A warm day in the deep South, earlier this century. A robust matron, and her companions, gather in the parlor to calm a delicate young woman. Enter A Man, and their passions rise to the surface.
Tennessee Williams? No, Radio Gals, a down-home Arkansas slice of country-music theatre that played Off-Broadway in 1996 and now comes to Actors Theatre of Louisville, Apr. 7-May 31, opening Apr. 9.
The matron, Hazel C. Hunt (Evelyn Page) happens to run WGAL, a radio station serving Cedar Ridge, Arkansas in the 1920s. Hunt's idea of programming includes local gossip, plugs for her home-brewed, all purpose Horehound Compound, and healthy doses of The Hazelnuts, an all female troupe of singing musicians.
The man is O.B. Abbott (Bill Kocis), an inspector from the department of commerce (and a closet tenor), sent to shut them down for wavejumping, ie. unofficially altering their transmission frequency. Naturally, during the course of the show, he abandons his profession, takes up with a frail young woman, and his crooning is broadcast coast-to-coast.
That said, be assured the plot is merely the backdrop for a collection of tunes by Mike Carver and Mark Hardwick, the team responsible for Oil City Symphony. The eclectic combinations of instruments -- piano, ukelele, tuba, dishpan & spoons, the theremin -- are all played on stage by The Hazelnuts. Songs in Radio Gals include Buster, He's A Hot Dog Now, Faeries In My Mother's Garden, When It's Sweetpea Time In Georgia and Edna Jones,The Elephant Girl. Radio Gals also includes a song about "Kittens in the Snow" with a chorus of "meows," an Egyptian homage called "Queenie Take Me Home," and an ode to "A Fireside, a Pipe and a Pet"
Reflecting a contemporary sense of gender ambiguity, the roles of Miss Mabel Swindle and Miss Azilee Swindle are played, Mrs. Doubtfire style, by Guy Strobel and creator Craver. Also in the cast are Joy Franz, Jessica Wright, and Mary Ehlinger. Designing the show are Paul Owen (set), Delmar L. Rinehart Jr. (Costumes), Amy Appleyard (lighting) and Martin R. Desjardins (sound). Director Pamela Hunt previously staged Radio Gals in Rochester, NY.
For tickets and information on shows at the Actors Theatre of Louisville call (502) 585-1210.