A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol

by  Walton Jones, David Wohl, Faye Greenberg

Full Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy  /  6m, 4f

"...a charming crowd-pleaser.” - John Moore, The Denver Post
“The music was the perfect touch that nicely wrapped this pretty package of a show."
- David Doyle, Edge:New York.com
"...far above the usual holiday offerings.” - Stacy Nick, The Coloradoan

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    6m, 4f
  • Duration

    Duration

    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Christmas/Holiday
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Ovation Award (Denver)
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

The long-awaited sequel to the popular The 1940's Radio Hour. It's Christmas Eve, 1943, and the Feddington Players are now broadcasting from a hole-in-the-wall studio in Newark, NJ, and set to present their contemporary "take" on Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Whether it's the noisy plumbing, missed cues, electrical blackouts, or the over-the-top theatrics of veteran actor, but radio novice, William St. Claire, this radio show is an entertaining excursion into the mayhem and madness of a live radio show. St. Claire's escalating foibles and acting missteps propel the show to a simultaneously comedic and heart-wrenching dramatic climax: St. Claire has an on-air breakdown, and begins to connect his own life with that of the classic Dickens tale. In order to "save the show," the company improvises an ending to Charles Dickens' classic as a film noir mystery, featuring a hardboiled detective, a femme fatale, and an absurd rescue of Tiny Tim (and the Lindbergh baby) from the clutches of a Hitler-esque villain named Rudolf!

High School Musical lyricist Faye Greenberg and composer David Wohl have written four delightful period songs for the Feddington Players, and swing arrangements of many Christmas standards. Seamlessly combining drama and comedy, heartbreak and hope, A 1940's Radio Christmas Carol will sing its way into your heart. If you enjoyed 1940's Radio Hour, step back in time once again with the Feddington Players, and get into the holiday spirit with A 1940's Radio Christmas Carol

Accompaniment tracks recorded by the composer are now available!

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Reviews

"...the most charming, touching, and musically thrilling (some of the harmonies gave me chills!) take on the "Radio Christmas Carol" genre I've seen - with no sacrifice in the quality of the comedy." - Westside Theatre Review

“The music was the perfect touch that nicely wrapped this pretty package of a show...A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol was just the thing I needed to stoke the holiday embers of my once-cold Christmas heart. If you’re in the mood for a sweet story, sparkling music, and a bit of nostalgia, go and see this gem before the chance of a little holiday-mood jumpstart passes you by." - David Doyle, Edge:New York.com

“...laughs and hearty applause from every age group in attendance...chaotic and hilarious.” - Pam Hardy, The Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com

“The cast had the audience laughing in their seats.” - Alissa Klenk, The Dysart Reporter

A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol is a charming crowd-pleaser.” - John Moore, The Denver Post

"A reading that transforms Charles Dickens's classic into a gumshoe mystery...far above the usual holiday offerings.” - Stacy Nick, The Coloradoan

"Delightfully Nostalgic...I loved this comedy! And so did the trio of family members (aged 26-76) who accompanied me. It’s not so much a show as it is time travel." - The Amana Society Bulletin

"We listened transfixed and thus instantly became part of the radio studio audience...and the songs are outstanding, especially the choral arrangements of holiday classics like 'Deck the Halls,' 'Carol of the Bells' and 'Silent Night,' what a lovely blending of voices in tight harmony." - The Amana Society Bulletin

Videos

  • 1940s Radio Hour Christmas Carol Spotlight
More videos +

Keywords

Friendship, Love, Memory, War

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • Jr High/Primary
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Church / Religious Groups

Cautions

  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1940s / WWII
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting:

    Friday, December 24, 1943, 7:30 PM. WOV-Radio Satellite Studio, on the lobby level of the Hotel Aberdeen, Newark New Jersey.

  • Additional Features: Play w/ Music
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Piano Only
  • Chorus Size: Medium

Song Samples

Cute Little Elf
0:00
Newark
0:00
Deck the Halls
0:00
Coconut Christmas
0:00
Silent Night
0:00
Joy to the World
0:00
Quiet Night
0:00
Deck the Halls Dixieland
0:00
Cute Little Elf (Accompaniment Sample)
0:00
Newark (Accompaniment Sample)
0:00
Coconut Christmas (Accompaniment Sample)
0:00
Quiet Night (Accompaniment Sample)
0:00

Casting

6m, 4f

CLIFTON FEDDINGTON - 55 year-old Mutual Announcer, front man for WOV’s Nash-Kelvinator Mystery Theatre. Wears wire-frame glasses like Glenn Miller. Known for being cheap. Has a crush on Judith.
WILLIAM ST. CLAIRE - 70 year-old, retired star of stage and screen. With a great mane of dramatic white hair, William is a bit of a curmudgeon and looks down on radio as one of the bastard children of the stage. William’s 31 year-old son David was killed in the Air Force in France in June 1943. A guest performer in tonight’s show, Mr. St. Claire plays Scrooge.
CHARLES “CHOLLY” BUTTS - 35 year-old funny man. Has a day job as a baker at Weequahic Diner (where his specialty is the nesselrode pie). A little stout. Lives in Jersey City, with his wife, Midge, has no kids, and has a hopeless and unrequited crush on Margie.
MARGIE O’BRIEN - Brassy, flippant, with a voice to match (think Ginger Rogers in “Stage Door”). As a show regular, plays the comic roles. This 30 year-old Irish-American comedienne lives with her two sisters, Zazu and Vi, in a two-room apartment in Queens. She works days as a bookkeeper/typist/stenographer/receptionist.
JUDITH DAVENPORT - Although quite the cutup herself, Judith is the resident “leading lady” playing all such roles as a regular. Has two kids and two ex’s and wants no more of either. Determined and stubborn. Considers herself a “legit” actress. Day job working as a switchboard operator. In her 30s.
FRITZ CANIGLIARO - Once an east-coast Florsheim Shoe salesman (and still plugs them whenever he gets an opportunity for a little commission), now a WOV regular. The resident masher, cynic and wise-guy, Fritz plays Frank Nelson cameos in comedy sketches. In his early 40s.
“LITTLE” JACKIE SPARKS - Not actually “little,” but young. A tenor with a high speaking voice. Having just graduated from high school, Jackie, only 17, lives with his mom in suburban Newark. Calls home probably a dozen times a day. Teased a lot. Still has a Sunday paper route.
SALLY SIMPSON - 20 year-old Sally seems sweet and gentle, but is a tough lady. Lives on the lower east side of Manhattan. As a show regular, plays all animals, babies, insects, little kids. Makes the long train ride to Babylon, Long Island, three days a week, to contribute to the war effort by working for Republic Aviation operating drill presses and riveting guns. Always trying to recruit the other WOV women to join “the cause.”
ISADORE “BUZZ” CRENSHAW - His life is his work. The 24 year-old “sound effectician” at WOV. Has a sharp wit and is always agreeable, whistling, and in a good mood. Born and raised in Bayonne by his Aunts Lulu and Gilly. Wears an FDR button. Spends a lot of time with Sally Simpson. Buzz lives alone.
TOOTS NAVARRE - Musical director, composer and pianist/organist for the Mystery Theatre. (Could be a man or woman.) Besides his/her usual musical chores for WOV, he/she and his/her wife/husband Faith/Frank provide both underscoring to the radio drama as well as their new and old holiday songs for the broadcast.
ESTHER LEWIS PIRNIE - Backstage audio engineer and transmitter supervisor for WOV Radio.
HAROLD J. MULLINS - Concierge of the Hotel Aberdeen in Newark.

Below are the vocal ranges for casting:

Soprano: Ab3-F5

Mezzo Soprano: G3-D5

Tenor: C4-G5

Baritone/Bass: F2-E4


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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Expandable casting
  • Flexible casting
  • Room for Extras
  • Parts for Senior Actors

Casting Notes

The show contains four-part harmony that requires four strong voices: Soprano, Mezzo Soprano/Alto, Tenor, and Baritone, who may be doubled or tripled by others, as desired. Each singer has individual moments to "shine," as well! The two solo songs are sung by JUDITH (Soprano) and MARGIE (Mezzo/Alto).

The musical director/pianist is an on-stage character (man or woman, TOOTS). While all the accompaniment is written out, the pianist is encouraged to improvise in the style of the period. Pre-recorded accompaniment tracks are also available.

ESTHER and HAROLD are optional characters, whose lines can be distributed as noted in the script. The characters of MARGIE and JUDITH could be collapsed into JUDITH, as could FRITZ be absorbed by CLIFTON.

Below are the vocal ranges for casting:

Soprano: Ab3-F5

Mezzo Soprano: G3-D5

Tenor: C4-G5

Baritone/Bass: F2-E4

Resources

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

1 Piano/Vocal Score
9 Vocal Chorus Books

More

Authors

Walton Jones

Walton Jones is a 1975 graduate of the Yale School of Drama. As a teacher of acting, directing, and playwriting, he has served on the faculty at Yale School of Drama, and University of California, San Diego, and currently at Colorado State University. He has directed twice on Broadway, six plays off-Broadway, including ...

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David Wohl

David Wohl is a composer for theater, television, multimedia, and film, whose highly expressive and eclectic works have received awards and recognition from many quarters. In addition to A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol

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Faye Greenberg

Faye Greenberg

 

A non-musical early draft of A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol was first produced at Bas Bleu Theatre in Fort Collins, Colorado on November 20, 2007. The performance was directed by Terry Dodd and Wendy Ishii. The full musical was first presented in its current form at was first produced at Bas Bleu Theatre in Fort Collins, Colorado on November 15, 2008. The performance was directed by Walton Jones.

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