The 1940's Radio Hour
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo Courtesy of Pacific Alliance Stage Company

Pacific Alliance Stage Company, in beautiful Rohnert Park, takes you on a nostalgic journey to the days when radio was Americaís main form of entertainment. The 1940ís Radio Hour, by Walton Jones, is a behind the scenes tour of a New York City radio station. From the Hotel Astorís Algonquin Room on Broadway, The Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade brings you an hour of songs, big band entertainment, comedy and dramatic sketches, and some very entertaining advertisements. The show is filled with some of the finest Bay Area acting and musical talent including Bob Parnell, Craig Jessup, Murphy Hart, Kelly Houston and music director Jason Sherbundy.

Donít be surprised if the play appears to be already started as you enter the theatre and are ushered to your seats. On stage, people working for the radio station arrive. Maintenance people change light bulbs, others answer phones, and orchestra members start tuning up their instruments. When everyone is seated and the house lights go down, the first words are spoken on stage and all the playís characters are engaged in preparing for the one-hour radio show. Itís here that the only problem occurs in a night of otherwise fine entertainment. The preparation is too long. The audience becomes antsy. It goes on for about half an hour, laying the groundwork for all the characterís histories and personality quirks, but it can easily be done in half the time.

Once the radio show begins itís a delightful evening that takes you back to a time older members of the audience will remember. But younger people will also enjoy the historic journey, not to mention the humor and musical entertainment.

Though there are many fine tunes, like The Chattanooga Choo-Choo and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, the play characteristically doesnít end on one of them. When the showís over, we are once again taken behind the scenes only this time itís short and sweet, and we are left with the impression that we have completed our visual journey into a past when sound was king.

For tickets or more information call (707) 588-3400.

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