Radio players resurrect ‘Henry Aldrich’

Advent Players make room for studio audience

Posted 4/17/18

A local troupe will resurrect an old radio play for a Westminster audience, retelling the classic story of a guy, his best friend and a night when everything goes wrong. The Advent Radio Players will …

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Radio players resurrect ‘Henry Aldrich’

Advent Players make room for studio audience

Posted

A local troupe will resurrect an old radio play for a Westminster audience, retelling the classic story of a guy, his best friend and a night when everything goes wrong.

The Advent Radio Players will present the radio play comedy “Henry Takes Gladys to the School Play” based on the Aldrich Family Radio series, a popular teenage situation comedy that played on radio networks between 1939 and 1953. It was followed by a series of movies and television programs on the CBS network.

“It was basically a young man and his family and the incidents he gets himself into,” Director Everett Brailey said. “The first part will be about the program himself so the audience can get some idea of the things he gets himself into. And then we’ll do the play.”

Their performance is scheduled for 2 p.m. April 22 at the Advent Lutheran Church, 7979 Meade St. in Westminster.

The radio players use original scripts along with replica microphones and sound effects from original programs just as they were heard on the radio. The play is performed like a live radio show including lighted applause and on the air signs.

“What we do is try and recreate a radio studio,” Brailey said. “We do a touch of costuming just to help give the flavor.”

The Aldrich Family series often told the story of teenager Henry Aldrich, his best friend Homer and his girlfriend Gladys. The play tells the tale of Henry’s first date with Gladys.

“It’s a humorous thing,” Brailey said “She forgets her purse and he has to try and get it. And the problems all grow from there.”

It first aired in April 1949.

Since 2012, members have been recreating the feel of old time radio shows with various presentations beginning with a show featuring the 12 disciples giving presentations during the Lenten season.

Brailey said the troop usually puts on shows twice each year, a Christmas play and a springtime show. They presented “Miracle on 34th Street” last December and are still talking about what they’ll do this Christmas.

The spring play can range from styles. Brailey has been involved for several years. Past productions have included “The Great Gildersleeve,” a situation comedy radio show produced in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as radio-style shows like “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “Fibber McGee and Molly” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Brailey said the show is somewhat interactive, and there will be an introduction to explain the format. The show is complete with “ON AIR” and “APPLAUSE” signs.

“The audience becomes what you’d call the ‘studio audience’,” Brailey said. “We have the signs and lights and we go through an actual radio production. It’s a blast to watch.”

The radio-style of the show also affords versatility to create through suggestion and sound what they wouldn’t be able to create a stage play.

“We have people that have been doing these radio plays for six year and they are all fantastic,” Brailey said.

They try to keep as much like a radio broadcast as possible, but make concessions when they must.

“We don’t have an orchestra, so we use a computer to play music between scenes,” Brailey said.

Donations are of $7 are appreciated. In the past, it has helped pay for things like a motorized chair to go up and down stairs in the church. However, no one will be turned away who cannot pay.

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