A Trio of Radio Shows – July 2011

A Trio of Radio Shows

‘A TRIO OF RADIO PLAYS’ – From left to right ‘RICHARD DIAMOND’: John Perak as Diamond, Kate Jacobs as Helen; ‘SORRY, WRONG NUMBER’: Barbara Rush as Mrs. Stevenson, Ominous Shadow as self; ‘EASY ACES’: Ann Guenther as Jane Ace, Bob Powell as Goodman Ace.

Prepare to be transported back in time—back to a time when radio was king, television was just a blip on the horizon, and computers were simply adding machines, as The Old Pros presents  “A Trio of Radio Shows” on July 8th, 9th & 10th on the Main Stage at CH 3.

Your guides on this journey will be 34 actors, 3 directors, 1 producer, 3 sound artists, 5 techs, 2 publicists, 3 costumers, 1 makeup/hair stylist, 10 staff assistants, and 11 front of house people. Among these are the celebrated actress of stage/screen/television/radio, Ms. Barbara Rush and professional Hollywood Sound Man, Johnny Leveque.
The time: the 1940‘s. The place: a radio studio with you as its live audience. On stage: the sound of radio. For if radio was king, then sound was its kingdom–voices, music, sound effects–stimulating the listener‘s imagination to see a world right before their ears.
Sound effects creator Johnny Leveque‘s impressive 45 year work in sound includes: four time American Academy Award nominee, winner of two British Academy Awards, sound work in  “The Fugitive,” “Under Siege,” “Clear and Present Danger,” various “Batman” films.

Sound effects for each Old Pros show include: For “Richard Diamond”: gunshots, sirens, fight sounds, etc. needed for a detective show. For  “Easy Aces”: use of judge‘s gavel to help create his character. Most extensive use of sound is in “Sorry, Wrong Number,” where sound cues are used to heighten the drama and the telephone, according to the play‘s author Louise Fletcher, is the chief protagonist.

Actress Barbara Rush grew up with radio and has fond memories of “Fred Allen, “Lum & Abner,” “Fibber McGee & Molly,” “Easy Aces” and  “Jack Benny.” ―Radio was a family thing. We all sat around an old-fashioned radio set and listened together. There were such wonderful voices like Don Wilson, Jack Benny‘s announcer. For the actor, radio was it – TV was still very primitive.

Barbara has had an exciting and prolific career in films such as “Magnificent Obsession,” “Bigger Than Life,” “The Young Philadelphians,” “The Bramble Bush,” “The Young Lions” and on Broadway (her one-woman show “A Woman of Independent Means” – performed on our stage several years ago) and on television. Before that, as a young actress, she starred opposite Claudette Colbert in the radio play, “Thunder on the Hill” and did several radio plays with then husband Jeffrey Hunter as part of the Family Theatre series.

What is it like for cast members of “Sorry, Wrong Number” to work with an actress of Barbara Rush‘s stature? They feel quite fortunate. Moved by her powerful portrayal at first rehearsal, they broke out into spontaneous applause and have been energized by the example of this 84-year-old ever since. Her “stature” is never in evidence. She is genuine, kind and treats everyone as she requested to be treated—like “one of the cast.” Director Ellen Van Houten calls her a “director‘s dream.” ―People are going to be blown away by her performance.

When asked about her experience working in Sorry, Wrong Number, Barbara said, “The part of Mrs. Stevenson is a challenge and I always love a challenge. It‘s scary and wonderful at the same time. The people here are marvelous to work with. The fine voices of Ed Hayes and Nita Cowger remind me of the great radio voices.” She has also been heard to make complimentary remarks about her director.

The inspiration for the whole radio project is the story of a young boy‘s dream. He was an only child and had no playmates, except for his favorite radio shows – Green Hornet, Smilin‘ Ed McConnell, Jack Armstrong, Lone Ranger, Gangbusters – in which he used his imagination to become part of the story and acted all the parts.

This love of radio became part of his motivation for acting that later became John Perak‘s career. “Kids today don‘t have that same opportunity. In TV, characters are defined for you. It‘s not the same as characters created in your mind. The Lone Ranger looked like I wanted him to look. That‘s why I love radio. I also love the atmosphere that can be created by sound. Radio is a magical place to go to.”

Asked why he has such a passion for bringing radio to LWV audiences, John said, “I want to bring back to them the experience of theatre of the imagination—to bring an old art to new people. I enjoy entertaining people, and radio as Theatre of the Mind is intriguing.”

A Trio of Radio Plays consists of Richard Diamond: The No-One-Was-Murdered Case, directed by David Dearing; Easy Aces: Jane Serves on a Jury, directed by John Perak; Suspense: Sorry, Wrong Number, directed by Ellen Van Houten.

It performs on Friday, July 8th, at 7:00 pm; Saturday, July 9th, at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm; Sunday, July 10th, at 2:00 pm. Reserved seat tickets are $12 orchestra, $10 balcony, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit The Foundation of Laguna Woods Village. Tickets are now on sale at the Clubhouse 3 Box office. For further information, call 940-9265.

A Trio of Radio Shows

Famed actress Barbara Rush stars in Sorry, Wrong Number, which together with Richard Diamond and Easy Aces make up A Trio of Radio Plays to be presented by The Old Pros on

Friday, July 8th, at 7 pm
Saturday, July 9th, at 2 pm and 7 pm
Sunday, July 10th, at 2 pm

Presented as a radio show would have been in the 1940’s, with live audience and sound effects created live on stage, the plays offer a fascinating look back at the golden age of radio, where voice, music and sound effects rendered the reality, making plays come alive to families gathered around a receiver without pictures.

Tickets are now on sale at the Clubhouse 3 Box Office.
Reserved seats are $10 for the balcony and $12 for the orchestra.

Barbara Rush with sound man Johnny Leveque in rehearsal for “Sorry, Wrong Number.” Photo by Lou Behrmann

Barbara Rush Joins The Old Pros Radio Show

Celebrated actress of stage/screen/radio/television, Barbara Rush, returns to the Clubhouse 3 stage to perform with The Old Pros Radio Repertory Theatre as it presents a trio of radio plays on July 8th through July 10th. Rush’s previous appearance here—her highly successful one-woman show, ‘A Woman of Independent Means’—played to a packed audience and garnered proceeds that were donated by her to the Laguna Woods Village Foundation. A Village resident and Old Pros member, she was delighted to learn that since it is The Old Pros main charity, The Foundation would be the recipient of a portion of the proceeds from this performance as well.

Barbara Rush

Barbara Rush stars in ‘Sorry, Wrong Number,’ directed by Ellen Van Houten. A part of the ‘Suspense’ series, this play is an edge-of-the-seat story of an invalid woman who, having overheard a planned murder on the telephone, tries desperately to get some help for the unknown intended victim before it is too late.

Easy Aces,’ directed by John Perak, is a situation radio comedy built upon Goodman Ace who played an urbane put-upon realtor and his malapropism prone wife Jane. Their conversational, clever style and cheerful absurdist humor built a loyal audience of listeners to keep the show on the air from 1930 to 1945.

Richard Diamond: Private Detective,’ directed by David Dearing, features ‘The No One Was Murdered Case,’ in classic 1940’s tongue-in-cheek, detective noir style. Diamond is sophisticated and tough, a seeming contradiction but with Diamond it works. His followers can always count on his being shot at, hit on the head, or otherwise maligned by those he seeks to bring to justice.

An interesting aspect of radio is that it doesn’t depend on visual stimulation. This realization has motivated The Old Pros to reach out to its blind and visually impaired neighbors and be of special service by offering them a show in which they can ‘see’ as well as anyone in the audience. Radio stimulates everyone’s imagination and its richness can be experienced by all.

The Old Pros Radio Show performs at
Clubhouse 3 Main Stage on
Friday, July 8th at 7:00 pm;
Saturday, July 9th at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm;
Sunday, July 10th at 2:00 pm.


Directors of The Old Pros Radio Show

David Dearing, Ellen Van Houten, John Perak