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MOV Players hand ‘Archie’ radio play to young actors

MARIETTA — The Mid Ohio Valley Players will host a special installment of its WMOVP Radio Theatre with the Youth Theatre Camp’s production of the classic family radio program “Archie Andrews, Christmas Shopping” at 7 p.m. today on Zoom.

Christmas in July will help cope with the 90 degree temperatures, according to Mack McHale, a camp director.

“One of the nice things as being ‘a rather mature’ member of this team is the simple, and innocent humor the play presents,” he said. “‘Ahh the good old days when you didn’t need to be crude or have explosions to tell a story.'”

Due to the pandemic, the Players decided to virtually do its summer theater camp, which is open to students 9 years of age and in 3rd to 12th grades. Students have spent the past two weeks learning more about theater and preparing for the production of an classic radio show.

“The MOVP Summer Virtual camp in connection with Switzerland of Ohio Local School District has brought together students from all over Mid-Ohio Valley who would have never had a chance to do work together in the theater,” Director J.R. Wells said. “This virtual environment has allowed these nine students to able to work together and use their creativity to bring this radio show of Archie Andrews titled ‘Christmas Shopping’ to life.”

During the past two weeks, students have learned the ins and outs of acting on camera from home. They attended daily workshops on many topics including facial acting, characterization, enunciation, pronunciation, and script writing, among other areas.

The Archie characters are well-known. Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge are from the Archie Comics and the CW TV show, “Riverdale.”

“This has been such a wildly positive experience. I had no clue what to expect going into this with kids, especially since their entire education system had gone online for the last three or four months of school,” Becca Buck, a director who plays Mrs. Mary Andrews, said. “However, the students and directors I am working with has made them summer camp such a blast that I am not ready for it to end. It’s amazing to see how the kids are growing, not only in their acting talents, but also in their technological repertoire, the costuming skills, and creative writing abilities! This is a wonderful group of students and they are putting all they have into this family friendly performance of Archie Andrews. To say I am proud of their progress is an understatement, they are have accomplished so much in a short amount of time!”

Tim Tuten, who most recently portrayed Superman in the WMOVP Radio Theatre production of the same name agreed, said it’s rewarding to teach kids and work with them on all aspects of theater.

“They are a joy and proud to say every time they perform it keeps getting better and better. This is new to them especially since it’s online when they are all used to the stage,” Tuten said. “I’m excited for the viewers to see for these kids performances to be seen online for the first time.”

To view the live performances, join on the webinar link at 7 p.m. at https://tinyurl.com/ybas82en or call in to hear the audio at 301-715-8592 or 312-626-6799, Webinar ID: 936 2677 9110.

The Mid Ohio Valley Players have been able to hold the virtual theater camp and present the final production to the public thanks to Switzerland of Ohio Local School District, which allowed the use of faculty Zoom meeting rooms to host the camp and Marietta College for use of its Zoom webinar space for the public performance.

WMOVP Radio Theatre will resume its regular 7 p.m. Friday broadcast on July 24.

For those who missed the previous live broadcasts, the episodes are now available to view on the theater’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/midohiovalleyplayers/ under the video tab.

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Cast:

* Announcer: Claire Mangiafico

* Fred Andrews: Tim Tuten

* Mary Andrews: Becca Buck

* Veronica Lodge: Chloe Tucker

* Jughead Jones: Haddon lockyer

* Archie Andrews: Lyanna Smith

* Betty Cooper: Annie Roberts

* Floor Walker: Kenzie Smith

* Woman 1: Avery Griffin

* Maxine: Olivia Roberts

Commercial actors:

* Avery Griffin

* Olivia Roberts

* Amaya Shultz

Directors of the Summer Camp radio Show are J.R. Wells, Susan Boyer, Mack McHale, Tim Tuten and Becca Buck.

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