February 22, 2011 (New Orleans, LA) – Long before the iPhone, Facebook and flat screen TVs (or TVs at all!), Americans spent their evenings gathered around the family radio. The radio was their source for music, entertainment and much-anticipated news of the war that raged overseas. The Stage Door Canteen in The National WWII Museum will offer visitors a glimpse into the heydays of radio with the new production On the Air, debuting March 25, 2011.
Written by the Canteen’s Director of Entertainment, Victoria Reed, and award-winning actor, writer and director, Sean Patterson, On The Air is a rollicking rendition of a live radio broadcast on Mother’s Day, 1945, created especially for The Stage Door Canteen. The cast of five includes a singing W.A.C., a boisterous bandleader, and a blues singer who can belt out a torch song. The live band brings the era to life with a timeless musical score, comedy and more! It’s a trip back in time and guests will love coming along for the ride as the live studio audience at the imagined New Orleans radio station, WSDC.
Among the timeless songs featured in the show are The Trolley Song, Don’t Fence Me In, Blues in the Night, Mairzy Doats and Chattanooga Choo-Choo. The cast includes –
Carmen Barika (Dorothy Tompkins), a New Orleans native, was recently featured in UnMitigated Truth at the Algonquin Theatre in New York City and has appeared Off-Broadway as Lilli in Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death and as Queen Cesonia in Caligula starring Andre de Shields. She has also performed in Paris, Barcelona and Italy. A graduate of Benjamin Franklin and NOCCA, Carmen is very excited and honored to be back in New Orleans.
Troi Bechet (Melba Tompkins), also from New Orleans, has graced stages locally and nationally. She is best known for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Troi recently completed a tour of Swimming Upstream where she shared the stage with Phylicia Rashad. Swimming Upstream also marked Troi’s debut as a composer. She was most recently seen locally on Southern Rep’s stage in Steve Yockey’s Afterlife.
Courtney Boe (Betty Lou Fairchild) is no stranger to the Stage Door Canteen as a member of the Museum's
Victory Belles singing trio! She is also a character performer at Walt
Disney World in Orlando, FL. Courtney has studied dance at NOCCA and The
Metropolitan Dance Studio under the direction of Karen Hebert and has performed
on many local stages in the New Orleans metropolitan area.
Bob Edes, Jr. (Frank Dane) has been called one of the busiest actors in the New Orleans area with numerous awards to his credit, including Gambit's 2010 'Theater Person of the Year'. Some recent favorite productions would include I Am My Own Wife, The Producers, Valley of the Dolls and New Orleans Down the Hatch: A Cabaret in 2 Cocktails – a show he created and tours in. Bob can also be seen in the upcoming films Love, Wedding, Marriage and Varla Jean & the Mushroom Heads, as well as HBO's Treme and the web series Life on Bourbon.
Gary Rucker (Buddy Bordelon) received his MFA in Acting from The University of New Orleans, where he was a member of the Resident Acting Company. Recent roles include over a dozen characters in The 39 Steps and Freddy Benson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which he also directed. This summer, Gary will return for his 12th season with The Patchwork Players and his 9th season with The Louisiana Shakespeare Festival, both at Tulane. He serves as a Professor of Practice for Tulane University's Department of Theatre and Dance. Gary is a co-founder of Theatre 13.
Tickets are on sale now for On the Air at www.stagedoorcanteen.org. Performances include Friday and Saturday evenings with a dinner option by the American Sector, a Chef John Besh restaurant, and Sunday brunch matinees. On the Air runs through June 26, 2011. Call 504-529-1943 for more information.
The National World War II Museum in New Orleans tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National World War II Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.
Funding for On the Air is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.