The Martians are invading the Center of the Universe!

To celebrate the 80th anniversary of Orson Welles’s 1938 broadcast of The War of the Worldsthis October, the Ashland Players will perform a staged reading of the radio play as the group’s inaugural production. The production is directed by the Ashland Players’ founders, Amy George Brown and Matteo Pangallo, and features the voice talents of Meriwether Delano Gilmore, Gina McKenzie, Jack Mooney, Don Polaski, and Woody Robertson, with foley sound effects by Jason Morris and recorded sound design by Bill McElroy of Slipped Disc Audio.

“It’s been eight decades since the Mercury-Theater-on-the-Air broadcast,” Pangallo observes, “but that event still stands out in our national memory as a vivid demonstration of how public credulity can succumb to compelling, though fabricated, narratives that play on fear and hysteria.” The radio play, which playwright Howard Koch adapted and updated from the 1897 H. G. Wells novel, aired on CBS on October 30, 1938 and caused a panic among listeners across the country who thought the fictional story of a nearly-apocalyptic Martian invasion of Earth a real news broadcast. “The Ashland Players’ script is based on the 1938 broadcast,” Pangallo notes, “though with a few revisions to really bring it home for a Richmond-area audience.”

Performances will be at Ashland Coffee and Tea (100 N. Railroad Ave, Ashland, VA) at 7:00pm on October 26 and 27. Tickets are $12-$20 and include a choice from several different meals Americans were eating at the time of the original broadcast. Wine and beer will also be available for purchase. Tickets can be booked at or by calling 804-299-3604.

The Ashland Players is dedicated to making meaningful, accessible, and enjoyable theater part of the cultural life of Ashland and the surrounding communities. For more information about the Players, The War of the Worlds, or to become a sponsor, visit or contact