Rancho Cucamonga, CA — From Abbott and Costello comedy sketches to commercials for Beech-Nut chewing gum, the Chaffey College theater department will present “Golden Age of Radio” virtually starting April 14.
It’s a celebration of the 100-year anniversary of commercial radio and is Chaffey’s second theater production presented entirely online due to the pandemic.
“Adapting theater to a virtual environment has been a learning experience for us all,” said Kelly Ford-Kaminski, director and professor of theater. “But I believe our students have become stronger actors overall from this experience and the skills they’re learning behind-the-scenes will also strengthen their resumes.”
The production consists of four episodes that will air at 5 p.m. on April 14, 21 and 28, with the final episode on May 5. All four episodes will be available for free. Information will be available on Chaffey’s “Got Culture?” site.
Students, with the use of green screens, camera and audio equipment set up at home, will portray entertainment icons Bob Hope, Moms Mabley, Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra and more. They’ll present episodes of the mystery show “Inner Sanctum,” which will end on a cliffhanger each week until the finale. Chaffey Professor of Music Patrick Aranda and his orchestra provided their own big band music recordings for the production.
Student Ana De La Vega, who sings a jingle and appears in a commercial, wanted to be a part of the production to bring back lost media of the 1940s.
“Singing is everything to me,” De La Vega said. “Singing has always been a form of entertainment, long before TV and all the technology we have today. I was eager to be a part of this,” she said.
Chris Walsh, a theater major who will graduate in May, said Chaffey’s actors after a year have reached a point where they feel as though they’re rehearsing in the same room together, even though they appear as boxes on a computer screen.
The pandemic, which has transformed the entertainment industry as a whole, will likely have lasting effects on theater, he said.
“This might be a big part of entertainment in the future,” Walsh said.