directed by Elizabeth Herbert. Harry Anderson, one of the show’s producers, said the cast will wear period costumes and the audience will see sound effects “performed” live, just as they were during the original radio broadcasts in the 1940s.

Herbert said the cast and audience had fun the last time around, and she is happy to bring it back to the stage.

“This is a show of good, clean, family fun,” she said. “The best part is, because it’s a radio play, you can close your eyes and listen to the actors speak and hear the sound effects, or you can keep your eyes open and enjoy watching what’s going on on the stage.”

She said the show is cross-generational; older residents of Whidbey will remember listening to the radio programs, and younger people who didn’t get to tune in before will get a chance to enjoy the shows.

Andy Walker, of Coupeville, said he enjoys being a part of the show. The 14-year-old actor said he grew up listening to the radio with his parents.

“[My family] listened to ‘Prairie Home Companion,’ and we had a set of radio plays,” he said. “But it wasn’t until this experience that

I understood all the creative process that went into a radio show.”

He said that the combination of the live sound effects, the director being onstage with the actors and using only voice to create a character was a big process, but interesting.

Carolyn Tamler, an actress in the show, said that relying just on her voice has helped make her a better actor.

“The more times we did [the radio show], I began to feel my character more and more,” she said. “As time went on, I just became Molly (of ‘Fibber McGee & Molly’) when I was reading the lines.”

The large cast contains actors from the entire island, Herbert said.

“We have people from all the way up in Oak Harbor, to all the way down on the South End,” Herbert said. “We are definitely uniting the whole of the island with this show.”

She said that people are thrilled that it’s an all-island effort, but the main reason for the show is to raise awareness of the radio station.

The show is produced by Anderson and William Bell, with sound effects by Joe Fackler, Chloe Karl and Kyle Lancaster.

Others in the cast are Anderson, Mary Rose Anderson, Julia Beumer, Nicole Bouvion, Erik Christensen, Jim Dunn, David Eccles, Joe Fackler, Kathy Fox, Tom Laurenson, Dell Lawrence, Donna Meyers, Walter Meyers, Michael Monson, Joyce Napoletano, Jim Otruba, Reilly Richards, Joann Roomes, Terry Rose, Sandra Pollard, Carol Shipley, Dick Snowberger, Rich Tamler, Andy Walker and Ed Walker.

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