"War of the Worlds" Radio Drama
Saturday, August 7, 2010 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM (EDT)
Relive the day that panicked America with a live staging of the famous radio broadcast of Orson Welles’ "War of the Worlds." Produced by Palomino Entertainment Group, "War of the Worlds" is being presented on Sunday, July 18 at 3 p.m. in the Williamsburg Library Theatre, 515 Scotland St. At 4:40 p.m., following the stage performance, will be a screening of the documentary, “The Day That Panicked America: The H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds Scandal,” which tells the story of the original radio broadcast and the startling effect it had on the country. Both presentations are free of charge thanks to a gift from Lee and Betty Ann Griffin, but advance tickets to guarantee admittance will be distributed at the Williamsburg Library beginning Tuesday, July 6.
With actors and sound effects artists live on stage, Victoria Racimo, director of the Palomino Entertainment Group, will combine the styles of “old time radio” with readers’ theatre. The production will feature a set design similar to a typical radio station of the era.
The afternoon of entertainment is presented as part of Williamsburg Regional Library's Centennial Celebrations series marking 100 years of public library service to the community. For a complete list of programs, check the library's web page at www.wrl.org or call (757) 259-4070.
Originally produced by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the Air on the CBS radio network on October 30, 1938, “War of the Worlds” was a realistic depiction of a Martian invasion of America that spread panic throughout a nation that was already living through similar threats of war in Europe.
While most people think of Orson Welles as the sole creator of the 1938 production, it was Howard Koch (pronounced Cotch) who actually wrote the script. Four years later, he would win the Oscar for Best Screenplay for "Casablanca." He also wrote such classic films as "The Sea Hawk," "The Letter," and "Sergeant York." Blacklisted in Hollywood during the 1950's Red Scare, Koch assumed a pen name in order to continue working in his craft, but struggled to regain the fame that is deservedly his as the author of such important works. He would die in near poverty in 1995. This production of "War of the Worlds" is being produced by special arrangement with the Koch Estate.