Halloween has barely come and gone, but Marietta, Georgia's Theatre in the Square is already mounting its holiday productions: The Sanders Family Christmas and the 20th annual running of The 1940's Radio Hour, both set during World War II. Christmas begins Nov. 6 for a run through Dec. 30 on the Alley Stage, while Radio Hour plays Nov. 20 Jan. 6 on the Mainstage.
Sanders Family Christmas is the sequel to the popular Smoke on the Mountain, which features a rural gospel-singing Baptist family in wartime North Carolina. They are loving father Burl, the Bible-quoting mother Vera, Army-bound twin brother Dennis and his star-struck twin sister Denise, the former black sheep and cowboy Stanley, the non-singing June and Reverend Mervin Oglethorpe, head of the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.
Mike Beecham directs. Reprising their roles from last year's production are John P. Peterson (Burl), Karen Howell (Vera) and Suzanne Roush (June). New to the cast are Shaun Whitley (Dennis), Kevin Griffin (Stanley) and Randall Taylor (Oglethorpe).
Set at the live broadcast of "The Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade," The 1940's Radio Hour gives a backstage look at radio production in 1941, when the war was heating up in Europe and everyone knows someone in the armed services. While the show's young trumpet player readies himself for war, the torchy jingle singer waits tables and a young delivery boy hangs out at the station with hopes for stardom, Clifton A. Feddington, the band leader, announcer and general manager tries to keep the show running. Songs in the score include classic favorites "Chattanooga Choo Choo," "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" "That Old Black Magic" "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B" and the Duke Ellington tune "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good."
Tickets are $30-$17. The Theatre in the Square is located at 11 Whitlock Avenue. For reservations, call (770) 422-8369. Theatre in the Square is on the web at http://www.theatreinthesquare.com. — By Christine Ehren