Vintage radio shows tune in to Bethany

The Ad Hoc Touring Theater Company, an outgrowth of Georgetown’s renowned Possum Point Players, will be turning back the clocks this week as audience members tune in to the ambiance of old-time radio broadcasts.

This Tuesday, Feb. 19, members of the Ad Hoc Company will take to Bethany Beach Town Hall for a free, dramatized radio production of “Laura” and “The Bickersons,” hosted by the Bethany Beach Cultural and Historical Affairs Committee.

“We’ve always enjoyed a positive reception wherever we are,” said Ad Hoc member Maureen Downing. “Last month, we performed at the Rehoboth VFW for the first time as the after-dinner entertainment, and everyone in the audience enjoyed it. We also put on a show at La Rosa Negra restaurant in Lewes for the AARP and received a standing ovation for our performance.”

Tuesday’s show will be the troupe’s first time performing at the Bethany Beach Town Hall.

“It’s always exciting to put on a show at a new venue,” said Downing. “Hopefully, we’ll be invited back. The Town Hall has a very nice set-up with great acoustics.”

The Ad Hoc Production team presents roughly 16 shows each year, “and we’re always ready for more,” said Downing. “The actors really enjoy bringing these shows to the public. We have some great actors and actresses who have history in community theater and on radio. Everyone is very comfortable with the performances.”

“The narration really gives it a nice effect of the old radio,” said Schott, who has been a member of the Ad Hoc Touring Company for three years. “I had never done theater before that,” he said, “but as soon as I gave it a try, I loved it.”

Schott had worked as the production company’s business manager, in charge of finding venues.

“I got up the courage to try the stage after one of the members suggested it,” he continued, “and it’s been a lot of fun.” Over the years, Schott has been part of seven other performances, and he will appear in the upcoming performance.

“Laura” — originally a 1944 film directed by Otto Preminger and nominated for four Academy Awards — depicts a romance, mystery, thriller that became an American classic. The movie’s soundtrack — a score written by David Raksin — was made widely popular by names such as Johnny Mercer, Dick Haymes, Woody Herman and Frank Sinatra.

Ad Hoc’s hour-long radio rendition will follow Detective Mark McPherson (originally played by Dana Andrews in the film) as he investigates the murder of advertising director Laura Hunt (originally played by Gene Tierney).

Ad Hoc’s second performance of the evening, “The Bickersons,” is a comical adaptation of the radio classic that began in 1945 and aired through 1951, following a nagging couple, initially played by Don Ameche and Frances Langford.

“It’s a very entertaining piece,” said Downing.

Tuesday’s free show will be held at the Bethany Beach Town Hall at 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be available as well. The public can also catch a matinee performance of both shows this Sunday, Feb. 17, at 2 p.m. at the Possum Point Playhouse in Georgetown. For ticket information or directions for Sunday’s show, visit online or call (302) 856-4560.