Gotham Radio Theatre Presents “Rudolph’s Tale: A 1964 Christmas”
How I love a New York City Christmas. Not just for its twinkle lights, egg nog, or general sense of merriment that overcomes all the locals. What I most appreciate is the sense of nostalgia that takes over the city. It may be the one time of year where tradition runs deeper than trend, smiles are more frequent than smirks, and the old out-fashions the new. That said, you can imagine my excitement of viewing my favorite childhood Christmas movie, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, as a live theatrical performance. Talk about an early Christmas present!
Founded in 2010 by Laura Leopard and Victor Barbella, Gotham Radio Theatre is inspired by the Lux Radio Theatre of the 1930’s and 40’s. The audience is treated to a unique experience of actors and sound artists performing live in vintage radio style. On December 4th, 2011, Gotham Radio Theatre presented “Rudolph’s Tale: A 1964 Christmas” at the Upper West Side’s theater, The Triad. If you’ve turned on the TV during the month of December at all in the past fifty years, you’re sure to have seen the tried-and-true classic cartoon, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Now imagine Rudolph and the gang…Yukon Cornelius, Hermey the Dentist, the lovely Clarice, Mr. and Mrs. Claus…all being brought to life by the voices and Foley sound effects of the members of Gotham Radio Theatre! There were moments throughout the show when I blinked, and could have sworn I was listening to the actual 1964 version of the movie!
The talented ensemble displayed their versatile talent by performing several different roles each, shifting voices and characters so dramatically it would have been virtually impossible to know it was the same person speaking had you not seen it with your own eyes.
Along with performing the Rudolph Tale, actors also re-created vintage commercials from the sixties. Some of my favorites included: Shake-N-Bake, Alka Seltzer, and Frosty Flakes. In the words of Tony the Tiger…“They’re greeaaaattt!” The commercials, show, and incredibly gifted group of actors and actresses that make up Gotham Radio Theatre, that is!
As if that weren’t nostalgic enough, the show ended with the ensemble leading the audience in a jubilant round of the famous carol, you guessed it, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. On the last line of the song, I couldn’t help but shift my focus away from Rudolph’s red nose onto the fine folks of Gotham Radio. With talent like that, “you’ll go down in history”. Bravo, Gotham!
For more information about Gotham Radio Theatre, and to read about their exciting new shows, be sure to visit their website.
By: Jessica Tiare Bowen