After a successful premiere of social distance theatre through the wonders of technology, the Mid-Ohio Valley Players have decided to continue the series with the next performance just in time for Mother’s Day. On Sunday, May 10 at 7:00 pm, MOVP invites you to join them on Zoom as they present the second installment of WMOVP Radio Theatre. Director Suzanne Walker, explains, “It is our Mother’s Day gift to all those who have nurtured someone or something and given a “mother’s” love to make a difference.”

Once again, a cast of MOVP favorites will have you laughing as they present this family fun Mother’s Day comedy episode from the classic radio series Our Miss Brooks. In this episode, “Mrs. Davis’ Mother’s Day Millinery,” Miss Brooks, played by Vanessa Rake, finds herself in a world of trouble after her irascible landlady makes her a deal she can’t refuse. Faced with owing back rent, she agrees to sell Mrs. Davis’s unique hats to her friends and colleagues with the promise of having half of what she owes forgiven. Unfortunately, her clients all believe that they are purchasing a one of a kind hat – and mayhem ensues when they realize one by one that they have been led astray. To view the live performance join on the webinar link or call in to hear the audio at 301-715-8592or 312-626-6799.

The idea for social distance theatre came out of an offer from Director Suzanne Walker’s employer, Marietta College, to allow its employees the opportunity to use their Zoom accounts to stay in touch with family and friends and to assist with non-profits with whom they were connected. Walker explained, “Like most arts organizations, MOVP’s season has been placed on hold for the foreseeable future.” Currently, the stage at the Players Theatre is ready for the opening night of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The show was set to open the night that the stay at home order was first issued in March. Director John “Mack” McHale says it has been hard on the cast, “They put so much work into the show and were ready to share it with the community and then the pandemic happened.” His cast runs lines virtually to help keep them fresh until they have the chance to finally open. McHale remarked, “As they say, the show must go on, it’s just a matter of when.”

Vanessa Rake as Miss Brooks

Meanwhile, WMOVP Radio Theatre has given the community theatre group a way to connect and to offer some entertainment to the community. Vanessa Rake, who stars as Miss Brooks in this week offering, says the troupe was very pleased with the response they received with the performance of Father Knows Best on May 1. Rake explained, “We had 62 distinct logins to our Zoom performance and most of those represented two or three viewers. We estimated that we played to 120 to 150 patrons with our first offering.” Walker, who was running the webinar behind the scenes, was surprised when the audience started posting to the webinar chat during the performance. “It was wonderful to see the audience engaged. They cheered the actors on and made comments about their favorite scenes.”

She confessed that she got so caught up in reading and responding that she missed turning the recording on for Act 2. For those who missed the live broadcast, the Father Knows Best episodes (minus the first minute or so) are now available to view on the theatre’s Facebook page under the video tab.

The cast invites you to share their Mother’s Day gift with the people in your lives who have shared a mother’s love with you. Jean Blair, MOVP Board member and Mrs. Davis in the upcoming production, noted, “We know how hard this Mother’s Day will be for those who can’t physically be with that special person in their life whom they celebrate on this day. And even for families who are together, the opportunities to celebrate mom are limited.” During the regular season, MOVP encourages its patrons to enjoy a “Dinner and a Show” by patronizing local restaurants for a meal out prior to performances. Blair urged folks to consider doing the same this coming Sunday, “We need to support our local restaurants. Order carryout and treat mom to dinner and a show.”

Until it is safe to once again gather in groups larger than 10, MOVP intends to continue social distance theatre through its WMOVP Radio Theatre series. Next up after the Mother’s Day performance of Our Miss Brooks, mark the date for The Pussycat and the Expert Plumber Who Was a Man, a little-known Arthur Miller radio comedy on Friday, May 22 at 7:00 p.m.

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