Oldcastle Theatre Company will present its fourth annual Holiday Variety Show in the style of radio programs of the 1930s through the 1950s Saturday December 16th at 7 p.m.
The show will feature excerpts from such classic radio comedies as “The Fred Allen Show”, “Duffy’s Tavern” and “Burns and Allen”, performed by Oldcastle actors including Gary Allan Poe, Willy Jones, Christine Decker, Peter Langstaff, Daryl Kenny, Tim Foley, Jody June Schade, Tom Ferguson, Vic Callirgos and others. There will also be a plethora of holiday music featuring company favorites such as Paul Romero, Cheryl Howard, Amy Hayes, Matt Edwards, and Richard Howe. Lynn Sweet will be pianist for the evening. Members of her Mt Anthony Union High School Chorus will perform and Ms. Sweet always sings a song of the season during the show.
“The Fred Allen Show” will be one of his special Christmas broadcasts, according to Eric Peterson, Oldcastle Producing Artistic Director. “Allen was one of the funniest, and most influential of the great radio comedians. Groucho Marx and Johnny Carson are just two of the many comics who learned from, and often stole from Allen. His program had a weekly feature in which Fred would stroll down Allen’s Alley meeting several eccentric folks including Parker Fennelly as stoic New Englander Titus Moody and Kenny Delmar as southerner Beauregard Claghorn who would leave the audience in stitches. The Christmas special focuses on a trip Santa Claus takes through the ages.
The “Duffy’s Tavern” series was one of the most popular radio sitcoms it takes place in small, highly unsuccessful bar presided over by manager Archie who is always working on a get rich quick scheme and whom was known for his romantic missteps. Archie was famous for metaphor-mixing and being malaprop-prone. “Duffy’s Tavern” premiered as a radio series in 1939 and ran on several networks for ten years. Among its roster of writers was Broadway playwright Abe Burrows who wrote the book for “Guys & Dolls.”
George Burns and Gracie Allen were one of the most popular comedic duos first on radio beginning in 1933 and then for many years on television. Oldcastle will be performing one of the most famous of teams’ programs, “Gracie Allen for President.” Burns wrote the act and when they began in vaudeville Gracie played straight to George but the audience kept laughing at her questions so Burns became the straight man and Gracie the airhead who somehow, despite everything always made sense, cockeyed sense but sense nevertheless.
The program has become a seasonal event that many in the community look forward to each year. “It’s an opportunity to get together hear traditional holiday songs, have some laughs and get a glimpse into the now bygone era of radio variety,” Peterson said. “Those not old enough to remember the glory days of radio may remember the television holiday specials by the likes of Perry Como, Dinah Shore, Andy Williams and others. Our show is both nostalgic and simply good, informal fun. I am particularly happy that the audience will get to hear Ms. Hayes, and Ms. Woods sing. Both have acted with us but not yet sung on our stage. Each has a long history with stage musicals. Ms. Hayes has recorded a number of CDs.”
Tickets for the show are $18.00, $12.00 for students and the money raised will help make Oldcastle’s 2018 season possible. For tickets or further information call 802-447-0564 or visit their website at: oldcastletheatre.org.