Courtland community theater to re-create 40s-era live radio broadcast

March 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

By Deb Hadachek Belleville Telescope editor

Courtland community theater will go on the air Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 27-29, when a cast of 19 local actors from Courtland and Scandia perform Radio Daze.

The performances Friday evening at 7 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday carry a $5 admission price. Saturday night will include a dinner theater, and tickets must be purchased in advance at the Swedish American State Bank in Courtland.

Radio Daze is an original production based on a 1940s radio comedy show adapted by Gretchen Barclay and directed by Leigh Gritten.

“This is a little bit of a Tom Sawyer fence project,” Barclay laughs. “Tanner Johnson said ‘I think we should have community theater at the Arts Center’.” I started looking for a radio-style script, because actors don’t need to memorize dialogue--they can just show up. But I couldn’t find any scripts that were funny or appropriate.

“I did find a couple old books at the Frank Carlson Library in Concordia from the 40s and 50s that had radio-style comedy scripts for high school drama classes. I wrote a plot to connect them together, put out a casting call, and we had 17 people show up.”

Cast members range from high school to senior citizens. The cast includes a granddaughter and both her grandmothers.

Radio Daze will feature seven radio comedy sketches from the 1940s. The show will include commercials, want ads, and church announcements. The skit titles include “Wrong Train”, “The Runaway Pirate” and “The Sound Effects Man.” Some Big Band music,a bit of dancing, forties fashions and hairstyles will help to take the audience back in time. The plot centers on the search for a missing radio sound effects man, which requires the cast members to do their own sound effects for their skits.

Cast members are Audrey Gritten, Barb Langston, Brayden Carlgren, Carl Segerhammar, Elijah Moore, Hannah Mahin, Jone Rodgers, Kathy Kuhn, Luke Mahin, Mike Gritten, Nick Levendofsky, Pam Isaacson, Payton Isaacson, Rana Cline, Ruthie Sederlin, Shannon Langston, Steve Benne, Tony Tebow, and Tiana Sothers.

Cast members have been rehearsing twice a week for several months, Barclay says. She estimates this is the first time a local theater performance has been staged in Courtland on this scale for 25 years.

“It’s sometimes tough for people to commit to something like this when they have day jobs,” she says. “They’re very prepared and have really brought this to life,” she says.


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