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Nostalgic Musical 'Radio Gals' Opens July 10

By Lisa Stratton

JUNE 22, 2007--St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre's superb 41st season continues with the opening of "Radio Gals" by Mike Craver and Mark Hardwick on Tuesday, July 10. Inspired in part by the story of radio wave-jumper Aimee Semple MacPherson, the show is filled with light-hearted comedy and musical tributes to the 1920s.

Set in small town Cedar Ridge, Ark., "Radio Gals" chronicles the airwave adventures of Hazel Hunt, a retired town music teacher, and her all-girl orchestra, the Hazelnuts, as they broadcast on local radio station WGAL. Hazel's habit of switching channels creates fans in places as distant as New York City and Santa Barbara, but also draws the attention of federal inspectors seeking to shut down wandering stations.

SCVST veteran and "Radio Gals" director Rosy Kirk, of Roseville, Minn., has been involved in the performing arts for more than 30 years, directing numerous productions at the historic Hibbing High School opera house theater and acting in roles such as Mama Rose in "Gypsy," Charlotte in "Moon Over Buffalo" and Rosalie in "Carnival."

The role of matronly music-lover Hazel Hunt is played by Sarah Parks, of River Falls, Wis. Parks, an associate professor at UW-River Falls, was Mrs. Potts in the 2006 SCVST production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."

Hazel's Hazelnuts are comprised of a unique and diverse group of women. Jeanne M. Voigt plays Gladys Fritts, the high-strung and dramatic poetess of WGAL. Voight, from Minneapolis, has been seen in SCVST plays "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "The Sound of Music." Carolyn Strauss, also from Minneapolis, plays America, an unsophisticated yet sincere violin, saxophone, clarinet and flute player. After playing her violin in the orchestra pit for Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" last season, Strauss has the opportunity to delight the audience onstage this year for "Radio Gals." Chelsea Gartner, New Richmond, Wis., croons along with the Hazelnuts as America's tom-boyish cousin, Rennabelle. Gartner's recent roles include Cha Cha in "Grease," and Bird Girl in "Seussical."

In keeping with the traditions of "Radio Gals," this production features two men in the roles of the elderly Swindle sisters--the last two members of Hazel's orchestra. Jon Michael Stiff, from St. Francis, Minn., makes his debut performance with SCVST as Miss Mabel Swindle. Miss Azilee Swindle is played by Justin DeLong, of River Falls, Wi. A sophomore at the UW-River Falls, DeLong has acted in "The Diary of Anne Frank," "She Stoops to Conquer," and Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."

River Falls' physician Paul McMillan, of Beldenville, Wis., performs the character of bureaucratic yet secretly talented Federal Radio Inspector O.B. Abbott.   McMillan, a popular 13-year veteran of SCVST, appeared on the stage most recently as the Major General in "Pirates" and as Lumiere in last season's production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."

Artistic and production staff members include musical director James Norman, River Falls, Wis.; choreographer and costume designer Denise Baker, Hudson, Wis.; set designer and technical director Alex Clark, Woodbury, Minn.; lighting designer Pamela Kildahl, Minneapolis; sound designer and sound board operator Maggie Hall, River Falls, Wis.; costume design intern and scenic and costume technician Sylvia Wadzinski, Phillips, Wis.; lighting design intern and scenic and costume technician Erin Morris, Bloomington, Minn.; sound design consultant Jason Unseth, Westby, Wis.; stage manager and scenic and costume technician Gregory Lund, Woodville, Wis.; properties manager Holly Conwell, St. Michael, Minn.; master electrician and light board operator Amanda Piccirillo, Ripon, Wis.; scenic and costume technicians Amanda Baker, Hudson, Wis.; Karl Gfall, New Richmond, Wis.; Tom Monn, Woodbury, Minn.; Keith Carl, New Richmond, Wis.; Justin DeLong, River Falls, Wis.; Saori Ugari, Japan; Hunter Stofferahn , Hudson, Wis.; and Aaron Clark, Woodbury, Minn.

Performances are set for July 10-12, 14, and 18-21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Blanche Davis Theatre in the Kleinpell Fine Arts building, 420 Cascade Ave., UW-River Falls. A matinee performance will be held July 15 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 715-425-3114 or at the SCVST box office in the KFA building. For more information about 2007 SCVST season call 715-425-3971 or email Information can also be found online at   


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:08:22 Central Daylight Time


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