Radio theater

Talk Radio – Theater – The New York Times


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In “Talk Radio”, his only appearance on stage (the others also have small roles on stage) occurs when the curtain rises. This is Sid Greenberg, the tax advisor host of a show just before Barry Champlain’s. At the end of the tax show, Mr. Sietz switches from a bellowing announcer voice to a conversational voice, as if speaking through a megaphone that suddenly went off.

Credit…Sara Krulwich / The New York Times

After his exit, Mr. Sietz rushes to one of three soundproof booths – built directly under the stage in the Longacre’s basement – to play Mr. Schreiber’s first visitor, a transvestite. Shrugging and tilting his head into his character, Mr Sietz said, “He sounds a lot like Harvey Fierstein,” sounding – in equal parts gravel and honey – a lot like Harvey Fierstein.

The audio game has changed over the years. Harlan Hogan, author of “VO: Tales and Techniques of a Voice-Over Actor”, delivered familiar phrases like “Raid kills bugs fast, kills bugs dead”, “It’s the cereal that even Mikey loves” and this chestnut Head and Shoulders, “Because that little itch should tell you something.” When he started in the early 1970s, “everyone had gigantic voices,” he recalls, adding, “I was only 25 years old. It scared me. Today’s most sought-after voices are not necessarily the loudest, but rather those that sound familiar and authentic. “It’s less selling, more saying,” he said.

What starts out as a side job for extra money can turn into a lucrative career, said Johnna Gottlieb, a former voice agent who now works as a consultant and teaches a voice over class at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. from New York University. “You can make $ 10,000 a year doing it, but there are people who make millions,” she said. “I’ve had clients who are so successful in voiceovers that they’ve started to turn down theater roles.”

Barbara Rosenblat has made a specialty of a kind of vocal work that is close to acting. Ms. Rosenblat, whose “Talk Radio” characters include an elderly Russian woman obsessed with people who don’t drop out after their “doggies”, is one of the audiobook industry’s most beloved narrators. Noting her talent for accents, AudioFile magazine said Ms. Rosenblat “is to audiobooks what Meryl Streep is to movies”.

But while Ms. Streep nails an accent through performance, Ms. Rosenblat juggles several in a single page of a novel. “I remember one instance where Barbara was playing speakers from Thailand, Japan and China in a conversation, and she was able to say very clearly who was speaking,” said Claudia Howard, executive producer of Recorded Books publisher.

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