We're all familiar with the concept behind radio variety shows. After all, we've got one of the only still-successful productions, A Prairie Home Companion, going on in our capital city. But deep in the heart of Uptown, an intrepid performance group calling itself Radio All Stars has toiled hard to retool the format for a younger, hipper audience. The brainchild of host Dave Mondy and producer Melissa Lacasse (who both have ties to Prairie Home), the All Stars bring musical, acting, and production talent to the Bryant-Lake Bowl stage. DJ King Otto spins bumper tunes behind a bank of turntables as sound-effects whiz Elliott Durko Lynch hunches over his laptop. The cast, meanwhile, navigates a small forest of microphones. Mondy, joined by Dawn Brodey and Shannon O'Keefe, voices The Spectre: The World's Most Average Superhero, an ongoing (and hilarious) radio play about a born loser with the gift (or curse?) of turning half-invisible. Other recurring segments such as Mad Lib News (an NPR-like news report with random words interjected inappropriately), and Blog Theater (read-out-loud collections of sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant blog text) form a strong core show. On top of that, the guest lineup has been powerfully entertaining; storytellers Amy Salloway and Rik Reppe and musicians Omaur Bliss and Black Blondie have graced past shows. With all new shows and guests booked until April 13, there's no reason to spend a Sunday at home. But if you must, check out the podcast recordings, available at radioallstars.org.
Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: March 30. Continues through April 13, 2008