In our own time, our nation has plenty weighing on its mind, like the fact that we're in a war the government can't explain. It's a cultural climate that makes one yearn for the good ol' '40s when we were in a war more easily justified.
The 1940's Radio Hour, the REP's newest production at the Fine Arts Center, offers a window into that bygone era. The musical performance brings back the historic cast of the weekly WOV broadcast variety show, The Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade, who aimed to boost soldiers' morale while entertaining the nation.
The audience will witness the cast perform an actual radio show that took place on Dec. 21, 1942. The original broadcast aired from the Algonquin Room at the Astor Hotel in New York City's Times Square, when the country's involvement in World War II weighed heavy on the populace's minds.
"It's a lot like Letterman," explains artistic director Alan Osburn. "As a studio audience member, you get to see things that nobody else gets to see."
True to studio form, the performers prepare for the show as the audience members take their seats. The REP theater orchestra will perform songs like "Ain't She Sweet," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," and "Strike Up the Band." Their contribution to 1940's Radio Hour is crucial to the show's precisely timed dance numbers.
Performers "sign in, they get in costume, they have to do last-minute prep, all within a half hour, which is actually the way the theater works.
"It's truly an ensemble cast," says Osburn. "Everyone's onstage the whole time, including the orchestra."
1940's Radio Hour
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St.
Friday, Nov. 17 through Dec. 10; Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m.
Tickets: $26-$30; call 634-5583 or visit csfineartscenter.org for tickets and more information.