John Steinbeck wrote With Your Wings, a radio script about a Black airman returning from the second world war, for Orson Welles in 1944. It was performed once on Welles’ program, then seemingly disappeared forever.
With Your Wings, which had never been officially published, was re-discovered in 2014. And tonight, St. Petersburg’s Radio Theatre Project – which has been bringing dramas, chillers and comedies old and new to audio life since 2009 – livestreams a performance of the brief, dramatic work by none other than Bob Devin Jones.
It’s the second Radio Theatre Project project in this, the year of our pandemic, and the last one on the schedule until the group returns to live shows, in October, at thestudio@620.
RTP co-founder and producer Bonnie Agan fell in love with With Your Wings when she read it in The Strand magazine a few years ago. “Once I read it, I knew we had to do it – and Bob had to read it,” she says. “That was all there was to it. So I was like a pitbull; I just kept going after it.”
When Jones first rehearsed the work, Agan says “I just cried immediately. It is just a beautiful story. Steinbeck’s writing, every word is just so delicious, and so precious.”
At the end of With Your Wings, Sharon Scott will sing the spiritual “Going Home.”
It’s paired tonight with FAX News at Five, a new comedy from St. Pete playwright Tom Sivak, with actors Lisa Tricomi, Jim Wicker, David Warner and Dean Wick.
Two weekends ago, Agan herself returned to live performance as a member of the cast of American Stage’s Uncaged, outdoors at The Factory St. Pete.
“It was overwhelming, the audience response,” she recalls. “Just because they’re so starved for live entertainment. They stood, and they kept clapping, and then they started crying, and we started crying. It was amazing.”
With Your Wings and FAX News at Five are streamed today at 7 p.m. over thestudio@620 Facebook page. Details are here.