IDAHO FALLS — For the past five years, the Snake River Radio Players have been spreading holiday cheer with their Christmas shows. This winter, the group is marking their fifth anniversary with their biggest event yet: a live radio broadcast of an all-new production of “Miracle on 34th Street” on Dec. 12.
Radio Players director Tasha Bere said that while COVID-19 has thrown up obstacles and forced the group to change up how they present their work, it has also opened doors to new opportunities.
“I happened into meeting Dana Wade at Rich Broadcasting and (the Radio Players) were lucky enough to get into a working relationship with 96.1/102.1 The Wolf,” Bere told EastIdahoNews.com. “We have talked for years about the possibility of actually broadcasting our show, because that’s the format that it’s in in the first place. But this year with COVID-19, we knew that asking audience members to choose to expose themselves to the public to support the arts just didn’t make any sense.”
So, instead of doing the usual performance in front of a live audience, the Players will broadcast “Miracle on 34th Street” locally over the airwaves on The Wolf. The show will also stream to various online platforms, including YouTube and Facebook, opening up the possibility of a worldwide audience.
Those who watch the show will get to see the actors in a Christmas setting, with everyone in costume.
“Everyone at The Wolf, the people who are going to be running the show, will be in costume, as well,” Bere said. “They’re so excited to get to be a part of this and make it feel authentic.”
Getting the cast ready for this year’s show has presented some unique challenges, as COVID-19 has rendered in-person rehearsals impractical. Rehearsals are taking place over Zoom and the cast of the show has been limited to eight members. Zoom rehearsals have had an impact on how the actors work off one another.
“It’s difficult,” Bere said. “Timing over the internet is completely different than when you’re in person. When you’re doing a play, a good portion of the experience is getting to be with people. It’s the interactions and the relationships you build and that’s been missing.”
“It’s a very different feel to the show this year,” she added. “In addition to challenges we’ve never had before, with creating actual commercials for the radio and understanding the format we’re putting it on this year. It’s different. But it’s still a really wonderful collaboration”
Bere said this year’s show wouldn’t have been possible without the collaborative efforts of The Wolf, as well as the sponsorship of Mountain View Hospital.
“With the climate being what it is, we weren’t sure we were going to have a show at all,” she said. “We were so lucky to be introduced to Rich Broadcasting and to take this little plaything that we’ve created and turn it into something that seems like a bigger idea now that we’re on the radio and everyone in the area can hear us. We’ve got these wonderful companies supporting us and excited about this idea, too. It’s so rewarding to share this thing you’ve created and have other companies and other people be just as excited about it as you are.
The Radio Players will also be posting the audio from past shows online throughout November and December. This gives those new to the Radio Players a chance to catch up on their previous work while giving long-time fans a chance to relive their favorite performances.
“We decided that this was the year to get everything out there and get people who haven’t been coming more familiar and get them ready for the show,” said Bere. “So, our foley guy, Ryan Atwood, has been spending countless hours editing our previous performances and they’re released on YouTube.”
These performances will be released every Saturday through December 5, with the group’s production of “Little Women” currently available.
You can catch the Snake River Radio Player’s 2020 production of “Miracle on 34th Street” Saturday, December 12 at 7:00 pm on 96.1/102.1 The Wolf. You can also stream the show on Facebook, YouTube, and other online platforms. Visit the Radio Players’ Facebook page for more information.
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