Sundance to stage radio plays

Capra, Hitchcock go live in national tour

NEW YORK — Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute is most famous for its annual winter film festival. If all goes well with the institute’s lower-profile summer theater season, the Utah arts org could become as well-known for its … radio plays?

SFX Theatricals has joined with the Sundance Theatre Program for an upcoming national tour of “It Happened One Night” and “Spellbound,” which will not involve an unspooling of the film classics by Frank Capra and Alfred Hitchcock.

A unique venture, the joint project will instead offer live staged productions of the original radio scripts, which were adapted from the two screenplays sometime after the films had their respective debuts in 1934 and 1945.

Performed in August

Sundance spokesperson Elisabeth Nebeker said that the radio plays for “It Happened One Night” and “Spellbound” would first be performed before live audiences during the last week of August at the Sundance theater in Provo Canyon, Utah. There are no plans for the works to be broadcast over the radio.

A spokesperson at SFX confirmed the joint tour project but did not specify dates or venues, saying that “details are changing daily.”

Such a tour would present the possibility of securing high-profile actors for the roles, with minimum rehearsal required, in the fashion of A.R. Gurney’s play “Love Letters.” As in radio’s heyday, stars cast in “It Happened One Night” and “Spellbound” would read from scripts in front of microphones and be accompanied by sound-effect technicians and a small orchestra.

Past connections

The radio-plays tour would not be SFX’s first association with the Sundance Institute. SFX Theatricals was the presenting sponsor of theater at the film festival in January when Charlayne Woodard’s “In Real Life” and Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” were staged at the Park City, Utah, site of the annual film fest.

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