After a year’s hiatus when there wasn’t a Christmas radio show in 2018, David Short is again mounting a production. This year’s offering will be The Wizard of Oz.
Short started producing and directing radio plays at Christmas, in concert with local radio station CKAY, with the famous play It’s a Wonderful Life. Following years saw Miracle on 34th Street, Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus, Father Knows Best, A Victorian Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and A Child’s Christmas in Wales.
This year’s play will feature well-known actors and some new young talent. Mac Dodge will appear as The Wizard, Richard Lund acts as Tin Man, Brian Harbison is the Cowardly Lion, and a new face on the stage, 13-year-old Michaela Mann, will take on the taxing role of Dorothy. Newcomer to theatre is Bob Elder, who has stepped in to help man the sound effects table with Short. Other cast members are Bertha Clark, Monica Davis, Cody Kelso, Mary Kenny, Francesca Ryan, and Bethany Bertrand.
The production recreates the radio plays of the ‘40s and ‘50s, when, apart from huddling around the radio set, audiences would vie for opportunities to attend a recording studio when a program was being recorded. Sound effects were almost always produced in the studio with a range of household and jury-rigged pieces of equipment, as audiences will see in this production.
Radio actors are a special breed, for their performances are not about anything but their ability to create voices and atmosphere for the listening audiences. Studio audiences who came to the recordings were treated to the vagaries of the actors’ ability to entertain them.
Two performances of The Wizard of Oz will be produced at the Heritage Playhouse, in Gibsons on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 1, 2 p.m.