Celebrating the Golden Age of Radio

Today, February 13, 2021, is World Radio Day. A day when we celebrate how radio brings us together. Because before there was the World Wide Web, there was the radio, broadcasting shows, news and stories from all over the world.

As a community theatre that isn’t able to gather together to rehearse or perform, we decided to revisit this medium that brought families together for decades before we moved on to the glows of our TVs, and later, our electronic devices.

I grew up hearing stories from my family about being gathered around the radio listening to the news, or a soap opera. I couldn’t quite grasp it.

And I will never forget watching The Night That Panicked America on TV as a child. This was a made for TV movie from 1975 that told the story of the chaos that hit the country during the 1938 broadcast of War of the Worlds. I could not wrap my head around the type of power this medium held to create that type of immense panic.

But the radio and the info it gave us was part of the fabric of American life. Families in small towns and big cities alike could listen to the same concerts, dramas, and sports.

C. E. Hooper Company did a survey in 1947 that found that 82 out of 100 Americans claimed to listen to the radio.

Just this Christmas, my father told us a story about what a radio meant to his family. He grew up in a small mining town in the upper peninsula of Michigan. 

My dad remembers when his family first installed electricity in their home. They couldn’t afford to purchase both lights and a radio.  My grandmother decided on a radio.

I was a little surprised. But my dad said that his mother wanted the radio because it could bring the world to them. Hearing that made sense. And he has so many fond memories of listening to the radio with his family and learning about the world from his small town. The thought of getting news about World War 2 moments after it was reported seemed so sophisticated.

For years, I grew up visiting my mom’s childhood home, also in the upper peninsula of Michigan. The radio still stood in the living room, but I never remember it working. And I always thought it was so pretty it was just part of the decor.

My mom’s mother used to listen to Guiding Light on the radio, before it was broadcast on TV on CBS. A habit that was passed on once the show moved to television.

My family recently sold that house, and with it the radio. I just asked my mom if she had a picture of that old radio. She said she did in a way. Years ago, while visiting Elvis Presely’s Graceland, she was amused to see that Elvis (or at least his house) had the exact same radio. From a small town in the country to the King of Rock and Roll, the radio was accessible to most Americans.

So you may be able to imagine how excited I was when RCP president Chuck Goddeeris asked if anyone had a radio script they would like to propose for a new project. And then, RCP director Laurie Smalis answered that call!

She chose to direct the original radio script of the Maltese Falcon from 1941. Her production features a few RCP favorites!

And for those of you, like me, that are fascinated at the pure genius of the Foley Artist, our broadcast on Youtube will show our foley artist in action. I can’t wait for my kids to see this aspect of the production.

Our production will premier on the Rosedale Community Players Youtube Channel on Friday, February 26th at 8 pm. It is free to watch, but you will have the opportunity to donate to RCP, so we can keep finding ways to bring art to our community.

We hope you will join us. And while the production is free of charge, we do hope you will consider making a donation while enjoying our show. This has been a difficult year for all of us. So while we have enjoyed getting creative in order to perfor, we also hope to raise funds so when we can perform live again, we come back stronger than ever.

And if you have stories about listening to the radio during its Golden Age, please send us those stories. We would love to share them as we celebrate this wonderfully historical medium. Contact us via our website or on our Facebook page.

Devene Godau, Rosedale Community Player Promotions Chair

One Act Festival 2015 – Meet Playwright Lance Alan

Tonight is opening night for the 5th Annual One Act Festival @ Rosedale Community Players.  The actors have been hard at work for over two months and ready to present their labors to an audience.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you may even get scared out of your seat.  We’ve got plays of all types including one or two that we hope will lead to interesting discussions.

One such piece that will probably do all of the above is written by esteemed RCP member Lance Alan.  Lance has been a part of every One Act Festival at RCP – the first 3 editions featured him as a playwright and director and last year he was the Artistic Director.  He is with us in our 5th edition of the One Act Festival with his newest piece, which he is also directing, Recoil (Richard James & The Death of The American Dream).  Let’s learn more about Lance.

Lance Alan in RCP’s 2015 Production of Time Stands Still

 

1)  What is your day job?

By day and sometimes night I run my own dog walking business. It’s great because not only do I get to spend all day outside with my furry friends, I have a lot of time to think and work things out. I wrote most of Recoil on the streets of West Bloomfield. If you ever see me walking down the road babbling mindlessly to myself, I’m not crazy. I’m just writing a play.

2)  Why did you start writing plays?

I started writing plays shortly after getting interested in theatre. I was taking acting classes, performing in plays, seeing a lot of plays, reading scripts, and it just occurred to me that I should try it. My first play was produced in the summer of 2000 as part of a local one act festival. Since then, I’ve just kept writing and somehow my plays keep finding their way to the stage. I’ve been very fortunate to have the support of friends and local theatre in these endeavors.

3)  Why did you write this play in particular?

We’re living in a time when corporations have unprecedented power. I wanted to hold up a fractured fun house mirror to that.

4)  What are you most looking forward to with this show?

I look forward to watching the shows with the audience while munching on the free popcorn.

5)  What’s next for you in terms of playwriting?

I have more plays started than I will ever finish. I just keep throwing stuff at the wall and going with whatever sticks.

There are only 4 performances: 8 pm on Thursday, September 10th, Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th as well as a matinee on Saturday, September 12th @ 2 pm.  RCP features cabaret-style assigned seating so reserve your seats today for the low cost of $10 each!

One Act Festival 2015 – Meet Playwright Tony Targan

We are in the home stretch of preparations for the 5th Annual One Act Festival @ Rosedale Community Players.  Everyone is refreshed from their Labor Day weekend and we are hosting an open dress rehearsal this evening (Tuesday, September 8th) before we open on Thursday night.

We have a diverse set of shows, leading off with a very unique look at relationships in Thought Bubbles, which is written by Tony Targan.  Tony is no stranger to our One Act Festival as he wrote and directed his piece Singchronicity in last year’s edition as well as starred in The Wager, written by Lance Alan.  Let’s learn more about him.

Lance Alan (left) and Tony Targan (right) in The Wager (2013)

 

1)  What is your day job?

I’m in-house counsel for ProQuest, a technology company that provides research data and software to libraries.

2)  Why did you start writing plays?

I’ve been inspired by my father, Barry Targan, who is an accomplished author.  I’ve written a lot of non-fiction for Michigan Runner magazine and ESPN.com, and I have my own theater blog (Playing The Barn).  Short plays seemed like a good entry into fiction, which is much harder.

3)  Why did you write this play in particular?

I wrote Thought Bubbles because I think it’s interesting to contrast what people say and what they think.  We all have that inner voice that represents our deepest wants and needs, but as we age, we tend to behave in ways that society expects, rather than being true to ourselves.  Sometimes it’s hard to “listen” to yourself.  I also wanted to capture the complexities of relationships in the Internet age, particularly for people who have been off the dating grid for awhile.  (Luckily, I’ve been married for 30 years, so this is all pure fiction, although I do happen to share many of the same interests as William, the character I play.)

4)  What are you most looking forward to with this show?

The audience’s reaction.  In my humble opinion, this is a really funny play and I can’t wait to hear people laugh.

5)  What’s next for you in terms of playwriting?

I’m working on another one-act, an absurdist corporate comedy tentatively titled There’s No Y in Business.  I would also like to start a writer’s club to compare notes with fellow playwrights and perform workshops of our works-in-progress.

Remember, there will be performances at 8 pm on Thursday, September 10th, Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th as well as a matinee on Saturday, September 12th @ 2 pm.  RCP features cabaret-style assigned seating so reserve your seats today for the low cost of $10 each!

One Act Festival 2015 – Meet Playwright Sarah Willis

We are less than one week away from the 5th Annual One Act Festival @ Rosedale Community Players and the cast and crew has been given the weekend off to celebrate Labor Day after a productive “Hell Week”.

We have a great variety of pieces this year including one that is sure to tug at your heart strings: The Armadillo in the Room, which is written by Sarah Willis.  Sarah comes to us with many years of experience in theatre as well as having two other one acts previously produced elsewhere:

When the Curtain Falls – The plagues of life follow both the children and adults at the North Star Children’s Theatre, but there they discover that the love of a family can heal, and a family isn’t always what they expect.

Hammie: Shakespeare’s Hamlet in Twenty Five Hilarious Minutes – Prince Hammie returns to Elsinore Castle from Michigan State University to find that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” His father’s ghost implores him to avenge his murder… madness ensues. Lia wants to date Hammie, but does he want to date her? Laertes dispenses brotherly advice and plots with King Claudius. Fortinbras invades… sort of. Queen Gertude knits her troubles away. Yorick returns from the dead. Horatio observes.

 

Sarah Willis

 

1)  What is your day job?

Artistic Director of All-of-us Express Children’s Theatre AND (because you can’t just have one job if you’re in the arts, right?) Bartender at Beggar’s Banquet.

2)  Why did you start writing plays?

Because playwriting combined my love of theatre with my love of writing; a natural marriage.

3)  Why did you write this play in particular?

I took the CTAM Master Class last summer at Higgins Lake, and one of our exercises was literally pulling buzzwords out of a jar. My word was… you guessed it!: “Armadillo”. Thus, The Armadillo in the Room. And yes, the title did come first.

4)  What are you most looking forward to with this show?

Someone else directing my work! I’ve directed my own pieces before, but I’m looking forward to seeing what someone else sees in the piece, rather than just what I see as the playwright.

5)  What’s next for you in terms of playwriting?

A staged reading of my full-length show The Making Of at Riverwalk Theatre in Lansing on November 5th! Hopefully, eventually, graduate school, a show on Broadway, a Tony Award for Best Play (amongst other awards, of course), and my own theatre. Not necessarily in that order.

 

 

Remember, there will be performances at 8 pm on Thursday, September 10th, Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th as well as a matinee on Saturday, September 12th @ 2 pm.  RCP features cabaret-style assigned seating so reserve your seats today for the low cost of $10 each!