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Theatre du Mississippi’s Christmas Radio Show brings back feeling of nostalgia

December 7, 2018

About 70 years ago, during the golden age of radio, families would sit together and listen to plays, mystery serials and much more.

That tradition may be gone, but there’s still a chance to capture a piece of nostalgia this weekend.

It’s time again for the Christmas Radio Show, hosted by the Theatre du Mississippi, where eight Winona area actors get on stage and perform a play that’s meant for both an audience and radio listeners. The performances will start at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Unlike previous years when the show has been hosted at the Masonic Temple, this year it’s got a new location — Burke’s Music House — which most people will know as Burke’s Furniture, 226 E. Third St.

Tickets are $15 for presale general admission and $7 for students or $18 at the door for general admission and $7 for students. Tickets can be bought online at theatredumiss.org or at Chapter 2 Books as well as at the door.

“There’s no stage decorations, there’s no set,” explained Christmas Radio Show director Tony Opelt. “They’re doing all their acting with their voice.”

And for the sound effects, there’s a person at a table in the middle of the stage with various gizmos and random items making sounds for each scene.

“It’s very interesting,” Opelt said enthusiastically.

The performance itself, Opelt said, is a bit of a film noir.

“Like classic detective stuff,” Opelt explained. “Not to give too much away, but there’s some mob activity, there’s a murder, there’s a detective.”

The performances this weekend will all be live and in front of audiences. At some point in the future — there’s not a specific date — the Christmas Radio Show will be available online and aired on KQAL-FM 89.5.

To find out when the show is available online, Opelt said for people to either check the Theatre du Mississippi’s website or sign up for their newsletter.

As far as directing the play, Opelt said it’s been a real joy — and challenge — to direct the performance.

“I thought it would be easier (without costumes or a set),” laughed Opelt, who said this is his first time directing a performance in Winona. “I didn’t realize I would have to put double effort into the sound. That was a very unexpected challenge, but it’s been a blast working through those challenges.”

Opelt said he’s looking forward to it all coming together on opening night.

“I’m most excited to watch the audience’s reaction to everything,” he said. “Their gasps, their cheers when the good guy triumphs. I’m really looking forward to everyone else enjoying the show.”

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