Best Of 2021

Best Retro Way to Enjoy Local Theater: radio dramas

As local theaters had to close productions to live audiences, several turned to a retro art form to keep fans engaged: radio dramas. The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC) got creative by producing H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds as an audio drama. Debuting on public radio just in time for Halloween, the original 1930s tale of an alien invasion was adapted by Jeremy Dubin and Brian Isaac Phillips — with several timely and thought-provoking modern twists — and featured the “vocal talents of the CSC’s Pandemic Players.” The CSC also aired a Shakespeare in the Park rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on WVXU. The Playhouse in the Park made sure a Cincinnati holiday tradition continued with an audio production of A Christmas Carol. Actor Bruce Cromer, who has played Ebenezer Scrooge for more than a decade, recorded a one-man rendition of Charles Dickens’ classic tale about a miser who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by ghostly visitations. With recording and sound effect assistance from Matthew M. Nielson — the sound designer of many Playhouse Mainstage shows — Cromer used a 60-minute adaptation of the script that Dickens created for his own speaking engagements in the 19th century. It also aired for free on public radio.;