|The show must go on! -- Jim Moll as Clifton Feddington|
Jim Moll doesn’t do anything small. From his physical presence to his booming voice, he is larger than life. No wonder he is such a commanding authority figure, having served as an educator and high school principal for nearly 40 years in the Birmingham and Royal Oak school districts. Jim brings this same manic energy to his role as Clifton Feddington, one of the principal characters in The 1940s Radio Hour. Clifton is the master of ceremonies of the radio show. He is a bundle of nervous energy before the show, but a polished performer once on the air.
As Jim describes his character, “Clifton is an old hand in show business and the driving force behind the weekly radio variety hour. He's a bit of a nudge -- gets pretty worked up before going on the air, but all things seem to settle in once the on the air lights flash. He's at home behind a microphone and, despite his overly theatric nerves, the cast does like and respect him. He cares about the performers and about the ‘boys over there.’”
By “boys,” Jim refers to the American soldiers fighting in World War II, which is a central theme of the play. The action takes place in New York City on December 21, 1942, and the play is reminiscent of an actual radio variety show, with songs and commercials from the World War II era, including 40’s favorites such as “Strike Up the Band” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” The 1940s music really resonates with Jim: “I'm easily the oldest member of the cast - my dad and the rest of his family all fought in WWII. Forties music was common in my home when I was small, and many of the folks in my generation saw this time as the last time that the country was involved in a war effort that was worth fighting. The show is a real joy to be a part of -- the music's great, the dialog clever and funny, and my character is a wonderful guy. I love his hammy-ness when on air and his fluidity while on microphone. He's a good guy, basically, and he is pretty genuine.”
While Jim seems very natural on stage as Clifton, he admits that “finding the balance between the before-air and on-air Clifton is a challenge. He's just so nervous and reactive before he gets in front of the studio audience -- and his mania can't take over for the audience.” Jim is certainly not shy in front of audiences, having participated for years in Farmington School community musicals. His Farmington Players’ credits include: You Can’t Take It With You (Paul Sycamore); Leaving Iowa (Dad); The Producers (Roger DeBris); and To Kill a Mockingbird (Walter Cunningham)The 1940s Radio Hour opens November 30th and runs through December 22nd. Reserved seats for this musical comedy sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers are available now at www.farmingtonplayers.org or at the box office (248) 553-2955.