"A COVID Christmas"

"A COVID Christmas," a collection of old-time radio programs will be aired on YouTube starting Thursday, Dec. 17,

Milton High School Drama will present “A COVID Christmas” Radio Show at 7 p.m. Dec. 17-19.

The show will be “broadcast” on YouTube. No one will see the actors because the production is being done in the format of a radio show.

“A COVID Christmas” includes four short programs: “My Favorite Husband,” “Our Miss Brooks,” “The Bickersons,” and “Suspense: ’Twas the Night before Christmas.” These old time radio programs were popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

From your living room, you can tune in via YouTube, then listen, as people would in old times, to the voices and sound effects.

“The vocal characterizations the students are developing for their shows are exciting as they develop, said Director Michael Dorn. “Because no one sees the actors, it is giving them some freedom to explore some things they may not have been willing to do if they were visible to an audience.”

One of the programs is done with a New York accent. “That is really fun,” Dorn said.

When asked if the online radio program was the biggest challenge he’s taken on as a director, Dorn replied, “Yes and no. This is a totally new genre for me and the technology is always throwing us curve balls, so it is keeping me on my toes. I’ve never done anything remotely like this as an actor or a director, so we are all working it out, together.”

In March, the pandemic led to the spring show being canceled about halfway through rehearsals. “The Red Velvet Cake War” is comedy. MHS has done a trilogy of comedies (“Dearly Beloved,” “Christmas Belles” and “Southern Hospitality”) over the past 10 years and this was by the same authors and set in the neighboring town of Sweetgum, Texas.

“We were ready to start building the sets about the time things got shut down,” he said. “It was a great disappointment, especially for the seniors.”

Traditionally musicals take place in the fall, but not this year.

An MHS Drama production was scheduled for spring 2021.

Then fall sports at MHS were moved to spring, making spring even busier.

Dorn kept thinking about what MHS Drama could do.

“I wanted to give students the opportunity to do something safe and fun during these difficult days of the pandemic,” he said. “So my goal was to find something that could be done with social distance and remotely – if necessary. One day I was on my way home and a radio drama came on WCLO, and I thought — “There we go!”

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