Auditions open for ILCC musical, ‘The 1940’s Radio Hour’

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Actors sing during an Iowa Lakes Community College production of “Les Miserables.” Auditions for the college’s next musical “The 1940’s Radio Hour” will be conducted Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Room 35 at the Estherville campus. (Photo submitted)

ESTHERVILLE — Auditions are set for the Iowa Lakes Community College’s spring musical, “The 1940’s Radio Hour,” and everyone is invited to attend onstage, backstage or in the audience Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Room 35 at the Estherville campus.

Auditions are open to all Iowa Lakes students and members of the community. There are no children’s roles, but students in ninth grade or older may audition.

Rehearsals for the production begin Sunday, Jan. 21. Performances are scheduled for Thursday, March 22, Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24, all at 7 p.m. at the Iowa Lakes Community College Estherville Campus Gym.

This theatrical, award-winning show evokes a different America, when the world was at war and “pop music” meant "Strike Up the Band" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" — both are in this play.

The show portrays a live broadcast of “The Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade” from the Hotel Astor's Algonquin Room on Dec. 21, 1942, with all its behind-the-scenes drama. The harassed producer desperately copes with a drunk lead singer, the delivery boy wants a chance in front of the mic, the second banana dreams of singing a ballad, and the trumpet playing sound effects man chooses a fighter plane over Glenn Miller.

“We’re looking for over-the-top character development while retaining an innocence and ‘naïve’ persona that was indicative of the time,” said director Carol Ayres, professor of instrumental music/jazz band at Iowa Lakes. “One of our main focuses will be to keep the show as close to period as possible ... from costumes, to language, to music, to effect.”

No preregistration for auditions is required, and they are always open to the public and never precast. People of all races, creeds and cultures are encouraged to audition.

Those auditioning for roles should:

—Prepare at least 16 bars of a song that will showcase your vocal range and stylistic qualities of the 1940s. Bring the sheet music for our accompanist to play for you or CD if you need backing.

—Wear shoes appropriate for a dance “audition” with some test choreography, as some roles do require dancing.

—Bring a calendar.


List of characters

—Clifton Feddington (baritone): The announcer and general manager (head of everything at WOV). He has ulcers from it all and is sometimes hysterical.

—Ann Collier (alto): The “old standard” in the radio show since its start in 1936. She sings like Dinah Shore, Doris Day, and Peggy Lee (all rolled into one). She is a secretary by day, and a looker by night who is dating Johnny.

—Johnny Cantone (baritone): Featured vocalist with the Cavalcade who is on Sinatra’s bandwagon. He’s an ex-boxer and a rough guy who drinks too much and has a voice like velvet.

—Ginger Brooks (alto): A bubble-headed waitress-turned-singer. She has a pinup, Betty Grable look with lots of makeup and speaks with a Gracie Allen vacancy.

—Geneva Lee Browne (mezzo): The southern Belle of WOV got her start in music at age 17 performing in local swing ballrooms.

—Neal Tilden (baritone): Comic cab driver by day and singer, dancer, and choreographer at night. He is hopeful for the “featured vocalist” slot. Prat falls.

—B.J. Gibson (baritone): The third of the Gibson brothers to work for the Cavalcade. He is squeaky-clean, good looking, and a preppy student at Yale.

—Connie Miller (mezzo): A bobbysoxer from Ogden, Utah. She is constantly in love and runs an elevator by day.

—Pops Bailey: A crotchety, wrinkled stage doorkeeper who is a racing bookie on the company phone and reads hidden copies of “Show Girl” magazine. No singing.

—Lou Cohn: A big shot (at least in his own mind) who tries to impress the girls and is sometimes obnoxious. He runs the show. No singing.

—Wally Ferguson: Young hopeful from Altoona, Pennsylvania, who came to NYC to work for his uncle at the drugstore to get his big show-biz break.

—Biff Baker: A young trumpet player with the Zoot Doubleman orchestra who will be leaving after tonight’s radio broadcast for Army duty. Trumpet playing required.

—Stanley/Rosie: Lugs cable and runs around a lot and otherwise lives in the control booth. No singing.

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