The moment you begin a conversation with radio show host Judy Stadt, you just know you’re talking to a bona fide star. Though she’s likely perched in front of the mic at WTBQ studios in Warwick — where she delivers her weekly variety program, The Lunch and Judy Show — she speaks dreamily, as if waltzing across a Broadway stage. Not that that is much of a stretch: an accomplished television and theater actress (who’s appeared in Spin City, All My Children, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, to name a few), Stadt certainly knows how to shine in any spotlight.
“Honey, I was born to be an entertainer,” she points out with a throaty chuckle. And entertain, she does: Stadt’s radio show covers just about everything, from renditions of jazz hits and spoken word poetry, to interviews with celebrity friends (like Renee Taylor from The Nanny), to heartfelt (and occasionally provocative) discussions about life in general.
Of course, Stadt’s varied background — or the fact that audiences have dubbed her the American Judi Dench — might have something to do with her celebrity demeanor, too. A quick look at her résumé reveals that she’s appeared in more than a dozen films and 80 plays (several of which she wrote herself); produced illustrations and greeting cards for her company, JudyStadt Graphics; designed fashion jewelry for JStadt Jewelry (found at high-end retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue) and clothing for the now-retired Judith & Charles boutiques in Rockland County. She’s even a licensed real-estate sales representative. Throw in a handful of awards (including Rockland County’s “Entertainer of the Year”) and skills in jazz-singing, character-voicing, puppeteering, ballroom- and tap-dancing, and you’ve got a regular Renaissance woman.
Which begs the question: Why does Stadt limit herself to radio?
“All of my life I’ve been a devotee of radio,” she proclaims. “I grew up with it in the Golden Age, as they say, with all of the wonderful programming and comedies and entertainment. It’s always been a part of me.”
So it’s only natural that The Lunch and Judy Show, which celebrated its first year on-air this past May, pays tribute to Stadt’s upbringing, when she listened to 1940s and ’50s broadcasts featuring hosts like Arthur Godfrey and programs such as Let’s Pretend.
“No one knows how to communicate anymore — there’s too much hate in the world,” Stadt sighs, referring to today’s talk radio. “I want everybody to laugh. The ’40s were so naïve and very sweet. I’d like us to get back to that kind of closeness, the way it used to be. We’re so lucky in this country that we have such a diverse population — there’s so much to learn from each other. So let’s chat!
The Lunch and Judy Show airs at 3 p.m. on Saturdays on WTBQ 1110AM, Warwick (call 845-651-1110 to chat live), and at 11 a.m. on Thursdays on WRCR 1300AM, Spring Valley. Listen live at www.mediaontap.com/radio/lunchandjudy.php. You can also find it on PWRN (Positive World Radio Network).