Northampton’s Academy of Music is currently developing an original play set in the 1940s, based on a steamy episode in the city’s history. Anticipating its debut next fall, the theater is setting the stage with an evening of even steamier entertainment recalling that wartime era. This Saturday’s show pairs a raunchy old-time radio drama with a swing band and a comedy burlesque show.
Radio Star is “just like the golden age of radio—only dirtier,” according to Tanya O’Debra, the writer/performer of this homage to hard-boiled detective fiction. Seated between a microphone and a sound effects board, she spins the story of private dick Nick McKitrick, hired by a murdered inventor’s widow to find his killer. Evoking while poking fun at the period, the hero’s interior monologue is liberally spiked with “unrestrained somatic puns and commentary on 1940s sexual conventions.” Winner of numerous festival awards, the show was described by a New York critic as “an absurd cross between John Waters and Raymond Chandler.”
Act One of the ’40s fiesta features a side combo of The O-Tones, one of the Valley’s favorite dance bands, drawing from the swing side of their repertoire; and three members of Rogue Burlesque, a troupe that bills itself as “Boston’s geekiest burlesque … influenced by Looney Tunes, film noir, punk rock, and circus arts.” The parody burly-q acts in this performance include a fan dance, a Chiquita banana peel and the sequin-spectacled “Busty” Keaton.
March 8, Academy of Music, 274 Main St., Northampton, $15, (413) 584-9032, academyofmusictheatre.com. Mature audiences only.