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Commonweal theatre company presents: The 1940's radio hour

Tue, Nov 10th, 2009
Posted in Arts & Culture

The Commonweal Theatre Company presents The 1940's Radio Hour by Walton Jones, November 27 - December 20, with previews beginning on November 20. This musical celebration of the holidays follows the "behind-the-scenes" craziness of a New York radio station broadcasting their special show during the Christmas season of 1942.

First produced by the Commonweal in 2002, The 1940's Radio Hour takes you inside the New York studio of station WOV run by Clifton Feddington, played by Commonweal Resident Artist David Hennessey - recently seen on stage in Man of La Mancha and The Rainmaker. Cliff has the unenviable duty of getting his show on the air, on time, while keeping his three stars happy - Johnny "The Tone" Cantone (Eric Bunge - Harvey, Man of La Mancha, The Odd Couple), Ann Collier (Stela Burdt - A Midnight Dreary, Man of La Mancha) and Neal Tilden (Sheldon Rogers - A Midnight Dreary, The Odd Couple).

Managing the real-life madness of directing this show is Carl Lindberg. A member of the apprentice class at Commonweal for 2009-10, Carl earned his MFA in directing from Western Illinois University, and Lanesboro audiences have seen his work as assistant director on A Midnight Dreary and onstage himself as Noah in The Rainmaker. "This play is exciting," he says, "because while nowadays we have many different mediums through which we can isolate ourselves for news and relaxation, I'm reminded that the theatre is still a place where actors and audience together can share an experience together as one, a family."

The ensemble for The 1940's Radio Hour also includes Stan Peal (A Midnight Dreary, Ice Maidens), Troy Iverson (The Odd Couple, Man of La Mancha), Stef Dickens (A Midnight Dreary, Hedda Gabler), Irene ErkenBrack (The Odd Couple, Peer Gynt), and Tim Sailer (The Rainmaker).

Musical direction for the show is done by Stela Burdt with Luther College graduate and Commonweal apprentice Andy Bakehouse serving as stage manager. Jason Underferth, Commonweal's production manager is the lighting designer and co-set designer with Eric Bunge. Additional elements of The 1940's Radio Hour are designed by Stan Peal (sound), and Jason Lee Resler (costumes).

There will be preview performances on November 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m., and November 22 and 27 at 1:30 p.m. followed by a post-performance discussion with the cast and director.

The Commonweal Theatre Company is again committed to making the holidays a little brighter for the children at the Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital in Rochester.

Commonweal also wants to show their gratitude to those who have served our country at the highest level of sacrifice and commitment. On Sunday, December 6, all veterans and active servicemen and women are invited to wear their uniforms* and receive free admission for the 1:30 pm matinee performance. After the show, all audience members are welcome to stay for Commonweal's Sunday Salon event, featuring guest speakers Orval and Marie Ahmdahl. Married for 67 years, these Lanesboro residents will share their personal reflections on World War II and the clever ways they stayed in touch while separated by an ocean. *Uniform encouraged but not required - please bring military ID.

All performances are in the new Commonweal Theatre, 208 Parkway Avenue North in downtown Lanesboro. Tickets are available at 800-657-7025 or 507-467-2525 or by email at For more information and online reservations, visit

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