Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


It’s ‘war’ with UT’s newest production

has been 70 years since Orson Welles first gained widespread notoriety for
sending the nation into a state of panic with his iconic radio broadcast, “The
War of the Worlds.” Nevertheless, this terrifying chronicle of a Martian
invasion has stood the test of time and still manages to captivate audiences

tomorrow night, University Theatre will continue this tradition of striking fear
in the hearts of audience members when it celebrates the anniversary of this
fateful occasion with something that has never been done before — a stage
adaptation of the historic event.

what better time of year for this production than right now.


thought, you know, Madison seems to like Halloween, so wouldn’t this be a great
appetizer for the season. So we decided to do this and make it a part of the
early celebration of fall and Halloween,” director Tony Simotes said.

when it came time to actually bring this play to life, Simotes and crew were
confronted with the monumental task of reimagining something from the past into
something brand new and will still provide audiences with a chilling and
exciting night of theater. The result of this innovative team’s work is a
fast-paced, multilayered production that continues to build and escalate within
the confines of a 1930s radio station.

begin the performance are the jazz instrumentals and soul acts reminiscent of
the musical numbers which were enjoyed during the intermissions between
classical radio programs.

the “program” will be the play, “The Monkey’s Paw,” which is performed onstage as
if it were a radio show.

after this play has started, it is suddenly interrupted with a series of news
bulletins describing some eerie happenings that have begun to take place.

?It’s not long until the audience is fully
immersed in a visually gripping recreation of the “The War of the Worlds.”

is a lot more room for playing and interacting with the audience in this
performance that you usually do not see in theater. Throughout the play there
is the sense that we are reporting directly to someone and that the audience is
physically there,” said UW junior Raechel Zarzynski, who takes on numerous
roles in the production.

this is not going to be your granddaddy’s “War of the Worlds.” Simotes has
retooled the original broadcast by moving the story’s setting from New York to
the Madison area in order to help the audience relive the era with something
that is more familiar.

made sure to use a lot of local landmarks,” Simotes said. “When the cylinder
comes from Mars, it is seen from the Washburn Observatory. And it doesn’t land
at Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, but instead it lands in Black Earth, Wisconsin,
and then crosses the marshes of Monona.”

a partnership that began last year, UT will also work with Wisconsin Public
Radio to perform its show live for the radio station at a special curtain time
of 8 p.m. Oct. 4 so that all of Madison and the surrounding Dane County can
partake in an exclusive production that will be even more akin to the original.

is really unique about this story, though, is how even after 70 years, it still
feels relevant to today’s society.?

you think about it in comparison to events like Hurricane Katrina and 9/11, it
is very easy to see the similarities in how people try to pull themselves
together and deal with tragic situations like this,” Zarzynski said, “They both
deal with the fundamental fear of ‘how do we go against something that we do
not know how to stop or control.'”

if you are looking for a great way to start getting into that Halloween spirit
with a powerful drama that still resonates today, make your way out to the new,
construction-free grounds of Mitchell Theatre.

really hope that we get students aboard to come have a great time and feel the
spirit of this story still alive out on stage. It is the kind of theater where
you not only get a strong shot of entertainment but also a good piece of
theater,” Simotes said.?


Theatre’s production of “The War of the Worlds” runs through Oct. 11. For
tickets call
or go online to

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *