23-Minutes for a thriller in Westport

Due to snow, Staples Players’ radio theatre production of Sorry, Wrong Number has been POSTPONED to Wednesday, February 10th, at 7 PM. Stream the production live (and for free!) at wwptfm.org.

Have 23 minutes to spare in a winter of a whole lot of waiting? Turn off Netflix, forget about TikTok, cease the mindless YouTube binge, because the 23 minutes you spend with Staples Players, engrossed in the thriller Sorry, Wrong Number, could be the most memorable of the season. Orson Welles called it the “greatest single radio script ever written” (and the War of the Worlds scribe knew a thing or two about creating suspense over the airwaves). Director David Roth concurs, “It really is brilliant.” Sorry, Wrong Number airs for FREE on Sunday, February 7, at 5 p.m. via livestream at www.wwptfm.org. It’s the perfect pre-game show for the Super Bowl—you’ll have an hour to calm your nerves before kick off, and even if your team loses, you’ll be giddily happy to be alive.

“Almost all the dialogue in this super-fast-paced show takes place over phone conversations and all in real time,” explains Roth. “The main character overhears a murder plot that is supposed to take happen only 23 minutes later. The tension rapidly builds to a frenzy.” While the other radio plays the theater group has undertaken were adaptations of books and movies, Sorry, Wrong Number was written for radio and is the ideal vehicle to advance these young actors’ voiceover skills—and keep listeners holding white knuckled to the edge of their couches.

Co-director Kerry Long raves, “Senior Sophie Rossman gets a chance to shine as Mrs. Elbert Stevenson, the woman who overhears the murder plot. She is doing a remarkable job bringing this character to life and taking us on her emotional journey!”

Rossman (SHS ’21) comments, “The entire role is basically a twenty-minute mental breakdown, which can be challenging, but I love a good challenge. It’s tough to find the peaks and valleys of the piece when playing someone who is going out of her mind! This show will go by so fast that audiences won’t even know what hit them. From the first few pages, listeners will be on the edge of their seats—at least I was when I first read the script. It’s something interesting coming to Westport in a time where most may feel stuck in a quarantine slump.”

Maddy Edwards (SHS ’21), who plays the Chief Telephone Operator, says, “This role is so fun because all the characters that come into play contribute to the slow build of Mrs. Stevenson’s mental breakdown, and staying calm as she is breaking down is always a challenge. With the action all taking place over the phone, the audience will not feel like they are missing anything by just listening to the show; instead, it almost enhances the terror of the piece.”

Benny Zack (SHS ’21), who plays Jim, says he has learned a lot working on the radio play format. “The dialogue, music, and sound effects are very important to help the listener understand the context and the development of the story and help the listener imagine the story,” he explains. “Also I have learned a lot about voice acting and how you need to really work on your voice when the audience can’t see your body movements.” As this is the fourth radio play Players has produced this school year, the students are developing into real pros. Zack says, “Expect a very suspenseful, energetic, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat play that will make you just as scared as the actors! You will be so drawn in you won’t be able to stop listening; you’ll need to find out the ending!”

Just like a good Super Bowl. Tune in Sunday at 5 p.m. to find out how everything turns out for Mrs. Stevenson. And at 6:30 if you are also wondering about the Chiefs* and the Buccaneers.* (*Theater folk cheat sheet: those are football teams.)

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