Thrilling Adventure Hour #71: Amelia Earhart, Fearless Flyer, “Vild Vild Vest”
By Katie Levine on May 14, 2012
Starring Autumn Reeser as Amelia Earhart and Jason Ritter as Billy the Kid. Also starring Hal Lublin, Craig Cackowski, Mark Gagliardi, Jeremy Carter, and Andy Daly. Recorded February 4, 2012.
This is one of the few episodes we’ve rerun at Largo. We first performed it with a nearly identical cast in February of 2011, but the audio from that month was damaged. So, we got to polish and rerun it this past February, bringing back Jason Ritter as Billy the Kid. Jason and Autumn Reeser have a charming chemistry—naturally, as they are both incredibly charming people.
For some reason, as I recall, this show came together fairly late and we had a hell of a time finding someone to play the Frau Grausamkeit, the “Lioness of the Reich.” Back in 2011, our pal Kirsten Vangsness was to play the part but she got terribly sick the day of the show, and Tom Lenk went on in her place. We already had Andy Daly set as Otto Drangt, the role he played in the previous Amelia, and we needed someone who could hold her own against Andy’s comic brilliance. I think we went to all of the awesome comic actresses we know —- and there are a lot of them —- but no one was available the night of the show. Having recently played so often with the geniuses at SuperEgo, we decided to… go in a different direction and cast Jeremy Carter who just kills it. Jeremy finds the weird as well as the pathos in every character he plays. It’s always a treat when he —- or any of the SuperEgo guys —- joins our show.
Rounding out the cast are Craig Cackowski and Mark Gagliardi as Nazis. Craig and Gags are particularly gifted making these supporting parts the stars of their own show (in the characters’ own minds). You can hear how the audience comes alive when Craig and Mark are playing.
Special note should be made of the music in this episode. Our pals HoneyHoney sang the theme song, which Andy Paley wrote with Acker, and I love the bluesy undertone Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe bring to it. Most impressive, though, is the work that assistant music supervisor Jonathan Dinerstein did in this piece. I believe Acker asked him to turn some Wagner and other German music into western, honky tonk (player piano) pieces. Dinerstein met the challenge and then some. We have a demo of the “HonkyValks” (player piano “Ride of the Valkyries”) that he did and hope to make it available someday. It’s really cool!
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