Airs Wednesday, December 19 at 2:30 p.m. “The Gift of the Magi” is Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre’s first radio play. The half-hour adaptation of O. Henry’s classic Christmas story was dramatized by Jack Heifner, SFA resident playwright and Broadway veteran writer, and directed by SFA Senior Lecturer Jackie Rosenfeld. Heifner opens his play in an early 20th century pub where an author named William Sidney Porter (O. Henry's real name) is heard worrying about a deadline for a Christmas story due to a New York magazine. An affectionate pair of youthful pub-goers inspires Porter to write what would become his best-known work—the story of a struggling young wife and husband who make extraordinary sacrifices to buy one another Christmas gifts. The presents prove so ironic that the twist ending has become one of the most famous in the history of the short story form.
The production was recorded in the School of Theatre's newly renovated, state-of-the-art sound laboratory. It features original music by Tyler sophomore Mason Lieberman and sound effects by CC Conn, Adjunct faculty member David Raine plays Pete the Bartender. The other characters are voiced by SFA students. Commerce junior Benn May plays Porter, and Richmond freshman Katy Rutherford portrays both the young woman in the pub and the young wife. Mesquite junior John Lisi plays her husband and the young man in the pub. British exchange students Helena Williams and Fenella Spillane, Houston junior Virginia Arteaga, Nacogdoches senior Kyla Williams, Orange sophomore Randy Wuske, and sophomore criminal justice major Jeron Humphrey of Dallas complete the cast. Visiting Assistant Professor Toni Smith provided vocal coaching for the actors. Nacogdoches senior Arrie Tucker is the assistant director, and freshman Ryann Underwood of West Chapel, Fla., serves as stage manager.