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CCHS radio play to be available online Wednesday, broadcast on KCHA Saturday

CCHS radio play to be available online Wednesday, broadcast on KCHA Saturday
Griffin Franksain and Anders Haglund rehearse for “The North Cedar Old Tyme Radio Revue,” CCHS’s fall drama production, back in October. The play, which was cancelled due to a CIOVID-19 outbreak, will be available online Wednesday and will be broadcast on Saturday on KCHA radio. (Press file photo James Grob.)
By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

After a long wait, the public will finally get the opportunity to see and hear Charles City High School’s fall drama production this week.

Video of “The North Cedar Old Tyme Radio Revue” will be available on the Charles City School District’s website and Facebook Page starting Wednesday, as well as on the CCHS Speech and Drama Facebook Page. The show will also be broadcast on KCHA radio on Saturday, Dec. 26, starting at 2 p.m..

Director Michelle Grob said it’s an opportunity for families to grab some hot cocoa and enjoy some local entertainment over Christmas break.

“As the director, I am hoping that the public will take the time to experience the show in both formats,” Grob said. “I hope people will experience it as a radio show, but also watch it online so they can see the kids performing.”

The program for the show, which was assembled by the Charles City Press, is also available online at https://online.flippingbook.com/view/297757/. This will allow viewers and listeners to follow along with the show and also read bios of all the actors and musicians.

Grob said the show is about an hour and 20 minutes long.

The show is on old-style replication of a live radio program, and will include five comedy radio plays written by Broadway playwright Eric Coble. Local live radio commercial parodies featuring local businesses and other transitional material was written by local writer James Grob.

The show also features music by the CCHS vocal ensemble “Rhymes With Orange.” The initial production was also going to include a Bluegrass band, but that idea was scrapped.

The cast, crew and musical groups had worked on the show through the months of September and October, and the production was set to open on Friday, Oct. 30 at North Grand Auditorium. At about 3 p.m. that afternoon, however, Michelle Grob learned that one of the musicians had tested positive for COVID-19.

The information was immediately brought to school administration, and due to procedures already in place, it was determined that the show could not go on that weekend.

“It was so disappointing for the kids, because they had put in all the work and were just a few hours from opening the show,” Grob said. “They were ready to go on.”

Within a few days, Grob tested positive for COVID-19, as did musical director Derek Sturtevant and assistant director Erika DeBruyn. Grob said that at least five students involved with the play also tested positive, and all had to quarantine.

“It was a situation that just widened,” Grob said. “It was fortunate that the entire cast and crew of more than 30 students didn’t have to quarantine, because most of the cast masked, most of the cast kept social distance during rehearsals.”

With all three directors sick and out of commission for more than two weeks, the play was put on pause.

Grob and Sturtevant finally sat down late last month and decided to put together the radio play without an audience. They shot video and audio recordings of the play the week after Thanksgiving.

Typically, CCHS presents a musical in the fall and a play in the spring. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Grob and Sturtevant decided to flip that around, and push the musical back to the spring.

Grob then decided that the CCHS actors could re-create an old-fashioned live-broadcast radio show, with nothing pre-recorded, everything happening live. The cast is essentially 25 actors, playing actors who are putting on a live radio show.

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