Turn your radio dial way back a mere seven decades or so to enjoy the current musical offering by Landmark Community Theatre just in time for the holidays. The charming, quaint and historic Thomaston Opera House is prepared to recreate the final holiday broadcast of the Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade of Radio Station WOV in New York in December 1942. You're invited to take a front row seat until Sunday, December 13 to witness the chaos and comedy as the trusty cast and orchestra prepare for the "On Air" sign to light up.
While Pops (Jeff Savage) mans the phones and the mop, paying more attention to his horse racing bets and card games than the upcoming performance, station manager Cliff Feddington (Allen Marko) is alternately exploding and cajoling his tardy stars to get on their marks for the big finale event.
Everyone is anxious to perform, including the drug store delivery boy Wally (Nolan Cummings) and wannabe star Neal (Frank Beaudry), who both want to join the established stars like Johnny Cantone (Robert Saunders) who just might be heading off to Hollywood with a martini in his hand, while Biff (Justin Normandin) has done his patriotic duty and is soon off to war.
Great tunes like "Daddy," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Aint She Sweet," "How About You?" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" are brought to sparkling life under the musical direction of Zoot Doubleman (Jim Luurtsema) by an energetic cast of Becky Sawicki, Alexa Campagna, Betsy Ingraham, Carletha Hawley and Michael Newman. Steve Sorriero does double duty as Cliff's assistant and master of the sound effects, a necessary addition to any radio broadcast.
Dan Checovetes directs this nostalgic salute to patriotism, mom and mincemeat pie. For tickets ($24, senior and students $20), call 860-283-6250 or online at www.landmarkcommunitytheatre.org for performances at the Thomaston Opera House, 158 Main Street, Thomaston. Performances are Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Watch for "Frosty the Snowman" to dance in December 19 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and December 20 at 1 p.m., with tickets $10.
A special added treat opening night was a tribute to 23 year volunteer Juan Cardona who has been playing the Opera House's famed 1926 Marr-Colton Theatre Pipe Organ since 1993 during the run of "Guys and Dolls." Cardona has loved the organ since he first heard it played at age 5 and with the help of the CT Valley Theatre Organ Society for maintenance issues he has played suitable accompaniments for almost every subsequent show on this "King of Instruments" utilizing drums, cymbals, bells and a piano, as if he has a full orchestra at his command. He looks forward to continuing this fine musical tradition on this historic pipe organ at the 1884 Thomaston Opera House for many years to come, his "second home." Juan, play on!