The Panic Broadcast | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

The Panic Broadcast


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


When Orson Welles's adaptation of H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds was broadcast in 1938, panic ensued: many radio listeners missed the disclaimer and believed Martians really were invading. In this entertaining but uneven late-night show, writer-performers Cary Cronholm, David Petitti, Wayne Graham, and Thea Lux depict people's desperation, ill-fated heroism, and opportunism in comic and dramatic sketches using the Welles recording. Though the serious scenes lack intensity, the actors get subdued laughs whenever the script comically exploits the period, from the way that people talked to the patronizing view of women. And the show is relevant to our fear of attack and fervent embrace of heroism today. Yet under Bob Ladewig's direction the performers sometimes flub lines or react slowly, which makes the character's anxieties seem artificial. Overall The Panic Broadcast lacks a crucial sense of urgency. Through 3/4: Fri 10:30 PM. Second City, Donny's Skybox Studio, Piper's Alley, 1608 N. Wells (fourth floor), 312-337-3992. $10.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment