Socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a seance, hoping to gather material for his next book. He doubts her powers and hopes to prove her a fake. The scheme backfires when Madame Arcati' conjures the ghost of his annoying, temperamental first wife, Elvira.
Our cast rehearsing at The Arclight Theater in March.
John Dough (Michael Iannucci) Charles Condomine
Currently suffering from amnesia John has no recollection of much of his past. His memory begins with singing the score from Roberta on 39th & Broadway in front of the Metropolitan Opera House. One of the exiting patrons, Sister Margaret Mary, recognized him from when she worked at the New York Foundling Home. Sister Margaret took him to a nearby automat and told him what little she knew of his past. He was left on the doorstep of the orphanage swaddled in a chincilla stole with a note that read “cannot chance it…I’m on the verge of stardom. He may look like he’s in his twenties but he’s really only 7 years old” And the note was signed "G.S". Sister Margaret Mary told him the first words he spoke were “I’m ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille.” He was spirited…acting out scenes from Oskar Holmolka films and doing impressions of Luise Rainer in The Good Earth. Everyone at the orphanage knew that there was something special about John. Sister Margaret couldn’t understand why no one would adopt such a darling 5’10” boy/man who threw tantrums everytime he saw a Maria Ouspenskaya film and demanded to wear his underwear outside of his pants. On his 38th birthday he just disappeared from the orphanage taking only the chincilla stole (a little ratty now). . If anyone out there listening to this broadcast can fill in some of the holes from the time John left the orphanage to his stint on 39th & Broadway please come forward. A few hints: he tears up every time he sees a Packard car, eats a Nathan's hot dog or hears the song MAMMY. Sister Margaret is now operating as John’s agent. She sent him to study diction with the great Constance Collier and got him this job in Blithe Spirit. Next up, touring the Yukon with Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer in Juno And The Paycock. John has a special message for G.S…”thank you for giving me life and I hope Bette Davis got all the parts you wanted.”
Bettina Biltmore (Valerie Gilbert) as Ruth Condomine
Bettina was born in Newport and raised in Greenwich. She was schooled in Paris, London, Geneva, and MonteCarlo. After dancing with Nijinsky, Bettina left ballet for burlesque, performing with the Folies Bergeres and Josephine Baker. Ever avid for new experience, she moved on to tap dance back in the States and starred in “A Big Blowsy Ballroom” with Fred Astaire. The Marx Brothers entreated and finally convinced her to star in “A Mask for the Mistaken” which was sadly, not released. By then Bettina had caught the comedy bug and there was no turning back. Ms. Biltmore maintains residences in Paris, London, New York, Chicago, Boise, San Francisco and Points D’Esprits, in the Seychelles Islands. She tends to her physical temple with absinthe, champagne, deep, vigorous breathing, and light salads. A devotee of the occult, she is preparing to depart this life via automatic writing and soul suspension. Bettina is assisted in her work by her Brussels Griffon, Fauchon, who has a basic understanding of calculus.”
Irene Dahlia (Laura Leopard) as Elvira Condomine
Born Arina Torporkov in Saint Petersburg, Irene’s mother was a member of the Moscow Art Theatre founded by Constantin Stanislovski. Her family immigrated on the heels of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Once safely in New York, her mother Sonia Torporkov (stage name Mollie Anderson) began her Broadway career, appearing in The Fountain of Youth” among others. Irene made her Broadway debut in 1924 with a small role in Anthony and Cleopatra. She returned to Broadway in 1926, starring in “She Couldn’t Say No” and has been a star in her own right ever since. FDR once remarked on her performance in The Bohemian Girl as “moving Russian and U.S. relations to a new delicious level.” Irene will next appear in Gotham Radio Theatre’s production of Blithe Spirit. this summer she will tour the country in the Broadway hit, “Suspect”. Married briefly to screen star, John Garfield, Irene lives quietly in New York with her little dog Sasha.
Stewart Spencer (Victor Barbella) as Madame Arcati
Born in Brighton Beach, NY, Stewart was the 4th child of Jewish immigrant parents who worked as a bartender and nightclub entertainer. He spent most of his school nights earning money as a pool hustler and peerless dipsomaniac until he was expelled from school at the age of 16 for card gambling with the janitors. He fled NY and took off for England, studying at Oxford under the pseudonym of Mercy Shelley, claiming to be the grandson of poet Percy Shelley, where he was again expelled. For excessive drinking. Stew (nicknamed ‘Potted Stew’) then ventured to Africa, taking up big game hunting with a former pal, until he was deported for teaching the native tribesmen to distill liquor. He worked all around the world as a cook, Gondolier pilot and card dealer, until he was fired for stacking the deck. To pay off a gambling debt, he entered Hollywood and began movie-making and though he doesn’t remember filming most of his movies, his career as the bar-fighting, brawling hero has been stellar with In Old Montana, In Old Colorado, In Old Cheyenne and, In Old Boise as audience favorites. He has been heard in Gotham Radio’s productions of Fallen Angels, Lady Windermere’s Fan and Rudolph’s Tale, where-sadly - he was nearly fired for excessive drinking while portraying an elf.
Ping (Abi Gale) As Sound Effects Actor
Born as Sunako Yamamura, she is the illegitimate child of a former geisha and a Yakuza boss. Trained to be a geisha at an early age, Ping grew tired of the strict training and ran away. Stowing away on a ship, she soon found herself in the United States. Supporting herself through theft, she unknowingly steals from a Mafia group. While hiding in a Monogram film studio, she acquires someone’s work papers and disguises herself as a man. Introducing herself as Ping she became a set dresser for various Monogram productions, mainly Charlie Chan films. Moving to New York, Ping instantly found work with Gotham Radio Theatre as a stage manager, and in some occasions, props maker and sound engineer. Due to her quiet nature, cast members believed her to be mute for some time. And until recently, still believed her to be a man until “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” performed at the University Club of New York, shocking cast members when she wore a dress. Having lost a bet to Stewart Spencer, she is again forced to wear a dress for Blithe Spirit.
Ping (right) with Warner Oland, Photo from 'Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise'
Ping (right) with Warner Oland, Photo from 'Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise'
Directed and Adapted by Sydnie Gale (Sydnie Grosberg Ronga)
Sydnie Gale began her career as a stage manager, most notably for Sarah Bernhardt's American tour. Miss Bernhardt brought her back to France, but not knowing the language Miss Gale moved to London. She spent the next few years touring with plays by Shaw and Wilde. While working with the Gaiety Players she was asked to direct Shaw's The Philanderer. The tour was a great success and she became the company's regular director bringing some American plays into their repertoire. In 1928 the Gaiety Players toured the United States and Miss Gale decided to stay. She directed for The Theatre Guild bringing the works of Shaw, Molnar and Pirandello to the American Stage. As radio became more popular she often adapted her productions for broadcast. Miss Gale has been the primary director for Gotham Radio Theatre and is delighted to be continuing her work with with this adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.