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Mid-Ohio Valley Players ready another radio show

MARIETTA — The Mid-Ohio Valley Players this evening will virtually present a play written for radio by Arthur Miller.

“The Pussycat and the Expert Plumber Who Was a Man” will be the third installment of WMOVP Radio Theatre at 7 p.m. today on Zoom.

“Until the time comes that we are once again able to safely gather in public venues for live theater, MOVP will continue to bring the valley ‘live’ entertainment through Zoom,” Suzanne Walker, founding director of WMOVP Radio Theater, said.

The community theater group in previous weeks has presented episodes of the “Our Miss Brooks” and “Father Knows Best” radio productions.

“The Pussycat and the Expert Plumber Who Was a Man,” a comedy, is a fantasy about a cat who becomes involved in politics and runs for governor. The show was broadcast in 1940 and was the first comedy written by Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who wrote “Death of a Salesman,” “All My Sons” and “The Crucible,” which was produced on the stage by the Mid-Ohio Valley Players.

Vanessa Rake is the director of this week’s installment of WMOVP Radio Theatre.

“Working with this cast has been great. We have a few cast members who have done our last couple radio shows but we have even more new faces and new talents, both MOVP veterans and fresh faces alike,” she said. “After the positive feedback we received from ‘Father Knows Best’ and ‘Our Miss Brooks,’ I can’t wait for audiences to see this fun Arthur Miller piece.”

The cat, Tom Thomas, is portrayed by Dyrk Conrad, who most recently played George Deever in “All My Sons” by the Mid-Ohio Valley Players and was Mr. Boyton in “Our Miss Brooks.”

Tim Tuten portrays the expert plumber.

To view the live performance, join on the webinar link https://mariettacollege.zoom.us/j/93626779110 or call in to hear the audio at 301-715-8592 or 312-626-6799, Webinar ID: 936 2677 9110.

The idea for the social distance theater came out of an offer from Marietta College, Walker’s employer, to allow employees to use the school’s Zoom accounts to stay in touch with family and friends and to assist with non-profits with whom they were connected.

“We are looking forward to the day we can open the doors again, but in the meantime, we want our patrons to know that we are here offering family entertainment during these difficult times,” Mid-Ohio Valley Players President Kermit Polan said.

Doing the Zoom theater productions has also been an important creative outlet for local actors, technicians and directors, Walker said.

For the first two productions, “I hand-picked the cast and crew from those whom I had worked with before and I knew I had the technical resources to participate,” Walker said.

After the first production, others contacted the organization about becoming involved, including Tuten.

“During these hard times I speak on behalf of actors who are unemployed, still waiting on unemployment checks and that having an opportunity or chance to perform via internet would be beneficial to one’s well-being during these hard times,” Tuten said. “As a community theater it is still our responsibility to reach out and be open to everyone in the community.”

The board agreed and continued the series to involve more people. Open auditions were posted and the cast for the Miller show was selected from those who responded.

Next week, at 7 p.m. May 29, Amber Smrek, will have her Zoom directorial debut and will bring in other new cast members to present an episode of the classic “Little Orphan Annie” and the suspense-filled classic, “Sorry Wrong Number.”

The group continues to be pleased with the outreach the WMOVP series has had. Polan shared an email received from a man in Seattle, Washington. He tuned in for the Our Miss Brooks performance and declared that it “…was awesome. I watched it from Seattle, thanks to the News and Sentinel article I randomly came across in the list of search results in duckduckgo.com’s News section, searching for “classic radio” a few days ago. Serendipity! Know you are loved and admired from afar. Also, more please!” For those who missed the live broadcast, the Father Knows Best episodes and the Our Miss Brooks episode are now available to view on the theatre’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/midohiovalleyplayers/ under the video tab.

The cast of “The Pussycat and the Expert Plumber Who Was a Man:

* Announcer: Beth Lane

* George: Douglas Reed

* Adele: Sarah Drake

* Tom, the pussycat: Dyrk Conrad

* John, the mayor’s aide: Sean Shoop

* Mayor Johnson: Mack McHale

* Attendant: at gas station Jeff Walker

* Customer at gas station: Becca Buck

* Woman, at beauty salon: Rebecca Maciag

* Sally, at beauty salon: Kathy Biery

* Billings, a leading citizen of the town: George Faber

* Conductor: George Gaston

* Fairchild, a leading citizen of the state: Nathaniel Maciag

* Peters, the drunk: George Gaston

* Manager of the hotel: Eliz Kinser

* Sam, the expert plumber: Tim Tuten

* Joey, his young partner: Sean Shoop

* Speaker at the convention: Becca Buck

* Voices of state leaders: George Faber, Jeff Walker, Sean Shoop, Kathy Biery

* Delegates at convention: Rebecca Maciag, Kathy Biery, Eliz Kinser

* Director: Vanessa Rake

* Sound Engineer: Beth Lane

* Sound Effects: Suzanne Walker and Beth Lane

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