Theater Arts Unit Radio Theater and Comedic Radio Theater Play

Rated 4.79 out of 5, based on 42 reviews
42 Ratings
Grade Levels
7th - 10th, Homeschool
Formats Included
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  • Activity
54 pages
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This THREE WEEK (50 pages) radio theater unit, with roles for 16+ students, teaches everything there is to know about radio theater and performing an original comical radio play written by an award winning middle grade author. It is suitable for middle and high school drama classes or upper elementary gifted classes and includes:

• A lesson on the history of radio theater

• Information about Foley engineers

• Three links to video clips of Foley engineers

• Student-created sound effect project

• Five links to radio play performances (some vintage and some recent)

• A mini-lesson in writing and producing radio commercials

• Links to four commercials and two acting exercises focused on sound effects

• Procedure plan to follow day by day throughout the unit

• Teacher’s script--what I say and how I say it!

• A sound effects quiz with a teacher's key

• How to use one's voice advice

• Sound effects suggestions for play including links

• Music suggestions for play including links

• Directing suggestions and floor plan

• A student group example of a radio commercial

• Trivia about radio stars and shows-Betty White and Orphan Annie

• Exit slips for daily use

• An original radio comedy play script, "Bow Wow Blues" with roles for 16+ students is suitable for classroom use and includes sound effects and music cues all ready placed in the script for you!

In my thirty-eight years of teaching drama, this radio theater unit is one of my most popular lessons with students.

In addition, a teacher could use this play as a distance learning lesson. #DistancelearningTPT

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Note: This product was updated April 3, 2022 .

Synopsis of Bow Wow Blues:

From town to town, the Witty Gritty Gang is hitting all the banks in eastern Missouri. The year is 1932. The Dust Bowl Days are past and there are no crops and no money. But what little money is left, the Witty Gritty Gang has stolen.

Heading for their home of Chicago, the gang stops at Mavi’s Diner for breakfast and to strategize their next steps homeward. Little do they know the police detectives of Harrison Stone and Harry Harrison are following right behind them.

Over a cup of coffee, the Witty Gritty Gang becomes acquainted with the detectives. A funny conversation ensues between them. When the detectives nearly have the gang in their grips, the leader of the gang’s girlfriend appears suddenly. Joe abandoned Deenie in Kansas City and is now in cahoots with the detectives. (Or is she?) Joe admits the real reason why he dumped Deenie in K.C. and it’s not to “get invisible” in Chicago as everyone thinks. Something is mentioned about getting home to Smoochie?

Putting everyone in handcuffs, the gang is arrested. As the detective is saying his goodbyes to Mavis and his diner friends, the Witty Gritty Gang escapes junior detective Harrison and takes off again.

Will Sergeant Stone and Officer Harrison catch up with the Witty Gritty Gang? Or will they give up, sit down and have the rest of the cherry pie, with ice cream and early in the morning?

Tune in for another episode of “Gangster Theater!” brought to you by Giggling Ginseng, the cream that gives you that "get up and go giggling feeling."


Comprehensive? You bet! This is an engaging, successful teaching and learning experience created by an award-winning, veteran drama teacher of thirty-eight years.

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Total Pages
54 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 Weeks
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Analyze the extent to which a filmed or live production of a story or drama stays faithful to or departs from the text or script, evaluating the choices made by the director or actors.
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


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