Westport Country Playhouse and WSHU Public Radio are partners in the Playhouse Radio Theater Halloween play “Specters and Spirits”. First free broadcast of audio playback on Saturday, October 30.
In the spirit of the Halloween season, Westport Country Playhouse Radio Theater, a free broadcast series, will feature an original audio piece, “Specters and Spirits”, airing on WSHU Public Radio on Saturday, October 30 at 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. ( following national news), with a rebroadcast on Sunday, October 31 at 4:06 p.m. The frequencies and locations of radio stations are listed on wshu.org. “Specters and Spirits” will also be available on the Playhouse website (westportplayhouse.org) from November 1 to 21. The main playwright and performer is Richard R. Henry. The play director and curator of the Playhouse Radio Theater is Mark Shanahan, who is also the curator of Playhouse Script in Hand readings.
“From the wonderfully macabre spirit of frequent Playhouse collaborator Richard R. Henry, comes ‘Specters and Spirits’,” said Shanahan. “With a little nod to Orson Welles’ classic War of the Worlds show, which sounded so good audiences thought it was a real news show, the play by Henry’s radio perfectly mimics the format and sound of a modern podcast, allowing us to listen at the gates to a fun ghostly horror story.
“With the perfect, immersive original sound design by John Gromada and an expert cast joining our wonderful writer / performer, ‘Specters and Spirits’ delivers a polished spin and spooky Halloween treat that our listeners at Playhouse Radio Theater will love,” a added Shanahan.
In “Specters and Spirits”, Jeff Switzer hosts a popular and original podcast on ghost hunting. The play dramatizes the allegedly lost audio recordings of the last episode that Switzer hosted before his disappearance.
The cast includes playwright himself, Richard R. Henry as Jeff Switzer (“Room Service” from Westport Country Playhouse; “Two Gentlemen of Verona-The Musical” from Off-Broadway; “Assassins” from Yale Repertory Theater. ; and “Oliver!” www.richardhenrynyc.com); Erin Elizabeth Clemons as Helen Davis (Broadway’s “Les Misérables”, “Hamilton”; “Hamilton” National Tours, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” ); and Tina Johnson as Rose Miller (Broadway’s “State Fair”, “Damn Yankees”, “She Loves Me”, “South Pacific”, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”).
Director Mark Shanahan has appeared at the Westport Country Playhouse in “Around the World in 80 Days”, “Tryst”, “Sedition”, “David Copperfield”, “Journey’s End”, and over 20 readings of Script in Hand, and Directed readings of “Butterflies“ Are Free ”, with Blythe Danner and Jonathan Groff, and“ The Greatest Gift ”by Weston playwright David Wiltse.He is the creator and curator of the Westport Country Playhouse Radio Theater and writer / director of the Playhouse radio adaptation of “A Merry Little Christmas Carol.” He is also curator of the Playhouse’s Script in Hand series. New York acting credit includes “The 39 Steps,” “Small World,” “Checkers,” ” Tryst, ”“ The Shaughraun, ”“ As Bees in Honey Drown, ”and“ The Internationalist. ”His directing work has been seen at Alley Theater, George Street Playhouse, Virginia Stage, Arkansas Rep, White Heron, Fulton Opera House, Weston Playhouse, Florida Rep, Penguin Rep, Merrimack Rep, The Cape Playhouse, e t many others. He has written numerous radio plays for White Heron’s Ghost Light series (with Christopher Plummer and Judith Ivey, among others), and is the author of the off-Broadway and regional hit comedy, “The Dingdong”; “A merry little Christmas carol”; “A Murder at Fernly Hall”; and “A Sherlock Carol,” which premieres Off-Broadway this fall at New World Stages. www.mark-shanahan.net
John Gromada, sound designer and original music, is a composer and sound designer for theater, film, television and dance. He has been on the production crew for 10 Westport Country Playhouse shows, including “Of Mice and Men”. Best known for his theatrical music for plays, he has written sheet music and designed the sound for many critically acclaimed and award-winning Broadway productions. Gromada received a Tony nomination for her work on “The Trip to Bountiful” and also received three Drama Desk Awards, as well as the Lucille Lortel, Obie, Henry Hewes, Drama-Logue, EDDY and Connecticut Critics Circle awards. www.johngromada.com.
Megan Smith is the production coordinator.
After the audio playback, there will be a brief chat with the playwright and director of “Specters and Spirits”.
Audio playback takes approximately 30 minutes. Suitable for ages eight and up. Full details at https://www.westportplayhouse.org/spectresandspirits
“Specters and Spirits” marks the Playhouse’s third gaming commission for terrestrial radio and online audio platforms, in collaboration with WSHU. The productions are recorded for audio broadcast under strict Covid-19 protocols, with actors recording remotely from their own homes.
The 2021 season of the Playhouse continues with “Doubt: A Parable”, the Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony Award-winning drama written by John Patrick Shanley and directed by David Kennedy, associate artistic director of the Playhouse, from November 2 to 21. A full schedule is available at westportplayhouse.org.