RADIO GALS transports the audience


For a boy who grew up with an early love of radio, I am pleasantly pleased to announce that I was transported back to the infancy of AM radio in the 1920's with "Radio Gals" by Mike Craver and Mark Hardwick, a presentation of the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre at Ferrum College, directed by R. Rex Stephenson.

Casting was top notch, featuring Jody D. Brown playing the part of Hazel Hunt, the owner and head announcer of WGAL in Cedar Ridge, Arkansas. Keep in mind that radio in those days was truly live, and as expected, there is quite a cast of highly talented support personalities. There were the "Swindle Sisters," comprised of Bussy Gower, Susanna Allen and Mary Allison, with a perfect "testing one two three" in three part harmony. I wanted to hire them to do radio shouts for me at WZBB! Others included America, played by Kayla Kennedy, and Rennabelle by Rachel K. Blankenship. Let's not forget Gladys Fritts, portrayed by Emily Rose Tucker. Other Radio Gals cast included Richard Jordan Estose, and Ruth Trochim as Winifred Snodgrass and Runnabout respectively.

The breathtaking performances represented what I would have expected in much larger venues. There were multi-talented, playing instruments with absolute skill. Unbelievable vocal harmony, tight scripting and powerful acting really stood out with everyone.

Imagine radio in the late 1920s at a time when that medium was just becoming part of American culture. RADIO GALS creatively represents the best of radio in its day with performances that make you feel like you are the radio audience via the scripted 1920s Western Electric 500 watt transmitter.

As one who is also into broadcast engineering, I especially loved the visit by O.B. Abbott, played by Nate Buursma, who is the broadcast field inspector sent by Herbert Hoover of the Commerce Department (before the FCC). He was hell bent on shutting down WGAL! No transmitter logs, no engineer and "wave jumping!" By the way, that's not about boats, I can promise you that. He really got himself worked up over all those serious violations by station owner Hazel Hunt!

It was Emily Rose Tucker to the rescue. As Gladys Fritts, she falls in love with our dear inspector while the other fabulous cast of characters work to convince him to come out of his shell and be a performer, which he actually did quite well, thank you! All it took was a lamp-shade over the microphone to ease his fears and he was hooked, and WGAL was OFF the hook!

"Radio Gals" at the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre is a brilliant portrayal of early radio broadcasting with outstanding vocal performances, superb acting, plus, it's impeccably directed with never a boring moment. You don't need to be in radio to experience "Radio Gals" at the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre in Ferrum. It's perfect entertainment for the entire family. I'm Captain Tom Conroy, Super Country 99.9, and that's my take!