Little Falls, NY – When imaginative individuals work together, ideas are shared, and new artistic creations are born. That’s exactly what has happened with two Herkimer College educators. Andrew Devitt and Matt Powers have teamed up to bring listeners an original tale of a city torn apart by corruption and crime, and the beacon of justice who is fighting it all – The Brass Lantern. The project merges classic radio drama with modern media podcast to broadcast the action-packed story, and a live reading will be held on Sunday, July 22 at The Shop in Little Falls.
Last year, Powers began exploring the possibility to create a podcast with LiFT (Little Falls Theater) to rekindle traditional radio theater. “Radio drama began in the 1920s and became internationally popular in the 1940s,” explains Powers. “Entertainment has transformed throughout the decades with audio podcasts gaining momentum this past decade.” As Director of LiFT, Powers is no stranger to directing stage theater in front of live audiences, however producing a purely auditory experience was unfamiliar territory. “I was excited for a new challenge in an area of theater that is different from my norm. Relying on voice, music, and sound effects alone to build a world means that the listeners really have to invest their imagination.”
“When Matt Powers mentioned his interest in creating a podcast for LiFT, I told him I had just the thing. Something old reborn for something new,” shares, Andrew Devitt, creator and author of The Brass Lantern. Devitt had thought up a vigilante character more than twenty years ago. Devitt explains, “I first created the character two decades ago for a series of comic books, but it wasn’t until podcasting brought back audio-pays as a viable medium that I realized the character’s true home should be Old Time Radio.” When asked about his inspiration, Devitt explains, “The Brass Lantern is my love letter to the pulp magazine and radio heroes of the Great Depression. The best of them would pit a lone hero, often morally questionable, against a larger than life villain in plots so wild, so dizzying, and so kinetic that you’d never have to invest in a bookmark.”
Once Devitt and Powers laid out a game plan, Powers began work on securing funding for the multi-episode podcast project. He says, “I approached the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts and am thankful they agreed to serve as an umbrella agency, allowing me to seek two different grants from CNY Arts. I was pleased to have been awarded both grants so that we can make The Brass Lantern podcast what it truly deserves to be.”
The cast of characters is as intense as the story itself. Devitt brings to life the voice of Matthew Arnold (AKA the Brass Lantern), who is heir to the LuxArn fortune. Upon returning home from the war, Arnold takes up the role of Beacon City’s protector – the Brass Lantern. The characters take us into a world where insurance companies own the police and the uninured have no recourse. Matthew Arnold faces off against the wickedest man alive, John Countryman, who is portrayed by local author, C.T. Avis. Joining Devitt and Avis on stage will be Laura Powers, Alix Stolzer, Dave Dellecese, Ginny Clapp, and Blake Pitcher who is also a local author. Mikey Wood, the illustrator who provides the project’s cover art, is coming in from Pittsburg PA to take the stage as well. Wood will give voice to the Brass Lantern’s predecessor, St. John Dare, in place of renowned storyteller and NYC theater artist, Edgar Oliver, who offers voice in the podcast. Local jazz musician, Oscar Stivala, will also provide his musical stylings as he does for the original podcast.
With blinding light and blazing guns, crime has nowhere to hide. Guests are welcome to attend a live stage reading of The Brass Lantern on Sunday, July 22 at 2pm at The Shop, located 590 East Main Street in Little Falls. This old-time radio adventure podcast will come to life on stage with the voice actors behind the microphone. According to Powers, “We have taken an amazing original story styled for radio theater, repackaged it for a modern podcast, and are now sharing it live with listeners. We invite all to join us!” For more information, please follow “The Brass Lantern” on Facebook and check out the “The Brass Lantern Podcast Live” Facebook event. Project information is also available at www.lift-theater.org and “LiFT Theater Company” on Facebook. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5.
The podcast series is currently in episode four with two more in production. FREE episodes are available on the www.lift-theater.org website, Spreaker, iTunes, SoundCloud, and YouTube. This project was made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by CNY Arts.