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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

ICYMI: Go Back in Time with the Williamsburg Old Time Radio Hour

Old Time Radio Hour 2023 Cast (photo cred: Rebecca and Mike Suerdieck.)

WILLIAMSBURG — It is time to ‘ring-a-ding-ding’ through Williamsburg, circa 1930, with the Williamsburg Old Time Radio Hour.

The original theatrical production, in the style of an old-time radio show, uses costumed actors and live sound effects to tell stories of life during the Colonial Restoration.

The husband and wife team of Mike and Rebecca Suerdieck take anecdotes from local personalities and businesses, then adapt them into mini stories they weave together through nostalgic advertisements, in a variety show-type format.

The family-friendly show merges the couple’s individual abilities; Mike specializes in making the props and sound effects, while Rebecca provides the historical content.

“When we started the radio shows around 2010, we were looking for a way to tell true stories of events that happened in Williamsburg, prominently through the early ’30s. We write original stories pulled from newspaper headlines, as well as from stories of friends that were able to tell us the [local] history,” said Mike. “We then add some fiction and spin it into lively tales that are full of Williamsburg-centric references.”

Rebecca and Mike Suerdieck. (photo cred: Rebecca and Mike Suerdieck.)

Part of the appeal of the Williamsburg Old Time Radio Hour is watching sound come to life. Performed on a set that resembles an old radio stage, the audience will witness the creation of organic sound effects (versus computer-generated) through the use of a foley table.

Foley tables, which hold props used to create authentic sounds during recording, are named after sound effect pioneer Jack Foley.

“Sometimes, I probably look like a crazy guy walking through home improvement stores because I cannot resist touching things to see what sound I might accidentally find. I’ve been known to purchase things just because they made a neat sound!” laughed Mike.

Rebecca is a historian, author and the curator of — an online repository for local history records.

“Mike loves the sound effects, but I love the stories!” exclaimed Rebecca.

In addition to her years working as a local historian, Rebecca’s friend, Julia Oxrieder, spent years archiving local newspapers between the years of 1893-1925. When Oxrieder passed, she bequeathed the index to Rebecca.

“Now we have almost 2,000 pages of Williamsburg history that is not available anywhere else.” said Rebecca. “So, some of the anecdotes, characters, businesses and scenarios are coming right from these newspaper records.”

Make tracks to attend this season, as the stories are new and centered around a holiday theme.

Tickets can be purchased here for the two scheduled shows, Saturday, Dec. 23 and Saturday, Dec. 30 at the Kimball Theater in Merchants Square.

“We hope by the end of the show everyone will feel like they have been transported back to what would have been the life of 1933-ish Williamsburg,” said Mike.

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