Veteran director Steve Reily helms the hit holiday musical opening Thurs., Nov. 29th
Veteran director Steve Reily of Meadowlakes stages the hit holiday musical “A 1940’s Radio Christmas Carol” opening Thursday, Nov. 29, and running for eight performances through Dec. 9, at the Hill Country Community Theatre (HCCT) in Cottonwood Shores (4003 FM 2147 West, between Marble Falls and Horseshoe Bay).
A true trip into the past, A 1940’s Radio Christmas Carol is a fun and heart-warming holiday musical suitable for the entire family. It’s Christmas Eve, 1943 and the Feddington Players are all set to broadcast their contemporary take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol from a hole-in-the-wall studio in Newark, N.J. Whether it’s the noisy plumbing, missed cues, electrical blackouts or the over-the-top theatrics of a veteran actor, 1940’s is an entertaining excursion into the mayhem and madness of an old-timey live radio show.
The cast includes HCCT veterans Seth Smith of Granite Shoals as Clifton; Guy Gober of Marble Falls as Fritz; Paul Otis of Burnet as Cholly; Henry Rowland of Burnet as Jackie; Becky Barton of Marble Falls as Margie; and Brian Jacobs of Cottonwood Shores as Buzz.
Making their debut on the Hill Country stage are Brittney Branum of Horseshoe Bay as Sally; Michael Fagan of Marble Falls as William; Jan Gignac of Horseshoe Bay as Judith; Mandi Whittlesey of Spicewood as Toots; and Victoria Wren of Marble Falls as Esther,
The production team includes Mandi Whittlesey of Spicewood, Music Director; Jon Harshaw of Horseshoe Bay, Scenic and Lighting Designer, and Priscilla Castaneda of Marble Falls, Stage Manager.
Sequel To The Hit Musical ’1940’s Radio Hour’!
“A 1940’s Radio Christmas Carol” is the long-awaited sequel to the popular “1940’s Radio Hour.” The original is one of the most produced musicals in the United States with over eight-thousand different productions within the last twenty-five years. Playwright Walton Jones was a student at Yale in 1974, when he created The 1940’s Radio Hour. He then went on to a career in writing, directing and teaching, eventually taking over the theater division at Colorado State University. Due to enormous popular demand, he wrote a sequel to the hit show.
“Our audience members are in for a real holiday treat.” said Reily. “Once they walk into the theatre they will be transported back in time to an era of wonderful music, true patriotism, and good clean fun. We basically are producing a live radio show just as it would have been done on Christmas Eve, 1943.”
Praise has been overwhelming for “A 1940’s Radio Christmas Carol”. Reviewer David Doyle of EDGE Magazine, Boston, Massachusetts said, “A 1940’s Radio Christmas Carol” was just the thing I needed to stoke the holiday embers of my once-cold Christmas heart. If you’re in the mood for a sweet story, sparkling music, and a bit of nostalgia, go and see this gem before the chance of a little holiday-mood jumpstart passes you by.” Theatre critic John Moore of The Denver Post wrote, “…’A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol’ is a charming crowd-pleaser.” And finally reviewer Stacy Nick states this new offering is, “A reading that transforms Charles Dickens’s classic ...far above the usual holiday offerings.”
“Our last three musicals have been complete sell-outs, therefore reservations are highly recommended,” said Harshaw. “HCCT has benefited from growing public support, and we have been gaining momentum with every new production.”
Reily, who earned a BFA degree in Theatre from Ole Miss and an MFA from Northern Illinois, has over 50 directing credits to his name. The former Chicago resident was Artistic Director for The Retro Theatre. Some notable productions were the Midwest premiere of Robert Patrick’s “Hello Bob,” Clifford Odets’ “Waiting for Lefty” and the critically acclaimed “An Evening at the Caffe Cino,” in 1995.
He also has worked at other Chicagoland theatres, with onstage, designing and producing credits at The Remains, Northlight, Zebra Crossing, Café Voltaire, Urbis Orbis, The Chopin and The Athenaeum, as well as ten shows at HCCT. He is an Actor’s Equity Membership candidate.
Harshaw, who holds bachelor and master’s degrees in fine arts in technical theatre, and has had multiple careers in theatre, manpower management and computer software, also serves on the HCCT Board of Governors. He was an Entertainment Director and later a Music & Theatre Director in the U.S. Army.
Performances will be Thursday through Sunday, beginning with the Gala Opening Nov.29, and continue through Dec. 9. The curtain for evening shows is at 7:30 p.m.; for Sunday matinees at 2:15 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults and $9 for students age 16 and under.
Group rates also are available. Seating per show is limited to 147 persons. Reservations can be made at the box office (noon-4 p.m., Mon.-Fri.), 830-798-8944, beginning Nov. 9 for season members and Nov. 12 for the general public. An answering machine will also capture requests after hours. For more info or directions, visit www.theHCCT.org.
HCCT is one of the oldest continuously operating community theatres in Texas. During its 25+ years of providing live entertainment, its productions have drawn audiences totaling more than 100,000. It has received statewide recognition from the Texas Nonprofit Theatres organization as well as grants from various regional and national arts endowment organizations.