Andy Serkis Starring in ‘Screwtape Letters’ Radio Drama

08.20.2009

This is one of those “under the radar” news items that’s been overlooked by the media, and I’ve actually neglected to mention it here when I first heard about it a few months ago. But being a huge fan of radio theater I thought I’d help create some advance buzz for the radio dramatization of C.S. Lewis’ classic novel The Screwtape Letters being produced by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre (winner of a Peabody Award and multiple Audie Awards).

FOTF Radio Theatre has been broadcasting quality radio dramas since they first premiered Adventures in Odyssey in 1987, which is still on the air more than 20 years later (and I’ve actually been listening to the show since the very first broadcast). The voice cast for Adventures in Odyssey includes a number of voice actors whose names will be familiar to animation fans:

- The late Hal Smith: DuckTales, Scooby Doo
Will Ryan: Elmo Aardvark, Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin
Katey Leigh: Darkwing Duck, Gummi Bears
Townsend Coleman: The Tick, TMNT
Andre Stojka: voice of Owl in many Winnie The Pooh cartoons
– The late Walker Edmiston: Transformers, voice of Ernie the Keebler Elf
Alan Young: voice of Scrooge McDuck
Jess Harnell: Animaniacs, Drawn Together
Corey Burton: Transformers, Superman: The Animated Series

FOTF announced in May 2008 that they had obtained the rights to adapt and record a production of The Screwtape Letters for FOTF Radio Theatre. And in May 2009, news broke that Andy Serkis (voice and motion capture actor for Gollum in live-action The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) had been cast to voice the lead role of the villainous Screwtape.

According to ChrisKou.com, FOTF Radio Theatre is planning a “huge launch campaign for Screwtape Letters beginning September 1.” The production will also feature the voices of Geoffrey Palmer (Tomorrow Never Dies), Laura Michelle Kelly (Sweeney Todd), Eileen Page (The Secret Garden), and “other world-class actors” (according to RadioTheatre.org). The release date is scheduled for October 15th, 2009.

Here’s a description of the production, via RadioTheatre.org:

From the award-winning audio drama team that brought you Radio Theatre’s Amazing Grace and The Chronicles of Narnia. In his enduringly popular masterpiece The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis re-imagines Hell as a gruesome bureaucracy. With spiritual insight and wry wit, Lewis suggests that demons, laboring in a vast enterprise, have horribly recognizable human attributes: competition, greed, and totalitarian punishment. Avoiding their own painful torture as well as a desire to dominate are what drive demons to torment their “patients.” The style and unique dark humor of The Screwtape Letters are retained in this full-cast dramatization, as is the original setting of London during World War II. The story is carried by the senior demon Screwtape (Andy Serkis) as he shares correspondence to his apprentice demon Wormwood. All 31 letters lead into dramatic scenes, set in either Hell or the real world with humans—aka “the patient,” as the demons say—along with his circle of friends and family.

In April, Adventures in Odyssey producer Dave Arnold offered a “quick teaser” of The Screwtape Letters via video podcast on WhitsEndBlog.org. [Dave's teaser is towards the end of the clip. And immediately following the teaser is a preview of Adventures in Odyssey Live CD (with bonus DVD) from a live performance celebrating the 20th Anniversary of AIO in 2007, which featured cast members Katey Leigh, Will Ryan, Dave Madden, Jess Harnell and others. Bonus content on this release includes bloopers, 300-picture slideshow, and Q&A with the voice cast.]

And Tyndale.com now has a 7-minute behind-the-scenes featurette on the production, which includes interviews with director Paul McCusker, Andy Serkis, Douglas Gresham (C.S. Lewis’ step-son), casting director Philip Glassborow, Geoffrey Palmer (voice of C.S. Lewis), and other members of the voice cast.

[Additional sources: DaveDeAndrea.com, NarniaFans.com, Wikipedia.org].


Dave Madden’s Memoir Debuts for Amazon Kindle

04.03.2009
Image courtesy reubenkincaidbook.com

Image courtesy reubenkincaidbook.com

Dave Madden is best known for his role as Reuben Kincaid, manager of the popular 1970’s TV band, The Partridge Family (the 4th and final season for which was just released on DVD in February 2009). He was also a regular on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and the sitcom Alice, and guest-starred on Bewitched, Starsky and Hutch, The Love Boat, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, Married With Children, and Boy Meets World.

Dave was also the voice of Ram in Charlotte’s Web (1973), voiced Arnold’s dad in the 1985 CBS Storybreak TV special Arnold of the Ducks, and has performed in other animated projects as well. But most notably for radio drama enthusiasts, he has provided the voice of Bernard Walton for nearly two decades on the radio show Adventures in Odyssey which has been on the air since 1987.

Dave’s autobiography, Reuben on Wry, was originally published in December 2007, and is now available in both Amazon Kindle and paperback formats.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

In Reuben on Wry, actor Dave Madden says to America that “Contrary to popular belief – I’m not dead, yet!”

Madden, known by many for his wry observations and droll delivery, tells of his behind-the-scenes experiences, writing of his fondly-remembered character Reuben Kincaid as well as detailing his role as surrogate dad to a troubled young Danny Bonaduce, and how his TV family became his own. Madden also outlines his success as a stand-up comic, leading to the first – and only – TV season of Camp Runamuck, and he discusses landing as a regular in the series Laugh-In, recently featured in the television special Make ‘em Laugh: The Funny Business of America. From the accident of his birth and his success in Hollywood to his encounters with a Hollywood roster of stars, including Jodie Foster, Richard Pryor, Shirley Jones and Frank Sinatra, Madden chronicles the triumphs and tragedies of his life.

“If anyone should write a book about his life in and out of showbiz, it’s Dave Madden. I’ve always thought he was one of the funniest and most clever guys around. I enjoyed reading Reuben On Wry very much,” says longtime friend, Jonathan Winters.

More details on the book are available on the official site: ReubenKincaidBook.com.


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