Paradise, Calif. – There is something special about the magic of live theatre. On Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, the curtain will go up at the Theatre on the Ridge in Paradise.
Action News Now Morning Anchor Julia Yarbough caught up with the masterminds behind a new performance that pays homage to all of those who have survived the Camp Fire.
Executive Director of the Theatre on the Ridge, Judy Clemens, says the show, entitled Radioland’s Return to Paradise, is a love letter to Paradise. She calls it a gift to the community.
The production is an old-style radio show, combined with classic variety show, presented live, on stage by local actors. The show will be the first since the Camp Fire and will kick off the 2019 season as Theatre on the Ridge makes its post-fire return.
Clemens says the production is especially touching, given how the fire spared the theatre. Everything around the property, burned. But somehow flames missed the theatre. Established in 1975, the entire structure is intact. Clemens calls that a miracle.
She says the performance is like a beacon of hope and believes it is what the community will need going forward. Clemens explains the cast and crew felt it was important to do something to bring the community together that would be healing. She characterizes the show as a feeling of coming home, of community and of course, resilience.
Just hours before opening night, crew members have been at the theatre putting finishing touches to the set and checking all the props. And those items have been specifically included to also provide a sense of comfort. The stage is adorned with a wood-burning stove for a cozy feel. There is of course an old-style radio; reminiscent of when families would gather around radios to listen to programming. Antique lamps, classic dolls and cans of traditional soups round out the props that theatre-goers will see during the performance.
Artistic Director Jerry Miller says there is no storyline in this stage show, which includes audience participation. Miller says there is, however, a theme. And that is to offer a sense of comfort and home; something the community needs in the wake of the Camp Fire.
Miller says the goal is to create a Ridge Strong feeling. He says all the songs performed during the show, build upon the concept of resilient “mountain-folk,” and a belief that everyone is going to be okay and make it through the hardships.
Radioland’s Return to Paradise open Thursday, Feb.14, 2019, at the Theatre on the Ridge, at 7:30 p.m.. The production runs through March 3, 2019, with performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. There are still tickets available for upcoming performances and you can purchase those by visiting the Theatre on the Ridge site.