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Cast of 1940s Radio Hour
Theater Review in The Observer
1940s Radio Hour

New Smyrna Beach, Feb 23, 2001 - Make sure you go see "The 1940s Radio Hour," which opened last weekend at the Little Theatre of New Smyrna Beach. It is a delightful production.

This toe-tapping musical by Walton Jones is a behind-the-scenes look at a live broadcast of Radio Station WOV's "The Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade" from the Hotel Astor's Algonquin Room in New York City on Dec. 21, 1942.

Because it is a live radio simulation, there is no intermission during the performance, but believe me, you won't miss it. This talented ensemble cast does a terrific job creating the spirit of that by-gone era when the world was at war, and songs such as "Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy" and "I'll Be Seeing You" were popular.

The production opens with "Pops Bailey," played by Stan Sanders, sleeping at his desk. He does a great job as the crusty, crotchety stage doorman, who is a bookie on the side.

Greg Harris plays radio technician/engineer Stanley, and is right at home with the role since he works in broadcasting as a DJ.

Scott Hazard does a wonderful job as Clifton Feddington, announcer and general manager who is always running around the station in a state of panic and hysteria.

The talented Charley Verba plays Zoot Doubleman, who leads WOV's little on-air band, and is also the shows musical director.

Kenneth Guilbeault just about steals the show as fumbling delivery boy Wally Fergusson, who is always hanging out back stage hoping for a chance in front of the microphone. He gets his chance at the microphone to sing the ballad "Blue Moon," when Biff Baker doesn't show up. He and Hazard do the vaudeville "who's on first" routine and they are both fantastic!

Don Campbell is wonderful as the officious and well-dressed stage manager Lou Cohn, who tries to keep everything running smoothly. David Jenkins plays suave, debonair crooner Johnny Cantone to the hilt. He's perfect as the gambling and hard-drinking lead singer who hopes to begin an acting career. He does a great job singing "Love is Here to Stay." Kerry McGonigal does a great job playing Ginger Brooks, a bubble-headed waitress turned singing star and give a wonderful rendition of "Blues in the Night."

Terri Schmidt is delightful as Connie Miller, the youngest and most enthusiastic member of the Variety Cavalcade. It was a treat to listen to her sing "Daddy" and "Five O'Clock Whistle," and join the others singing Pepsi and Chiquita Banana commercials and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B." Three cheers for Dave Wingate who plays Connie's squeaky-clean boyfriend, B.J. Gibson. This is his first theater experience, but judging from his singing and acting talent, it won't be his last. Veteran actress Tess Siconolfi plays Ann Collier, the featured vocalist, who has been with the Cavalcade since it started. Her rendition of "Black Magic" is wonderful.

Susie H. Lyle plays high-class jazz singer Geneva Lee Browne. She sings "I Don't Know Why" and "I Got It Bad." This is her first musical theater role and she pulls it off effortlessly.
Krista Dresser does a good job of stealing the show as the beautiful, but not too smart, script girl Peggy. She is an attention-getting blond bombshell from the moment she "minces" across the stage in her tight skirt, with her shoulders thrown back and her chest pushed out. The audience loved her.

Mac Macdonald as Larry, the technician, and Amy Dresser as Collier's niece Amanda, round out the cast. Even though they have small parts, their presence is felt on stage and they are an intrinsic part of the cast.

Frances Johnson has done a wonderful job directing this talented group of people in this terrific production. The same can be said for musical director Charley Verba. Musicians include Charley Verba on drums and pianists Margaret Pike and Mary Lou Keenan. David Christian is the stage manager, Bill Roehrborn is technical director, and Mary Monnier is the set decorator.

Props are handled by Camille Dickinson; lights and sound by Ryan Jenkins; costumes by Rose Dingas; make-up by Karin Jenkins, and hair styles by David Jenkins. Performances continue tonight, Saturday, March 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. Sunday matinees are Feb. 25 and March 4 at 2 p.m. Ticket are $15, adults; $14, seniors; and $7 under 18.

The Little Theatre box office, 726 Third Avenue, will be open tonight and March 2 from 2-8 and March 1 from 2-5 p.m. The box office will open at 6 p.m. for Saturday evening performances and noon for Sunday performances.

Call 423-1246 or visit www. for more information.

Copyright 2001 the Little Theatre of New Smyrna Beach, Inc.