"Staged" by Firestone Akron School for the Arts

Virtual War of the Worlds Radio Drama
Posted on 01/07/2021
Image of War of the Worlds Radio Script(Kathleen Collins for Akron.com/West Side Leader)

Firestone Theatre at Firestone Community Learning Center will present the live radio play, “The War of the Worlds: The 1938 Radio Script,” for on-demand streaming Jan. 22-24.

According to Firestone Theatre Director Mark Zimmerman, the production will be recorded with adherence to the original script, including students playing multiple roles and the inclusion of sound effects and old-fashioned storytelling.

Zimmerman said the classic science-fiction radio drama, “The War of the Worlds,” was written by Howard Koch, co-writer of “Casablanca,” and based on the 1897 novel by H.G. Wells. “The War of the Worlds” was used as a Halloween eve program directed and narrated by Orson Welles and broadcast from New York’s Mercury Theatre in 1938. The broadcast had many terrified listeners convinced that an actual alien invasion of Earth was taking place in the area of Grover’s Mill, New Jersey.

“This is a radio play, so the patron should expect a little bit of the old-time feeling of gathering around the radio to listen to entertainment and dramatic presentations,” he said. “There will be a degree of visual presentation during the show, but this is only to support the story that is being told — not to be the story. Instead, the patron will have to listen to the show the way a person would listen to it in 1938.”

Zimmerman said this is the first time the theater has presented “The War of the Worlds,” which is the third online show this school year.

“There has been a learning curve online, but we are starting to get a hang [of] it,” he said. “Our school is 100 percent virtual, so students are getting accustomed to working on the computer, although they would really prefer to be in person for class and for shows. We have not met in person so far this year, and the kids really miss it. They would like to be doing shows in person like athletics are able to practice and compete in person.”

Firestone’s production will be led by senior Alison Lohr (in multiple roles), as well as juniors Shomari Bryant (observer), Brandon Drone (multiple roles), Alix Hernandez (Carl Phillips), Peter Kolodziej (Professor Pierson), Jada-Lyn Pledger (multiple roles) and Adin Merritt (Commander Voght). Other cast members include sophomore Kylee Groves (Announcer 2) and freshmen Trevor Boss (multiple roles), Alaina Tennant (multiple roles) and Arianna Campbell (multiple roles).

The production, which is directed by Zimmerman, also includes juniors Adin Merritt and Brandon Drone as sound designers and junior eMJay Ross as visual designer.

Tickets cost $7 plus any streaming fees. For tickets and more show information, visit firestonetheatre.com.
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