Top: Lester Tooley (right), a federal fraud investigator
played by Stephen Michael Ayers, is confronted by the first Mother Divine,
played by Kat Williams, in a scene from Western’s New York City
performance of “Mother Divine.”
“The interview with WOR was a late night, well...early morning...event...we arrived around 1 a.m. the WOR studio in mid-town Manhattan....1440 Broadway and went through the usual New York protocol of guards, phones and buzzers to go to the 23rd floor. The show reaches an overnight audience of 8.5 million and the format is something like being in a pinball machine (and the guests are the pinballs). It is zany, late night radio....”
WOR radio agreed to let them take a recording of the talk show for editing
and rebroadcast on Western’s FM station WWCU with the help of Don Connelly.
Stay tuned for further details!
Earlier, Vartabedian and cast member Bobbi Baker (who plays Miss Handsome Is As Handsome Does) made a special trip to the Harlem School of the Arts to talk with staff and students about the play. Several of the staff members there remembered former Harlem evangelist Father Divine, whose real life exploits are the focus of the fictional “Mother Divine.”
In the show, death, taxes and vows of celibacy create mayhem in Father Divine’s mission in 1930’s era New York. The first Mother Divine seeks revenge from the grave when her 60-year old husband (who claims he’s God) marries a 20-ish blonde.
“Mother Divine” was the fourth and final production of the newly formed Western Carolina Stage Company, a joint venture of the Division of Continuing Education and Summer School and the department of communication and theatre arts. Summer Theatre 2003 is Western’s first step in establishing a residential theatre company as part of the Actor’s Equity Association, the professional union for actors. The final performance of “Mother Divine” in New York is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 16.