Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"Take It with You," a Radio Show Broadcast from The Underground Theatre in Duluth

"Welcome to Take It with You, live radio theater from Duluth, MN. I'm Blake Thomas, your host, bartender, chief troubadour, and general roustabout. Enjoy the show."

So begins the first episode of a new radio show created by local music-theater artists Blake Thomas, Mary Fox, and Andy Frye, who have recently left the Twin Cities to take up residence in beautiful Duluth. You may know this trio from the new original musical Stay Tuned that they created, which premiered at Yellow Tree Theatre last spring and received an encore performance at last year's Ivey Awards. Stay Tuned is about a fictional radio show, and they've taken that idea and applied it to this real life radio show, broadcast from their new hometown and featuring local artists and celebrities. I just listened to the first hour-long episode (available free on their website, with episode two coming shortly) and found it be full of great music, humor, and hometown charm.

Here's the description from their website:

Blake Thomas brings his original music to the airwaves in this new radio variety show described as “CHEERS meets A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION meets AUSTIN CITY LIMITS.” Recorded monthly, the one hour radio play follows Blake, the owner of a tavern & music venue in Duluth, MN, and a colorful group of his multi-talented friends, patrons, and employees. Each episode features original music, comedy, science, and a dash of politics.
The exploits of these friends and coworkers are told in short scenes interspersed with songs from Blake's collection of fantastic albums (available on iTunes), the Stay Tuned score, and a few new songs that I haven't heard before. Blake is one of my favorite musicians because of his clever and original lyrics that combine whimsy and melancholy, haunting or driving melodies, and authentic country voice. In addition to the music, the scripted show includes a storyline about Blake and friends, as well as a couple of regular features, including "Steve and Jamie," the too cool for school hipsters, and "Ask Brooks," in which Blake calls his theoretical physicist brother to ask him science questions sent in by the audience. I'm excited to check in with these characters every month and see what new adventures they get into.

Take it With You is a wonderfully new and fresh take on the old radio variety shows of the past. If you're a fan of A Prairie Home Companion, folk-country-Americana music, or hometown humor, give it a listen and see what you think. And if you live in Duluth, know someone in Duluth, or are planning a trip to Duluth, you might even want to go see a live show (click here for the schedule).

the Take It With You gang at the Underground