With changing commercial spots, a game show segment, five rotating detective episodes, applause signs and sound effects, Death Wore Elevator Shoes is practically a live radio show. Without the radio.
"We've gone really far to make this real," says Pueblo-based actor, director and playwright Cory Moosman, referencing his radio-show theater spoof. "You're seeing this world-inside-a-world type thing."
In creating this world, Moosman has gone as far as creating a Web site (rickluger.com) that nods to the golden age of radio. An old-timey flier promotes WYNOT Radio Theatre's "next case" — a Death Wore ... performance that will unfold at Five Star Decor.
In it, six actors will embody the "metacharacters," the radio station employees who read the fake commercials and play all of the characters in the 1930s- and '40s-era radio show. Moosman plays Hal Van Patten, an old-fashioned radio man who plays Rick Luger in WYNOT's detective mystery. Throughout the show, the six use more than 200 props and become 87 characters. (For the benefit of the theater audience, each character gets a unique costume.)
As complex as this is, the set, by contrast, is quite simple. Before the show, the cast hauls in the sound equipment and costumes, then sets up a few tables and a music stand for each actor. All they need from the host venue are lights up and lights down, Moosman says.
Star Bar Players is bringing the part-time theater troupe to the Springs for the first time, though Moosman himself is a regular on Springs stages. Moosman and Co. have performed the show many times and in many reincarnations since 2001, mostly at conferences and private events, though they performed at last year's Boulder International Fringe Festival.
"There's no road map for it," Moosman says of marketing and touring his script. "It's not a band, it's not a traditional theater piece ... a musical or well-known play has that selling point."
With its multi-layer format, it's also difficult to explain to people. But Moosman says he always sees that "aha moment" when the audience gets the concept.
"I guarantee they'll laugh their tails off," he says. "If they don't, they have no soul."