At the head of this post, you will see “Red Popeye Shirt,” episode 148 of Radio Free Charleston. This edition of our show is hosted from a very soggy Veteran’s Memorial in Nitro, and presents music from the rock opera, “MARY” and Frenchy and the Punk.

Jonathan Tucker and Sarah Schlies from "MARY"

In this episode  we bring you three songs filmed during the rehearsals for the Charleston institution, “Mary.” This is the fifteenth production of “Mary” the Scarpelli/Kehde rock opera from The Contemporary Youth Arts Company. We also have a brand new music video from our friends, Frenchy and the Punk, plus animation by Rudy Panucci, and we also have more confusing superhero action from Turkey, in honor of Thanksgiving.

“Mary” the rock opera about the birth of Christ, has become a Christmas tradition here in Charleston. This orginal work by Mark Scarpelli and Dan Kehde opens at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater the day after Thanksgiving. We snuck our cameras into a rehearsal last week, before the full orchestra was on hand, and before the cast had microphones to work with, so we could bring you this preview before the show opens. This is the fourth year that RFC has brought you part of “MARY,” and we are proud to present three songs from the show for you this week. First up we have Jonathan Tucker as Joseph and Sarah Schlies as Mary, perofrming “First Star.”

Donnie Smith as Herod in "MARY"

One of the cool things about “MARY” is that people have a hard time believing that it was created locally, but it did indeed spring from the creative wellspring of the fondly-remembered all ages venue, Common Grounds. Our next song from “MARY” features Donnie Smith as Herod, with “Most Powerful Man in Judea.”

Sarah Schlies is "MARY"

On the way out this week we go back to “MARY” one more time, as Sarah Schies sings a beautiful rendition of “Child, My Child,” one of the signature tunes from the show. The Contemporary Youth Arts Company will present its 15th annual production of the Scarpelli-Kehde rock opera “MARY” at 8 pm November 25-26, 2 pm on November 27, and 8 pm December 1-3, at the WVSU Capitol Center, 123 Summers Street, Charleston. RFC Big Shot and Resident Diva, Melanie Larch, is the assistant director of “MARY” this year.

A scene from Frenchy and the Punk's "Dark Carnivale"

You may remember our musical buddies from New York, Frenchy and the Punk. We featured them a few weeks ago on RFC 143. Samatha and Scott are currently working on an ambitious recording project that will result in two CDs of brand-new music. They have also created a new music video for a song from their latest CD, “Happy Madness.” Here is the music video for “Dark Carnivale” from Frenchy and the Punk, on RFC.

I’d like to thank Dan Kehde and Mark Scarpelli, as well as the cast of “Mary” and also Frenchy and the Punk for this week’s music. In addition to our musical offerings, we present a confusing clip from a Turkish supehero movie in honor of Turkey Day, and my short art film, “Oranges No. 1,” about which people have remarked, “at least it’s short.”

That’s it for the behind the scenes info on this week’s show. Please come out to see “Mary” and don’t forget to order the latest CD from Frenchy and the Punk.