Radio Theatre Puts New Spin on Classic

The Cedarville Opera House is hosting two non-traditional performances of “A Christmas Carol.” This production is like a live radio broadcast, said Clifford Fawcett, who plays the role of Jacob Marley.

In this production, there will be a minimal set, live music, no costumes, live sound effects and audience involvement. Both performances, as well as a few of the previous rehearsals, will be recorded and blended together into one full-length radio production that will be aired Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on Resound Radio, Fawcett said.

Director James Leightenheimer said the performances in the Opera House will last about an hour, but the edited radio version will be about half an hour.

“We’ll be taking the best parts of it, piecing it together, and airing it on Resound,” Leightenheimer said.

Since this production is a radio show more than a live play, the rehearsals have been less intense, said Cedarville student Laura Jean Cunningham, who plays the role of Scrooge’s sweetheart. Lines do not have to be memorized and the acting does not have to be perfect as long as the voices are believable.

“A Christmas Carol” involves Cedarville University faculty, staff and students and Cedarville community members. University staff in the production include Nat Biggs as the sound effects producer, Mark Spencer as Scrooge, Rebecca Baker as the Spirit of Christmas Past, and more.

Leightenheimer said one of the things he enjoys most about the production is the combination of university and townspeople.

“It’s always fun to work in the Opera House, and working with the Opera House Committee, they are a very committed and helpful group of people,” Leightenheimer said.

Leightenheimer said the Opera House has had a large part in the promotion and staging of this weekend’s two shows.

Other cast members said their involvement is largely due to Leightenheimer himself.

Fawcett said he had heard about Leightenheimer’s previous radio productions and really wanted to work with him. Now that he has, Fawcett describes his involvement as enjoyable.

“It’s nice to get to people you wouldn’t normally interact with,” Fawcett said. “Plus, it’s a diversion from your regular routine.”

Cast member Rebecca Baker said it’s great fun working with Leightenheimer as the director.

“He has a wonderful vision for bringing this classic story to the stage as a live on-the-air experience for the actors and audience,” she said.

Leightenheimer also said audience members will help record sound effects and Christmas carols before the show. Also, some audience members will be chosen to have a small part in the show itself.

“They’ll actually perform in the production,” Leightenheimer said. “We’ll bring Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ to light in a way that the audience hasn’t seen it done before.”

This radio production of “A Christmas Carol” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Cedarville Opera House.

Michael Shawn Carbaugh II is a freshman music composition major and arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He likes to write music in nearly every genre and enjoys listening to new genres as well.

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