The radio play makes a comeback amid the COVID-19 pandemic

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the closure of movie and live theaters – actors and performers have been finding new ways to create. And one art form from the old days of radio is getting a new life.
Catching a new play may just be a click away as the radio play format makes a comeback.
Actor Andrew Sellon recently lent his voice to an audio play of Shakespeare’s “Richard II,” developed by a Jersey City theater company.
“It’s very exciting, actually. It’s very cool,” Sellon says. “This is a whole production with sound effects and music and everything. To me, you see the whole thing in your head as if you are there in the theater.”
Other professional theater companies that are unable to stage live shows are also turning to the audio format. Dreamcatcher Reparatory of Summit will release a play in October. Newark-based Audible currently has 15 audio plays in production, according to a company spokesperson.
“What our ears are able to do is so incredible,” says Kimberly Senior, who has directed several plays for Audible, including one starring Harvey Fierstein – based on the life of feminist icon Bella Abzug.
Senior says that audio plays demand more imagination from creators and the audience.
“I am such a visual person and visual thinker that I have had to rewire my brain to be able to do this work and I love that challenge,” she says.
While Audible has temporarily stopped recording at its Minetta Lane theatre in Manhattan and at its New Jersey studios due to the pandemic, actors are recording roles remotely - giving voice to an art form at a time when more people may be wanting to listen.