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FCT Brings ‘The Mercury Theatre On The Air’ To The Stage

FULTON, NY – The sights and sounds of old time radio comes alive for one night only as Fulton Community Theatre proudly recreates Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre On the Air’s “War of the Worlds” and “Dracula.”

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Jonathan Harker (Derek Potocki) tries to comfort his wife, Mina (Marlina Beebe) as vampire hunter VanHelsing (Brian Pringle) warns of the undead terror that overshadows them in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” which is being presented in a double bill along with “The Mercury Theatre’s War of the Worlds,” a staged recreation of the infamous 1938 “panic broadcast.”

The staged recreation of the 1938 Halloween eve “panic broadcast” about an invasion from the planet Mars will run on October 30 – the 75th anniversary of the original CBS radio broadcast. Curtain time is 8 p.m. on the Jubilee Hall stage of Holy Trinity Church, 309 Buffalo St.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors. Reservations may be made by calling FCT at 315-598-7840. For more information, check out FCT’s website at http://www.fultoncommunitytheatre.org, or the theatre Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/fultoncommunitytheatre

The Mercury Theatre script, adapted from H.G. Wells’ original 1898 novel, was penned by Howard Koch, who penned many of The Mercury Theatre’s weekly radio plays. Under the direction of Orson Welles, the director of the Mercury Theatre, the play was written and performed so that it would sound like a live news broadcast. As the play unfolded, dance music was interrupted a number of times by fake news bulletins reporting that a “huge flaming object” had dropped on a farm near Grovers Mill, New Jersey.

The results were legendary.

News reports of the time estimated that more than 6 million people heard the broadcast, with up to 3 million people believing that it was real.

Fulton Community Theatre’s production is presented by special arrangement from Koch’s estate.

FCT double bill
FCT double bill

“The War of the Worlds” is part of a pre-Halloween double-feature that includes another Mercury Theatre script, John Houseman’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, which debuted the weekly CBS radio series on July 19, 1938.

Both plays feature an ensemble cast, which include the talents of: Marlina Beebe, Michael A. Bolio, Zoe Bolio, Doug Carver, Kennith Johnson, Rita LaPage, Michael Otis, Brian Pringle, Derek Potocki, Abel Searor, Adam Schmidtmann and Sabrina Woodward.

The production is under the direction of FCT artistic director William Edward White, who will also be playing the iconic Orson Welles.