TUNLHANNOCK — Did you know the first commercial radio station lit up the airwaves on Nov. 2, 1920, in Pittsburgh? It was an immediate success and launched the radio revolution called the Golden Age of Radio. During this time period, families sat around the radio to be enlightened and entertained.
A cast of 13 volunteer actors in period dress are prepared to take audience members back in time to those thrilling days of radio with two live radio plays complete with sound effects at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 12. The free performance, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Tunkhannock and by Ed Battest in in memory of Pat Battestin, will be followed by a light reception where everyone can meet the actors. For free tickets or information, call 570-996-1500. Tickets will also be available at the door.
When asked what old-time radio plays she likes the best, Dietrich Theater Radio Players Director Esther Harmatz quickly smiled and responded, “Fibber McGee and Molly,” “Father Knows Best,” “My Friend Irma” and “Big Town” are some of my favorite radio serials.
“For the Dietrich Radio Players performances, I always like our cast to perform shows that have light suspense and/or comedy so our audience can enjoy an evening of smiles and theatre of the mind,” she said.
This time around Harmatz has chosen for the class to bring to life a 1937 episode of Big Town called “Pittsburgh Lil” and an episode of “Father Knows Best” called “The Housekeeper” from 1950.
Due to the popularity of the Radio Players class, Harmatz often finds herself faced with the challenge of finding radio plays with enough roles for the large cast. According to her, “In any production it is important to remember there are no small parts. Every role and every line is important to the show. The Radio Players cast is comprised of actors of all ages and walks of life. We all have a fun time in rehearsals. Many in the cast are long-time members of the Dietrich’s Radio Players but we also have a few new cast members. It is always exciting to see new cast members grow to where they feel comfortable performing.”
The Dietrich invites audience members to come early that evening as local barbershop quartet Vocal Accord will provide pre-show entertainment. In addition to a special performance by Vocal Accord, Harmatz has decided to have a return visit by Courtland Birchard and his pal Joey Joker.
“Ventriloquism was a large part of the entertainment industry and we are very honored to have Court and Joey perform once again with us,” Harmatz states.
The Dietrich Theater Radio Players invite everyone to join them for their performance. According to Harmatz, “The performance will move along at a fast pace and is a perfect summer evening of entertainment.”