LA Theaterworks -- Preface: What is a Radio Play?

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A short explanation of how radio plays work and some background on LA Theaterworks
                               by JMW

LA Theaterworks is an approximately thirty year old organization which for its first ten years staged plays in the traditional fashion. Then in the mid 80s  they changed their focus to what they term  "virtual theater" --  staging of plays as live audio theater to be broadcast on the radio.  To put it another way, their actors perform radio versions of plays in the same fashion as was done in Radio's heydey of the 1930's and 40's. (Has anyone out there NOT heard of Orson Welles famous broadcast of the radio version of HG Wells' The War of the Worlds?)
For those not familiar with how radio shows worked (I am an old time radio buff, so I forget sometimes that people may not be familiar with radio performances) -- these are plays, adapted to be performed on the radio. Unlike an audio book, it is not something read verbatim by only one person.  This is a true performance, where a full cast of actors performs the play complete with narration, props and sound effects.  The calibre of acting matters very much in performances like these, for the actors have nothing but their voices to use to portray character.
Dr. Selby apparently does work with them on a regular basis; and his official website gives news, airdates and information any time he is performing in one of their plays.  (For those in or near the Los Angeles area, these plays are recorded in front of a live audience, so with enough lead time one can go see the performance.)
In the past I have caught some that he has been in on live webfeed from the BBC . They are most often broadcast however, on NPR (National Public Radio) stations.  Either his website or the LA Theaterworks one (both found in my links section) gives you the radio stations which will be airing the plays and the air dates.

Many stations also archive these broadcasts after the initial airing, and (within a certain time after the initial broadcast) they can be listened to on the computer via any of the media players.
LA Theaterworks currently has five or six of the plays he was in avaliable for sale:  The Perfectionist, which he did about 10 years ago,The Young Man from Atlanta, which was done in 1999 and The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, which he did in 2001.  There are also two others, Ruby McCullum and On the Waterfront, in which he played small roles.  The latest play he did, recorded last summer, is called Pack of Lies and the CD of this performance has just become avaliable as well from LA Theaterworks' website.
Any or all of them are well worth purchasing.  I liked The Perfectionist best myself, simply because it is a comedy and not the drama with occasional comedy that we are used to seeing him do.

article @2004 by JMW. No part of this may be reprinted in any form without prior written permission from JMW

This website is @2004-2013 by JMW. No original article or photograph may be reprinted in any form without prior written permission from JMW