FESTIVAL OF RADIO

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We’ve had three performances of the Festival of HG Radio and they’ve all been fun. They wonderfully embrace the spirit of our mission: to provide opportunities for people of all ages to enrich and empower their lives through community performing arts. This project does that.

The youngest in the group is either Bryson Fuhrer who attends Westfield Elementary, or Katie Burke from Mansfield. Either of these—both of these—kids are a joy to work with, and a joy to watch. They are high energy and full of expression and spirit. The oldest in the group—oh, geez—I’m not sure who is the oldest. Larry Biddison may get the prize. Or maybe Bill Bauer. Ed McQuaid is getting up there. There are a few women who may be the winner, but I’m not comfortable listing their names. Sorry for making assumptions.

Each show has a different director, and many of them are new to directing. Titus Himmelberger, Sarah Knight, Yolie Canales, Mitch Kreisler, Katey Pacific, Lilace Guignard, Jay Ritter, Larry Biddison, all have done admirable work. The casts include a host of HG veterans, and a handful of new to HG: welcome Ben Slater (in his first speaking role), Richard Burke, Sarah Duterte, Larry Mommico, Gigi Bush. It’s great to have a few semi-newcomers back: Ronnie Mason-West, Elliot Worthington, Nancy Szabo, Jacob Sawyer to name a few.

This isn’t really a review of the shows, but I would like to mention just a few memorable moments—and there are lots. One of the great delights of live (non-broadcast) radio shows is the experience of seeing the SFX right on stage. It’s fun to hear them on Prairie Home Companion, but here we get to see them—and often they just don’t match up with how we imaging the sound was created. Bruce Applegate and Katie Bartlett flanked Gary Fizzano as the SFX crew. Great fun. And Gary’s ability to morph from a a variety of dog characters to cats and then to a wonderfully cartoon parrot was worth the admission price. (And by the way, whose Idea was it to offer all five performances for a total of $20. No where could you beat that price…even if you only saw/see two!)

Natalie Hallead continues to amaze me with her various characterizations. In the past we’ve seen her as one of George M Cohen’s wives—dancing and singing, and last summer as the tragic Nancy in OLIVER!. She’s been in other radio shows and in this festival she plays a whole host of different characters. She’s a master of accents—last summer’s Cockney, and this week as a melodramatic heroine to a Russion murderer. She can do broad comedy and wistful romance and evil thriller. Bravo, Natalie.

There are many other moments of delight. We tried to cram in a lot and so the shows run a bit long, but feel free to stand and stretch between episodes and get a snack at intermission. You’ve got two more chances; tonight and tomorrow. See you there.