'War of the Worlds' at Wildish theater

'War of the Worlds' at Wildish theater

Press release courtesy Willamalane

The Golden Age of Radio comes alive in a dramatic re-creation of the 1938 radio program, "War of the Worlds," to be performed Oct. 9-11 at the Wildish Community Theater, 630 Main St. in Springfield.

The broadcast classic, presented by Fred Crafts' Radio Redux, is based on H.G. Wells' novel, "War of the Worlds. The Oct. 30, 1938, program by the Mercury Theatre of the Air, starring Orson Welles, was so realistic that many listeners were convinced Martians had landed in New York City.

"'War of the Worlds' is a essentially a horror story that was done on the radio as a Halloween prank," said Fred Crafts, the show's director and producer, and also a playwright and arts consultant. "The fact that some people took it so seriously they panicked is a testament to the dramatic powers of this chilling tale."

Performance dates are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9 and 10. A matinee on Sunday, Oct. 11, starts at 2 p.m. Admission is $10 per person. Tickets are available by calling Willamalane Park and Recreation District at 736-4544. Tickets will also be sold at the door, if available. There is no reserved seating.

The production features eminent local actors Kim Donahey, Karm Hagedorn, Ken Hof, Frank Muhr, Bary Shaw and Steve Wehmeier, among others.

"We have one of the finest casts ever assembled for a local production," Crafts said. "Each performer has been a headliner in productions at leading theaters in the area. Now they blend their formidable individual talents into a spectacular ensemble."

Crafts said Radio Redux simulates old-time radio broadcasts by having actors perform vintage radio scripts before an audience. The actors dress in 1940s-style clothing–sometimes with costume pieces that enhance characterization (such as cowboy outfits during a Western story).

"The sound effects are done live," Crafts said. "As a result, the show contains plenty of movement for the audience to see, as well as a gripping story for them to hear."

The War of the Worlds production inaugurates a four-show series by Radio Redux at Wildish Community Theater. Other productions are scheduled Jan. 8-10, April 2-4 and June 18-20.

The event is jointly sponsored by KLCC 89.7 FM, a listener-supported public radio service of Lane Community College, and Willamalane.