Good Humor presents show on stage and on radio
Good Humor Radio Players will explore the mean streets of Cleveland with its next production, and audiences can enjoy it live or listen on the radio.
“L’Amour Noir” will include four short plays presented as radio theater. Actors deliver their lines into a microphone, and foley artists and musicians provide the sound effects and accompaniment to create theater of the mind.
It’s a form of entertainment that dominated radio before the rise of television, and there are theater companies around the world that are keeping the art form alive.
If anything, it’s enjoying a resurgence with dramatic podcasts like “Homecoming,” which was the inspiration for the recent Amazon Prime series of the same name starring Julia Roberts.
Fred Owens, a professor in the communications department at Youngstown State University, founded the Good Humor Radio Players, and he said its performances add a level of excitement that can’t be matched by a podcast.
“We do everything live,” he said. “When it’s live, it has to be right the first and only time. We’ve staked out a set of competencies, a set of standards that create a level of excitement that goes beyond a podcast or a talking book.”
Three of the four works presented next week were written by Eric Coble, who was a resident playwright in Cleveland and created “10 Minutes from Cleveland,” 10, 10-minute plays all set within 10 minutes of the North Coast city.
“Pepperonis” is about the complicated life of mob boss Tony Pepperoni. “West Side Market” is the story of a family pierogi business trying to adjust its product for more health-conscious customers. And “Cleveland Clinic” is the story of a doctor who is losing her patience because of her difficult patients.
The fourth tale “Blues for Johnny Raven, an Audio Noir” was written by Thomas E. Fuller.
“Unfortunately, he’s no longer with us,” Owens said. “He was active with the Atlanta radio community theater group and a widely published author. I contacted his family and got the permission to do this script.”
Randall Brammer will direct the production. Alyssa Connelly will serve as emcee for the show, and the cast features Meredith Pallo, Ron Schoch, David Robich, John Cox, Douglas Campbell, Vince Siciliano, Allie Marker, William Ploskodniak, Steve Hodge, Lynae Imasa, Michael Hill, Robert K. Ellway. Brenda Zyvith, Drew Schinbeckler, David Leach, Glenn Stevens and Zander Markman.
Sound effects will be created by Michael Houy, Emily Karr, Lewis Schaft, Imasa, Pallo and Schinbeckler, and music will be provided by Aaron Graneto, Ian Kinnamam and Jenna Provino.
The number of people who turn out for auditions continues to grow for Good Humor.
“It doesn’t require the physicality that traditional theater might require,” Owens said. “We don’t have costumes or tell them how to walk, how to stand … It’s a short and intense rehearsal schedule. It’s not a big (time) commitment, but it is live and probably to a bigger audience.”
Two performances are scheduled at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday Butler North, next to the Butler Institute of American Art. Tuesday’s performance also will be broadcast live on WKBN (570 AM). Owens had some connections to make the broadcast happen.
“Most of the people who work there are my former students.”