The production get underway on Wednesday in Norwich, Conn.
Excerpt from the Aug. 24, 2011 Norwich Bulletin:
Brett Bernardini believes the era in which a 1930s “War of the Worlds” radio program terrified a portion of the United States is similar to today’s.
That’s one of the reasons he signed on to have Spirit of Broadway Theater produce the first professional production of “Panic,” a behind-the-scenes look at that fateful 1938 Halloween night of the most famous radio broadcast in history when America was treated to an adaptation by Orson Welles of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds.”
“It’s had two productions, they were non-professional productions,” said Bernardini, Spirit’s chief executive officer and “Panic” director. Bernardini said he discovered “Panic” after producing writer Stephen Dolginoff’s “Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story” in 2009.
“I’m really fascinated with the parallels between 1938 and 2011,” Bernardini said. “They’re almost identical. You can take any of those news stories from either era and swap them. Whether from the financial crisis to the big boogeyman who’s going to come get you be it Hitler in 1938 to Al Qaeda now.”
“I’m fascinated with not only could this happen again ... but more importantly, what role does media play today in shaping our lives and how much of it is true, how much of it is, for lack of a better word, simply propaganda,” Bernardini said. “You know, from the Rush Limbaughs of the world who have an opinion that may or may not be based on fact, to other media who is ‘fair and balanced reporting.’ ”
Daniel Patrick Smith, of New Jersey, portrays the now famous Welles.
“It’s a little intimidating,” Smith said of playing the man who went on to star in and direct “Citizen Kane.” “But I think it’s exciting in that it’s a side of (Welles) we haven’t seen before.”
A more complete version of this article can be found at http://www.norwichbulletin.com/entertainment/x351391485/Panic-opens-Wednesday-at-Spirit-of-Broadway#axzz1W2tqRmgF