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updated: 2/27/2014 6:38 PM

Bartlett Park District staging retro radio show

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Kids, before streaming videos and -- gasp! -- television, there was a little ritual each night.

Families would gather around a thing called the radio. Maybe you've never heard of it. It looked clunky. Usually decked out with a doily or a plant on top.

The broadcasts -- no pictures, mind you -- managed to take hold of an audience with clever sound effects. In between those plugs for Ovaltine, mysterious voices brought whodunits to life.

The Bartlett Park District thinks it can recreate all that. Why? A dose of nostalgia from time to time is a good thing.

In a live production of a western, characters will revive the golden age of radio. And here comes the twist -- viewers can watch the actors use unusual contraptions for the show's soundtrack.

"You have to use your imagination," says Stephanie FitzSimons, the park district's marketing manager and head of the theater program.

Catch the performance at 7 p.m. Friday at the Bartlett Nature Center, 2054 W. Stearns Road.

Tickets are $7 per person or $20 for a family of at least four. For more details, call (630) 540-4800 or visit

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