Winters Theatre Company Presents a Pre-Halloween Scare

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By Rodney Orosco The Winters Theatre Company will destroy the earth this fall. Specifically, it will be Martians who will be destroying Grover’s Mill in New Jersey and New York City. All this destruction will come when the Company reads the 1938 radio script of Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds.” The play will be performed as if being read live in a radio studio circa 1938. The “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast was first performed by the Mercury Theater on the Columbia Broadcast Network in New York City (CBS) on Sunday, Oct. 30, 1938. The plot of the story is based on the H.G Wells novel of the same name: Martian ships land on earth and are soon blasting through the countryside with heat rays and poison gas.  And, the tentacle-laden invaders develop a taste for humans. The radio drama caused mass panic throughout the United States as listeners tuned in and believed America, and the world, was being invaded by Martians.  At one point during the broadcast, police entered the studio to try and break up the show. The Winters performance may not cause as much panic, but it will be done with as much authenticity as the original broadcast. A stellar ensemble of actors, some new to the WTC stage, and some experienced company members, help to fill out the cast. To highlight a few, veteran WTC actor Tom Rost plays the on-the-scene correspondent reporting on the Martian landing taking place at the Wilmuth farm in Grover’s Mill. Robert Williams, who played the cowardly lion in last year’s “The Wizard of Oz,” plays the voice of reason, as the Princeton professor trying to assure the listening audience that the explosions on Mars are nothing but volcanic gas. Williams is joined by his daughter Elizabeth, a not so calm announcer, and his son Jason, another announcer trying to maintain his cool. The Williams siblings will also offer a rousing musical, commercial interlude. Founding WTC member Germaine Hupe tries to ease the spreading panic with her Latin inspired dancing during musical cutaways from the Martian massacre. Scott Schwerdtfeger, who is new to the Winters Theatre Company, plays Orson Wells, the distinguished voice behind the original broadcast. Jesse Akers, one of WTC’s primary directors and performers, plays the CBS announcer and manager. Loren Skinner, returns to the stage as the “Stranger” left on earth after the destruction of the world. WTC technical wizard Jeff Rawlinson provides the sound and foley effects. The play is directed by Linda Glick with Rodney Orosco as assistant director. The play will run for two weekends starting Friday, Oct. 5, through Sunday, Oct. 14, at the Winters Community Center.  Friday and Saturday performances start at 8 p.m.  Opening night gala will begin at 7:30 p.m.  Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $10 for seniors and for children 12 and under; General admission is $12.  The opening night Gala is $15 (this includes champagne and dessert) Tickets can be purchased online at  For further information call 530-795-4014]]>

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