Randy Robbins

Before television, radio was the internet of they day and family entertainment meant gathering around the radio to listen to programs such as “Casablanca.”

Ellensburg Theater Company (ETC) continues to pay homage to those yesteryear radio dramas by bringing “Casablanca” to the stage.

The show, which opened Friday, will continue at 7:30 tonight (Dec. 1) with the final show at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. It is staged at the Rogue Playhouse at 94196 Moore St. in Gold Beach.

“Casablanca’ is the story of Rick Blaine (Chip Weinert) a weary, cynical, ex-patriate who runs a night club in Casablanca, Morocco, during the early stages of World War II. His establishment has become a safe place for a variety of rough and tumble characters hoping to escape to America by seeking fraudulent letters to make it so. Everything seems to be on track until Ilsa (Gerri Kendall) a former flame of Rick’s, shows up at Rick’s café with her current husband in tow. Things start to go sideways fast and Rick is faced with some grueling choices ahead.

Moviegoers may remember the iconic, Humphrey Bogart in the big screen role of Rick playing opposite Ingrid Bergman in the MGM film that became a classic.

This play adaptation is by Joan Allison and Murray Bennett. Longtime Gold Beach thespian and director Michael Hall lends his stage experience directing “Casablanca” and is joined by what he describes as “a marvelous and talented cast” consisting of Weinert, Tracy Ellenbecker, Tucker Nunn, Kirk Moore, Kendall, Don Wood, Austin Sanders and Mark Lanier.

Ellenbecker describes his character, Franz Ugarte as “a truly evil man who thinks he is suave.” Weinert sees Rick as “a really good dude who is total denial. I like that about him, it’s great fun.”

Patrick Hall is in charge of a myriad of sound effects throughout the production. The biggest challenge for radio? Hall said, “duplicating the sound of a DC-3 airliner!”

Tickets at the door are $10 for adults. Students are $8 with a special “buy one, get one free” admission.

Brookings radio station KCIW will be on hand tonight to tape the show for broadcast at a future date.

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