Radio theater

Sound success: KUNM’s long-standing Radio Theater “a beautiful thing to experience”

Illustration by Cathryn Cunningham / Journal

Radio remains a powerful medium.

This is why the KUNM Radio Theater program has been a success for many decades.

In fact, it is one of the oldest radio theater programs in the country. The program was started in 1989 by Tim Forrest.

With social distancing now part of our daily lives, the theater program gives listeners a chance to let their imaginations run wild.

“There aren’t a lot of radio theater shows,” says Linda López McAllister, who has been producing the show since 2005. “The great thing about radio theater is that you hear the words and every individual creates the image in his mind. It’s a beautiful thing to experience.

López McAllister and David Hughes have produced the program together for the past 15 years. Recently, Dan Ware and Rhonda Sigler-Ware learned the ropes over the past two months.

At 6:00 pm on Sunday, June 7, KUNM’s Radio Theater will present “The New Silence: A Poem for the New Climate” and “The Kansas City Witch”. Both shows are from the National Audio Theater Festival.

“The New Silence” is written by award-winning playwright Brian Price, who uses humor, drama, childhood memories and edgy jazz to tackle the thorny issues of climate change.

The recording of “Night Over Taos: A Theatrical and Historical Journey From the Taos Revolt to Statehood” by Maxwell Anderson was produced for the New Mexico centennial in 2012. (Courtesy of Camino Real Productions)

Acclaimed actor and narrator Dion Graham, who is best known for his roles in “The Wire” and “The First 48”, teams us up with critically acclaimed actress and narrator Jane Oppenheimer.

The duo join master jazz improviser Jason Koa Hwang on a musical and poetic odyssey through our greatest fears, doubts and fantasies about what will happen next.

In “The Witch of Kansas City”, Coy Dugger presents a powerful, moving, unique and loving look at the strange new world to come.

It’s the reverse of Frank L. Baum’s classic book / movie “The Wizard of Oz”, in which Dorothy from a fantasy and magical land suddenly finds herself in present-day Kansas City.

With the help of a local department store clerk, she and her loyal companion, Toto, search for a way home.

It was first performed in front of an audience at the Hear New Festival in Kansas City in June 2019.

López McAllister says the program gets performance from other organizations.

However, years ago Camino Real Productions created the productions.

“With KUNM, we don’t have more than 57 minutes,” she says of the lineup. “There are times when I have to edit certain things. I can do everything from home.


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