THE WAR OF
The 1938 Radio Script
Evening performances 7.30pm Friday 15 and 22 March, and Saturday 23 March
Matinee performances 2pm Saturday 16 and 23 March 2019
Cabaret style seating
Tickets available soon from
Directed by Clare Patrick & Corinne Teese
Pre-Show Vocal Coordinator Bec Teese
Pianist Joanna Funk
Brigadier General Montgomery Smith
BAMS Theatre Inc. is excited to announce our first production of 2019 - the infamous 1938 radio play The War of the Worlds, by Howard E. Koch, based on the novel by H.G. Wells. The evening will also include a musical pre-show celebrating songs of the 1930s.
THE WAR OF THE WORLDS: The 1938 Radio Script
By Howard E. Koch, based on the novel by H.G. Wells
On Sunday, October 30, 1938 in New York, a 23 year old, relatively unknown, Orson Welles made history. After this day, almost everyone in America knew his name.
No one could have foreseen, least of all Orson Welles, the panic that would grip the people of America during the transmission of Mercury Theatre's latest radio play for CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System). They were not a hugely successful radio show at this time and competed with many more established family radio shows, such as The Lone Ranger. In an effort to raise their profile and attract new listeners, Orson Welles chose to do an innovative adaption of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, which depicts the alien invasion of Earth by creatures from Mars. He instructed script writer, Howard E. Koch, to write it as if it were a current event, including "live" news reports and interviews with "experts" interrupting the supposedly "real" program and musical acts.
The result was a fast-paced, nail-biting, and ground-breaking radio play. But, in striving for an exciting "real-life alien invasion" experience for his listeners, Orson Welles did not anticipate the reaction of those who tuned in after the play had begun. These listeners missed a very crucial piece of information:
ANNOUNCER: The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air in The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells.
Unfortunately, for the listeners who tuned into the CBS after this announcement, the harrowing news reports of a Martian invasion of Earth seemed shockingly real.
They did not realise it was only a play.