Firehouse Radio Players
Sun, Aug 4 @ 7:30pm
$8 advance / $10 day of
Summer is winding down but the Firehouse Radio Players have one more performance before it's time to wrap up vacations and head back to school! Join us on Sunday, August 4th as our cast of versatile voice actors presents three "lost classics" from the Golden Age of Radio. These tongue-in-cheek tales feature hard-boiled detective drama, sudsy soap operatics, and outer space adventure, complete with live sound effects performed onstage and music by Free Jambalaya. Grab a seat in our studio audience and take another trip back to those thrilling days of yesteryear.
In this episode: Danger follows our favorite detective on vacation in Cliff Hanger, Private Eye. Then, we've got a prescription for romance in the daytime drama Paging Dr. Destiny. Finally, everyone's favorite space ranger returns on a rocket ride through the cosmos in The Thrilling Adventures of Captain Fremulon.
Directed by James Nygren
Written by Jack Mooney
Sound Effects by David Hightower
Music by Free Jambalaya
Who are we?
Firehouse Radio Players are a group of voice actors with a passion for radio and a wry sense of humor. A mix of Richmond theatre veterans and newcomers to the stage, the Players love the style and spirit of the Golden Age of Radio, the years between the 1930s and early 1960s when network radio brought comedy, music, mystery, and drama to listeners all over the country. With our shows, we hope to present a new slant on “old time radio,” with microphones at the ready and tongues firmly in cheek.
The troupe grew out of a 2014 performance of James Nygren’s “The Thrilling Adventures of Captain Fremulon,” the first-place winning script in the On the Air Radio Players (“OTARP”) scriptwriting contest. The show was a send-up of daring space heroes like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, and they focused on the most clueless hero in the cosmos saving the day thanks to his long-suffering first mate. James directed that production, which featured Joey Bishop, Harry Caufield, Matt Ferguson, Jana Frances-Fischer, Don Polaski, and Hannah Polaski. The show was very well-received, and soon people asked when and where they could hear more from Captain Fremulon. But more on that later…
In 2015, James’ script for “Cliff Hanger, Private Eye” finished second in the OTARP scriptwriting contest. Switching genres from sci-fi space opera to the gritty world of film noir, “Cliff Hanger” told the story of a hapless gumshoe tackling crazy cases with crazier clients. In the vein of Philip Marlowe, with a little bit of Maxwell Smart thrown into the mix, “Cliff Hanger” kept the audience at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen in stitches. “Captain Fremulon” alums Joey Bishop and Harry Caufield appeared in this production.
Also in 2015, James began to make plans to continue the adventures of Captain Fremulon as a podcast to be recorded and released online. The cast was excited at the prospect of more stories, and James and his friend Jack Mooney set about writing new scripts. Then, in May 2015, in a twist worthy of an old time radio serial, fate moved its huge hand.
A mutual friend connected James with Firehouse Theatre. Firehouse was interested in a recurring live radio show, and discussions began about new episodes of Captain Fremulon –not confined just to the realm of a podcast, but performed onstage at Firehouse. Word went out to the Fremulon cast to see if they wanted to get the band back together, and the response was a resounding “yes.” Thanks to some auditions in the
summer, our troupe grew to ten with the addition of three talented actresses.
And now, beginning September 22nd, the newly christened Firehouse Radio Players will present monthly new “old time radio” shows onstage at Richmond’s Firehouse Theatre. Our actors will play multiple parts, just by changing their voices, and the sound effects will be performed live right alongside the dialogue – just as they would have been during the Golden Age of Radio.
When audiences attend a show by the Firehouse Radio Players, they’ll take a behind the scenes trip at the “studio” of Public Broadcast Radio – PBR – for the station’s series PBR Radio Classics, presenting “lost” programs from the heyday of radio. Hosts Barley Hopper and Craig Tapper will introduce each program in between banter (and pledge drives).
Then we’ll turn back the dial to hear these “lost” shows, complete with music and commercials from the era. From Excelsior Cigarettes to Pb Lead Paint, audiences will hear pitches for products in the same over the top style of the days of old time radio. Each month’s performance will feature another episode from “The Thrilling Adventures of Captain Fremulon.” The Captain and his loyal crew (junior Space Ranger Petey; space dog Quasar; and Wendy, the resigned first mate and true brains of the bunch) will travel from one end of the galaxy to the other, doing battle with space pirates, discovering lost planets, and waging a never-ending battle against Captain Fremulon’s archenemy Dr. Nefarious.
The second regular feature will be a new mystery starring “Cliff Hanger, Private Eye.” The soft-boiled gumshoe will find new clients and cases knocking down his door every month, including an assignment as a bodyguard to a gorgeous singer, the hunt for a priceless statuette of a bird (not that one), and clearing a client who has been falsely accused of murder.
A rotating third show will round out the monthly performance, with more characters and genres from all over the radio dial. In between Cliff Hanger’s newest case and Captain Fremulon’s latest adventure, these are some of the shows audiences will hear:
“Paging Dr. Destiny” – The ongoing story of the handsome Dr. Destiny, and the nurse who pines for his affections over a tray of surgical instruments
“Buck Taciturn, US Marshal” – Keeping the frontier safe is a full-time job for this strong silent type Western lawman
“Tales of Madam Midnight” – Radio’s supreme sinister storyteller opens her tome of terror for spine-tingling stories
On October 30, as a Halloween treat, Firehouse Radio Players presents a recreation of “The War of the Worlds,” Orson Welles’ infamous radio dramatization of the classic science fiction novel.
All of these performances will play out to a soundtrack composed and provided by Starlet Knight, the mind behind the music of the original “Captain Fremulon” performance and a mainstay at Firehouse with her cabaret performances. Our actors will perform the sound effects with the support of Erinn Perry, our Foley guru and production wizard.
James Nygren will direct the shows, with scripts written by James and Jack Mooney.
Firehouse is an ideal setting for this type of performance; with the intimate setting, our actors can be on full display and the audience can get an up-close view of our Foley sound effect work in action. We’re excited to have Firehouse as our home and “studio” for this series of performances, and we can’t wait to see and hear our characters come to life on stage.