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Radio plays return to Delray Beach's Arts Garage

Staff Writer

Starting Thursday night, radio and theater will get a mash-up at Arts Garage.

The Arts Garage Radio Theatre series will once again be staged through a partnership between Arts Radio Network and the Delray Beach performance space. The 2014-15 season opens Thursday and Friday with “The Philadelphia Story,” a comedy made famous by Katharine Hepburn on stage and screen (and later remade as the movie musical “High Society,” with Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby).

“We’re going from four to six shows this year,” says John Watts, executive director of the Boynton Beach-based and the producer of the series. “Last year, I was giving four shows one-day runs. By the end of the year, we moved to two-day runs because we were turning people away. We really look at it as a one-hour program, and you can bring food and drinks. It’s a cabaret-like style. This year, we’ve also got Copeland Davis playing every night as walk-in music.”

In the shows, stories from the heyday of radio will be performed live with actors, who have scripts in their hands as they step up to the microphone. Supporting them is an “orchestra of sound effects,” also visible onstage.

“John has a warehouse full of the materials needed for the sound effects,” explains Lou Tyrrell, artistic director of Theatre at Arts Garage. “He has car doors and [room] doors, boxes of gravel and sand and other materials so footsteps can be reflected. Gunshots are what they are, of course, but he has this glass box that actually creates the sound of a screeching tire. He always says, ‘Lou, you deal with the characters and the relationships and just give me the sounds.’ It’s a great partnership in that way.”

The season will continue with “Dracula” Oct. 22-23; “It’s a Wonderful Life” Dec. 17-19; “Rebecca” Feb. 11-12; “You Can’t Take It With You” April 8-9; and “The Thin Man” May 27-28.

“We’re building a group of actors, [because] radio theater is very different from traditional theater,” explains Watts. “You have to act through that microphone. If you don’t have a good actor who is selling that story, everything else falls apart. We’re lucky there are so many great actors in South Florida.”

“The Philadelphia Story” will begin 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Arts Garage, 180 NE First St., in Delray Beach. Tickets cost $15 for general admission, $20 for reserved seats and $25 for premium seats; $108 reserved table for six; $135 premium table for six. Call 561-450-6357 or go to

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