Want to step back in time to when the country was at war on two fronts in the 1940s?
That’s what you’ll get at the Zona Gale Theater with a family radio show based on Christmas Eve over 75 years ago.
“World War II Radio Christmas” opened last weekend with a series of three shows and will end this weekend with a trio of shows. The show is presented at the Zona Gale Theater at the Portage Center for the Arts and is presented by the Portage Area Community Theater with tickets available online.
Sheril Lannoye, production manager, said the cast includes 12 local actors, including Mike Powers and Terri Schider.
“The actors will be wearing period clothing and families will have to bring their children because there is a story to learn from the show,” Lannoye said.
“The show’s commercials are authentic to the era,” Lannoye said. “Stuff like Vaseline hair care products and ‘smoke Lucky’s.’ You know the old ads for Lucky cigarettes.
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Lannoye said Powers and Schider will play songs like “White Christmas” and other war songs.
The play was written by Pat Kruis Tellinghusen and published in 2013 and gives audiences the experience of a live radio broadcast in the 1940s on Christmas Eve during World War II.
Jim Helwig said in an email that the audience enjoyed the show.
“Audiences found the show both entertaining and moving with many real-life elements,” Helwig said. “The final ‘radio’ act is a touching letter from a mother to her son serving overseas and remembering her husband’s participation in the famous First World War Christmas truce.”
Lannoye said there was also humor in the show.
“War isn’t funny, but funny things happen in the production of a radio show,” Lannoye said. “Because that’s what a radio show is. The actors will stand in front of the audience during the show.
Lannoye has been with the theater group since 1988 and was happy to have the group reunited for the first time since March 2020.
“We had done the first weekend of shows and couldn’t hold the second weekend because of COVID,” Lannoye said. “We are very happy to be back in the theater in front of an audience.”