Theater Review: The Big Broadcast plays to an appreciative audience

February 17, 2010

By Edith McCauley
Theater Critic

The entire ensemble joined in an evening of music and comedy that thoroughly entertained its audience in the Maddox Theatre at Rockford College. Reminiscent of Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, it featured skits, vocal and group numbers, and Rockford College students Amber Gray, Brian Duncan and Daniel Switzer. The Rockford College Vocal Collecive’s “Java Jive,” well choreographed and sung a cappella, displayed the talent of upcoming performers.

Tim Anderson’s musical accompaniments and his role in “Radio Gals Medley” were features of the evening. “Tomorrow Morning,” sung by Carolyn Cadigan in a lovely soprano voice, contrasted beautifully with her hilarious role as one of the “Radio Gals.” That show was the hit of last season and will be reprised this year with Patte Armato-Lund, Jodi Beach, Rachel Handlin, Margaret Raether, Cadigan and Anderson. The choice as the show closer was excellent.

Rod MacDonald and Betsy Kaske joined in a sensitive rendition of “September Song.” Their voices blended beautifully, and Rod’s time in life made it most appropriate. The skits, patterned after the programs we listened to in the 1930s, did not go as well, but the idea was sound.

Richard Raether, artistic director of the company, announced several projects for the upcoming season that include Radio Gals, a collaboration with Allen Chapel; Gee’s Bend, a work we had seen at Northlight last year; and several other intriguing projects. Gee’s Bend, a small community in the deep South, is the home of three generations of women, whose history comprises the focus of the play. It should be an essential part of the season that involves the entire community.

The evening included a silent auction, and the size of the audience was impressive. As one of Artists’ Ensemble’s major fund-raisers, it was a huge success. Rufus Cadigan’s play, Might Have Gone Fishing, opens March 12 and features Carolyn Cadigan, David Causey, Michael Harold, and students Salvador Stoneburg and Daniel Sitzer. I’m looking forward to the work.

From the Feb. 17-23, 2010 issue

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