KZMU is proud to present “Wormhole! The Musical,” the fifth annual live radio play at 7 p.m. March 7 and 2 p.m. March 8 at Star Hall. Tickets are $15 and available at Canyonlands Copy Center, WabiSabi, and Back of Beyond Books. They’ll be available at the door as long as seats are still available.
This year’s radio play is special for many reasons. For the past four years, KZMU’s annual theatrical offering has been written and directed by former Station Manager Marty Durlin. Through a grant from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, KZMU has been able create a residency program that provides a stipend for people to create and direct an original radio play.
This year’s production is written and directed by Jenna Whetzel, local writer, activist, and program manager at the Housing Authority of Southern Utah. Whetzel performed in the past two KZMU radio plays as Lottie Funk in “Beautiful Radiant Things” and Dicketta Privott in “Uranium! The Musical.”
Working tirelessly alongside Jenna, we are lucky to have the talented pianist and composer Jessica Retka. Jessica has been part of the radio play family from practically the beginning, bringing her musical prowess and positive energy.
The cast is made up of Jimmy Ferro, Nicole Fox, Sam Newman, Paige Kannor, Steve Proskauer, Lisa Grady, Robin Dahm and Doni Kiffmeyer (who also operates Foley with Katie Lloyd). Miriam Graham, Jeff Gutierrez, Bobby Hollahan, Josie Kovash, and Scott Clabby are the orchestra. Joanne Savoie has joined the team again as stage manager and costume designer.
Another notable change to this year’s production is an exciting partnership with the BEACON Afterschool Program. Lead by KZMU DJ and Moab Charter School teacher Casey Bateman, local fifth and sixth graders are learning about the art of Foley, live sound effects, and building the BEACON Wormhole Sound Effect Machine, which will be featured on stage and operated by our Foley artists.
“Wormhole! The Musical” takes place in Anytown, USA in the not too far future. In the first scene we meet Bob Starshine; a sunny, optimistic morning news anchor in Anytown. Though Bob is strident, eager to find the truth and help the world in any way he can, the world’s problems were becoming too heavy for one person to bear. World leaders decide to employ artificial intelligence “Leader Bots” to take over every government agency on earth.
As Bob becomes aware of the dark intentions of these Leader Bots, so begins the saga featuring Bob and his trusty, yet unexpected team: Athena Applegarden, a rocket scientist; Anna Hunsaker, a noted historian; and Nelson Nargle, a bitter maintenance worker. With Athena’s understanding of nuclear physics, Anna’s historical smarts, Bob’s determinism, and Nelson’s bad attitude they have everything they need to create a wormhole, travel through time, and attempt to save the present by tinkering with the past.
About the director
Originally from Virginia, Jenna Whetzel performed in her first musical, “Fiddler on the Roof”, at age 10 and was hooked. Since then she has acted, written, produced and directed in both theater and film. Here in Moab, Jenna has rediscovered her passion for creating oddball characters, ruthlessly searching for truth in fiction, and that deep meditative state you enter while sketching new worlds with words.
Jenna says, “Radio makes people do part of the work in creating a story. When we don’t have pictures to help create setting, plot, and characters; we can do it for ourselves.”
“Wormhole! The Musical” is made possible in part by the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, the Val A. Browning Foundation, WabiSabi, and listeners like you. Learn more at KZMU.org/wormhole
Mead is the KZMU station manager.