CHESTER, Conn., U.S.A. – In Radio
Girl, almost everything is funny, even when six sweet girls with bows in
their hair start speculating in song about another girl’s death.
A scene from "Radio Girls"
Radio Girl, a
new production of Goodspeed Musicals, is loosely based on the book Rebecca
of Sunnybrook Farm. It’s the
story of an orphan girl,
Rebecca Winstead, struggling to survive during the Great Depression.
Her dream, which was the same as the one held by her late mother, was to sing on
A contest to find a girl to sing on the radio was the perfect opportunity for
Rebecca, who was going through tough times, living with her uncaring stepfather.
In the song “Maybe She’s Dead,” the six little girls, who are contestants hoping
to become the “lucky little radio girl,” are passing time pondering the
whereabouts of Rebecca, who is their main competitor.
The show is a perfect mix of humor, excitement and romance. Part of what makes
it fun is the lively dancing and clicking of tap shoes throughout the show.
The musical include a lot of upbeat tunes, but “Everything’s Gonna Be Good
Again,” is especially catchy.
Gabriella Malek did a terrific job portraying the sickly sweet 10-year-old
Rebecca, who was experiencing the effects of the Depression.
Rebecca’s stepfather, Uncle Harry, played by Joey Sorge, was the villain of the
show with his devious, greedy, money-making schemes.
As the show progresses, the costumes, attitude, and lighting gets brighter,
reflecting Rebecca’s increased happiness.
Lighting was used to create special effects, like making the neighbor’s property
seem more cheerful than the farm where Rebecca lives. Lights were also used to
make sparkles on the curtain.
One of the romantic parts of the show focused on the decades-old dispute between
Rebecca’s great-aunt and her former fiancé who lived next door. When he didn’t
show up for their wedding, she wanted nothing more to do with him and didn’t
learn for 40 years that he’d merely gone to the wrong church.
“I thought she was a Methodist!” he wailed.
With good costumes, terrific acting, fun songs and a great storyline, Radio
Girl is an excellent show.
Radio Girl plays
at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn., through August 22.
Youth Journalism International Junior Reporters Celeste Kurz and Mary Claire
Whelan contributed to this review.