Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel

Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel, starring Groucho Marx and his brother Chico Marx, was produced in 1932-33 and ran for 26 episodes as part of the NBC Five Star Theatre variety show. After their success on vaudeville and their first four films, the Marxes were one of Hollywood’s brightest comedy teams. While the silent comedy of Harpo Marx couldn’t be utilized on radio, Groucho and Chico were hired to play attorney Waldorf T. Flywheel and his assistant, Emmanuel Ravelli on the program, which aired every Monday evening from WJZ Radio in New York. It is known as their “lost” radio show because no recordings exist, but the short-lived series greatly influenced later classic Marx Brothers films such as Duck Soup and The Big Store that used many of its characters and routines.

The show will be performed on Sunday, October 21 at 2:30pm at The Campus Theatre in Lewisburg.  The performance will be recorded and broadcast at a later date on WVIA public radio. This event is being co-produced by RiverStage Community Theatre in a partnership with The Campus Theatre, and directed by Jennifer Wakeman and Daniel Brehm.

This show is FREE and open to the public; no tickets necessary.


Fred Martin (Announcer): Fred’s theatrical debut should have occurred in 1966 when he was cast as the doctor in his senior class play, Cheaper by the Dozen. For reasons still unknown, that production never materialized so instead of pursuing the beaux arts or medicine, he attended law school, became a trial attorney, and practiced elocution before federal judges until earlier this year. This production represents the beginning of Fred’s “encore” career. His muses for this role include George Fenneman, Gary Owens and Carl Kasell.
Brian Lose (Chico Marx as Emmanuel Ravelli) is a junior at Selinsgrove Area High School where he has been in several plays and musicals. He has also worked at Millbrook Playhouse in Lock Haven. He hopes to make a career in filmmaking.
Jove Graham (Groucho Marx as Waldorf T. Flywheel) previously appeared in Milton Area Community Theatre’s productions of A Funny Thing… (as Pseudolus) and Jekyll & Hyde. He received his B.A. in Theatre from Swarthmore College, and has worked onstage or backstage at the Arden Theatre Company, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Montgomery Playhouse, and Bucknell University. He has been a Marx fan since age 11 and is thrilled to be doing this show with such a great cast.
Donnie Mapes (Landlord / Fischer): I am the entertainer, the idol of my age. I make all kinds of money, when I go on the stage. You see me in the papers, I’ve been in the magazines. But if I go cold I won’t get sold, I’ll get put in the back on the discount rack, like another can of beans.
Andrew Shaffer (Reginald Thorndyke / Customer): Andrew’s past roles have included Iago in Othello, Macbeth in Macbeth, Polonius in Hamlet, Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet and Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Andrew lives in Lewisburg where he works as a software engineer.
Dennis Merkle (Doorman / Collector): While primarily a behind the scenes kind of guy, later in life Dennis has been in front of the curtain as Andrew in Love Letters and has directed a local production of Butterflies are Free. He is grateful for the hard work and dedication of Jennifer and Dan to make this production come alive and appreciates the opportunity to work with this talented cast. Dennis lives in Winfield and works in Lewisburg. He says, “Love you, Deb, Sara and Christopher.”
Kathi P. Beiter (Priscilla Kent) has trouble remembering her favorite roles as Sister Amnesia, Sister Amnesia and Sister Amnesia in MACT’s Nunsense. (Where’s my puppet?) She is also a voice and piano teacher with an understanding husband and 4 kids, all of whom she has roped intro dramatic productions over the years. She and husband Tom currently direct the St. Joseph’s School Drama Club.
Sarah Bell (Customer #1 / Kleptomaniac) was a theatre and management major in college and has played small and large roles in community theatre in the vibrant yet remote towns of Titusville, PA and Morris, MN. She works as a career counselor and educator for Bucknell University and frequently tells students how useful her theater skills are in her work. She is very grateful for the enthusiasm and support her family–Loren, Max and Lucy–have shown for her getting back into theatre!
Brad Wakeman (Customer #2 / Sheriff / Clancy) lives in Lewisburg with his wife Jennifer and their two daughters. He has worked for Geisinger System Services for more than 17 years. He is the regional commissioner for Lewisburg AYSO and an active member of the Susquehanna Valley Chorale. Brad has appeared in several MACT productions and is happy to part of RiverStage Community Theatre’s inaugural season!
Jenn Krell (Singing Woman) recently graduated from Mount Vernon Nazarene University with a B.A. in music. She has performed in shows with the Mifflinburg High School theater department, Milton Area Community Theatre, Mount Vernon Players and Mount Vernon theater department. She is a theater lover who has worked as an actor, director, choregrapher and hopes to never stop!
Gloria Lehman (Secretary) has performed with Rockwell Productions, Ltd. at the Grand Candlelight Theater in Milton and the Media Theater for Performing Arts in Media, PA. She has enjoyed working with Theater in a Truck Players at Central Oak Heights, Valley Players, and Custom Taylored Productions. Music, singing and gardening are favorite pastimes.
Mary Ann Stanton (Floorlady) lives in Lewisburg, PA with her husband Ryan and two children, and works for her alma mater, Bucknell University as an associate director of development. A theatre major in college, Mary Ann is pleased to have the opportunity to combine her professional expertise with her passion, theatre.
Corey Woodcock (Woman Customer): Corey moved to New Columbia 3 years ago and lives with her husband and two beautiful fur baby boxers, Gracie & Buddha. She has been in numerous musical comedies in Connecticut, but this is her first time onstage in PA, and she looks forward to many happy years with RiverStage Community Theatre.
Kathy Coup (Production Stage Manager): With no experience in–but a lifelong love of–theatre, Kathy is happy to take this opportunity to learn about the stage. With nearly twenty years of radio experience, she thinks these classic Marx Brothers radio plays are a great initiation.
Jennifer Wakeman (Director / Miss Dimple): Jennifer lives in Lewisburg with her husband Brad and their two daughters, Rachel and Samantha. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Washington & Lee University. She is the host and content producer for CCN’s In Your Neighborhood which airs on CATV and Service Electric Cablevision. Jennifer has appeared in several MACT shows and made her directorial debut in last fall’s production of Over The River and Through The Woods. She is thrilled to be co-directing RiverStage Community Theatre’s premiere production with her good friend, Dan Brehm!
Daniel Brehm (Director): Dan has been actively involved in theatre for the past 30 years as a performer, choreographer and director. Having worked in professional, regional, dance, community and educational theatre has given Dan a diverse perspective to direct RiverStage’s production of Flywheel. He is happy to be co-directing with his friend Jennifer Wakeman and pleased to be working with such a talented pool of individuals from the surrounding communities.