Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Local News

September 30, 2013

Play still needs actors, tech staff — A leap of faith is all it seems to have taken to ensure Pauls Valley’s revival of its community theater will soon be able to take the next step.

It was only recently when area transplant Steve Freeman wasn’t sure if people would be interested or if his idea of a radio play of “It’s a Wonderful Life” would be too similar to other planned holiday efforts in communities like Ada or Norman.

However, his confidence not only got a big boost when his brother-in-law Larry Combs offered to co-direct, but from the first round of auditions that showed residents were hungry for a show to come back to town.

“The town is slowly showing me they are interested, so we’re moving forward,” said Freeman, noting how quite a few people showed up to read for parts.

“We felt optimistic after our first audition... that we have the time to complete the task.”

Freeman was so encouraged that he has already scheduled a second audition date for Thursday, Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Pauls Valley Arts and Cultural Center, located at the corner of Walnut and Paul streets, as this production that has quite a few parts for the small town based tale. Not all of the parts have that many lines, which shouldn’t be a problem in any case as people will have the script with them on the night of performance, but it means a lot of different type of characters and unique personalities to try out.

“There’s no turning back now, already bought royalties and the script,” said Freeman, noting how rehearsals would begin in November after tech preparations the last week or so of October.

“It’s a sign it’s a popular story.”

As far as why Combs got involved, he noted it was also a love of the black and white film starring Jimmy Stewart as well as an opportunity to be more publicly involved in the community he moved to back in 2010.

Though this type of performance will be a style he has not done, he does have some acting experience from high school to college and something he would do to spice up sermons before retiring from his last job as a preacher in Muskogee.

“I offered to co-direct, love the movie,” said Combs. “I love acting, I thought it would be something good for the community and would be a good way to get involved.”

Freemen pointed out how the goal right now is to find mostly those who are young adults, especially men in the 20 to 40 year old range.

They are also in need of experienced tech minded people who can handle basic things like lights and sound to help out one volunteer they already have.

Combs added that they’ve also had to explain how this play works, which may not actually go on the radio, but will take on how radios stations performed such acts before television with an audience that will be able to watch it on a stage.

“People didn’t realize how we’re going to do this,” said Combs.

“It’s giving a vision of what radio drama was like back in the day,” said Freeman.

In the end, what will most likely be a one night event will eventually raise money overall for the Pauls Valley Arts Council from ticket sales to businesses even having an opportunity to buy advertising spots in-between breaks in the story. There is not an official date yet, but the hope is to plan it sometime in the first couple weeks of December.

For more information on how one can be involved, either send an e-mail to or call 405-238-3142.

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