Women sporting victory rolls in their hair and exclamations of “swell” and “cheese and crackers” let the audience know we’re no longer in the 21st century. In the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre’s current production, The 1940’s Radio Hour, we take a trip back in time to Dec. 21, 1942. The country was at war and each night families gathered together and tuned in to hear their favorite variety show on the radio.
The production gets off to a slow start. As the cast trickles in to prep for the live show audience members feel a bit like they’ve shown up too early for the performance. It’s a waiting game until the first number, but once the show kicks off we don’t slow down until the final bow.
The set is a live radio stage; complete with flashing applause signs to cue the audience. It also features a live 17-piece orchestra in stadium seating. They are the highlight of the show, performing each song beautifully led by their talented conductor Brent Marty. The commercials, sung by the cast, add another fun element to the show.
The cast’s drama plays out silently while they are live on the air. A simple dirty look or friendly smile conveys the characters’ background to the audience. The best numbers are those featuring the whole cast. They perform wonderfully together. Anthony Snitker gave a standout performance as B.J. Gibson. It’s a minor role but it gives him a chance to display his excellent voice.
The 1940’s Radio Hour is a family-friendly nostalgic show and there’s no intermission. Up next at the Civic is the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It’s a fan favorite that sells out fast!
Don't Miss the Show
Performances: The show runs until Saturday, Nov. 9. Performances begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre is located at 3 Center Green, Carmel, IN 46032 at the Center for the Performing Arts.
Tickets: Ticket prices range from $36.50 to $46.50 and can be purchased by calling (317) 923-4597 or visiting www.civictheatre.org.
Photos courtesy of Zach Rosing