CONCEPT: The show is an original full-length 1930s-style radio show written and directed by Didi Balle featuring a cast of seven, swinging symphony orchestra, Paul Whiteman's arrangements, a detective serial, commercial spoofs, and live sound effects.
Radio Rhapsody,” a musical tribute to The Paul Whiteman Orchestra, premiered at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. It features the musical arrangements commissioned for and played by The Whiteman Orchestras.
Inspired by Whiteman’s successful series of radio shows in the 1930s and 1940, the fictional broadcast is set in the Biltmore Ballroom in midtown Manhattan. It features a cast of six actors and a live sound effects man, who play a variety of roles. The show, set in June 1933, features a host of zany commercial sponsors (Music: Gary Fagin; Lyrics: Didi Balle) and an original radio serial by Balle: “LuLu Pinkerton, Dime Detective.” This two-part mystery caper is performed by “The Biltmore Broadway Players” and stars the unflappable "LuLu Pinkerton, tap-dancer by night, gum-shoe by day."
The majority of the show’s musical selections were culled from The Whiteman Archives at Williams College in Massachusetts. Nearly all the arrangements are authentic renderings of parts played by the Whiteman Orchestra, artfully rearranged by Gary Fagin. George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” which was commissioned by Whiteman and premiered with Paul Whiteman and his band and Gershwin playing the piano at the Aeolian Hall in New York City in 1924, closes the first half of our program.
PERFORMANCES/BROADCASTS: Premiere: Lincoln Center Alice Tully Hall. The Concordia Symphony Orchestra.
The City of London Sinfonia, Barbican Center for the Arts, London. The Barbican show was broadcast live by the BBC. "Radio Rhapsody" then toured Ipswich and King's Lyn, UK. Cast headed by London's Olivier Award-winning actor, Henry Goodman.
U.S. Orchestral Performances/Productions also include: The Colorado Symphony Orchestra (Denver Center for the Performing Arts) St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (Powell Hall) and The Eugene Symphony (Hult PArts).
“The highlight of the evening was Didi Balle's "Lulu Pinkerton, Dime Detective" a clever spin on the sort of radio serial that was the rage at the time. It was a nail-biting tale of tap-dancing, Morse code and bootleggers." _ Daily Telegraph (London)