1940s USA Radio Show at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre

Published 4:40 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2023

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By Pam Johnson
The Jonesborough Repertory Theatre presents the ever-popular 1940s USA Radio Show (formerly called the 1940s USO Show) July 7-16 at the theatre located at 125-1/2 W. Main St., Jonesborough.

Just as America entered World War II, radio airwaves served as a key source of entertainment and news for families on the home front, as well as entertainment for the troops at home and overseas. Experience what it’s like to be a part of a live studio audience during a recording of a radio show being broadcasted around the world. All the fun and entertainment include singing, dancing, skits, commercials, and more. Enjoy popular songs including “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and the always emotional “Military Medley.”

This is JRT’s 21st year presenting a radio show, and here’s what some of the cast, band members, and production team have to say about it:

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Sierra Muldrew: “This is my first time being a part of this show, and it is a perfect way to pay tribute to the men and women who fought for this country. Coming from a military family myself just makes it that much more special for me.”

Emma Tate: “My family experienced the terror of air raids as Liverpool was bombed relentlessly. I shall remember their spirit, the special relationship between Britain and America, and particularly my Grandpa Tom, who, along with our American allies, witnessed the devastation in France and helped bring the war to a close. Bless them all.”

Shawn Hale: “The USA/USO show was my very first show at JRT nine years ago, and it introduced me to my ‘chosen’ family here in Jonesborough. This show brings the hearts of our town together, and it shows the pride and the appreciation to those who made and make our country safe every day. There is nothing more touching than seeing the pride in the eyes of veterans and those who serve in our country.”

Josh Baldwin: “This show has meant so much to me over the past 20 years – just what the show means to our veterans who sit in the audience and the memories it brings back for them. Being one of five original cast members, I have seen it all through the years. This being my last one before moving, it will be extra special.”

Kari Tuthill: “Seeing our veterans recognized and appreciated is so special; when they are asked to stand during the ‘Military Medley’ when the anthem from their branch of the military is played – it sends chills over me and I weep every year. Such a special show.”

Stacia Howard: “The people make this a special show – the ones on stage and the ones in the seats; the bond of sharing music and art we love between generations.”

Becky Edmisten: “Being part of this show isn’t just a pleasure; it is a true honor! There is no greater joy than paying tribute to our American military heroes!”

Lee Mitchell-Harris: “I decided last year to join the show after I sat in the front row watching it with a WWII veteran. He was so moved by it, and I was humbled to sit next to greatness. I am forever grateful for our armed forces and to be a part of this show is an honor.”

Dan Cobb: “This show is special because of the honor and respect it demonstrates for our Nation, our Flag, our Military, and its Veterans.”

Mary Wallen: “This show is so special because of the tribute to the men and women who fought for our freedom. I have family in the military and was a military wife, and it is so important to show the veterans love and that we support them and see them and know the sacrifices they made for us. All war veterans appreciate it so much, but I feel it has a special meaning to the Vietnam veterans. They did not get a great welcome when they returned. If we can play a small part in helping all the veterans feel special and loved, then all the hard work is worth it.”

Stephen Church: “I’m a cast member and first-timer. Everyone has welcomed me eagerly as an equal, two left feet and all. Thank you all for the new friendships, the Count Basie harmonies, and the chance to show my appreciation for our armed forces.”

JRT’s 1940s USA Radio Show is directed and music directed by Jennifer Ross-Bernhardt, assistant directed by Angela Grigsby, choreographed by Jessica Shelton, and stage managed by Mary Wallen. The band director is Lucas Schmidt.

The cast members are Josh Baldwin, Sierra Camillo, Brenden Christie, Stephen Church, Kelsey Cullop, Becky Edmisten, Erin Egan, Janette Gaines, Joe Gumina, Shawn Hale, Michael Hickie, Mika Hoilman, Joseph Hunter, J.J. Lane, Bennett Little, Mandy Mangiacotti, Nathan Marooney, Lee Mitchell-Harris, Tabatha Oliver, Sarah Robinson, Jennifer Ross-Bernhardt, Sarah Sanders, Lucas Schmidt, Jessica Shelton, Emma Tate, Sharon Squibb, and Alix Thompson.

Band members are Howard Bloom, Dan Cobb, Eddie Dalton, Sloan Hill, Stacia Howard, Joy Nagy, Andrew Oliver, and Andy Wilson.

Sponsors for this production are John & Bonita Martin, Dan & Donna Cobb, Denny Dentistry, Sonia King, McLeod Organics, Dan & Pamela Pope, and W. Ashley & Judy Whitehurst.
Shows run Thursdays through Sundays, July 7-July 16. Tickets are $18 general admission, $16 for students and seniors. There is also a special group rate for parties of 15 or more. To purchase tickets, call the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at 423-753-1010 or go online to jonesboroughtheatre.com.