At Oldcastle Theatre, an Old-Time Radio Variety Show
‘Tune in’ to Oldcastle Theatre Company at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 16, when they present their fourth annual Holiday Variety Show after the style of radio programs of the 1930s to the 50s. The show will feature excerpts from classic radio comedies performed by Oldcastle actors Gary Allan Poe, Willy Jones, Christine Decker, Peter Langstaff, Daryl Kenny, Tim Foley, Jody June Schade, Tom Ferguson, Vic Callirgos and others. There will also be a plethora of holiday music featuring company favorites Paul Romero, Cheryl Howard, Amy Hayes, Matt Edwards and Richard Howe. Lynn Sweet will be pianist for the evening. Members of the Mount Anthony Union High School Chorus will perform. The program has become a seasonal event that many in the community look forward to each year. “It’s an opportunity to get together hear traditional holiday songs, have some laughs and get a glimpse into the now bygone era of radio variety,” said Eric Peterson, Oldcastle producing artistic director.
The Fred Allen Show will be one of the special Christmas broadcasts, according to Peterson. Allen was one of the funniest, and most influential of the great radio comedians. Groucho Marx and Johnny Carson are just two of the many comics who learned from – and often stole from Allen. His program had a weekly feature in which Fred would stroll down Allen’s Alley, meeting several eccentric folks – including Parker Fennelly as stoic New Englander, Titus Moody, and Kenny Delmar as southerner Beauregard Claghorn – leaving the audience in stitches.
Duffy’s Tavern was one of the most popular radio sitcoms; it took place in small, highly unsuccessful bar presided over by manager Archie, who was always working on a get rich quick scheme and was known for his romantic missteps. It premiered as a radio series in 1939 and ran for ten years. Among its roster of writers was Broadway playwright Abe Burrows who wrote the book for ‘Guys & Dolls.’
George Burns and Gracie Allen were one of the most popular comedic duos, first on radio beginning in 1933, and then for many years on television. Oldcastle will be performing one of the most famous programs, ‘Gracie Allen for President.’ Burns wrote the act, and when they began in Vaudeville, Gracie played straight to George, but the audience kept laughing at her questions, so Burns became the straight man and Gracie the airhead who somehow always made sense.
“Those not old enough to remember the glory days of radio may remember the television holiday specials by the likes of Perry Como, Dinah Shore, Andy Williams and others,” added Peterson. “Our show is both nostalgic and simply good, informal fun.” Tickets for the show are $18 ($12 for students.) The money raised will help make Oldcastle’s 2018 season possible. For tickets or information call 802-447-0564 or visit oldcastletheatre.org.