Directed by Trevor Leigh
This beloved holiday classic came to life as a live 1940s radio broadcast, playing in Osoyoos and Oliver from November 30 to December 9, 2018.
What's it about?
This inventive twist on Frank Capra’s classic film brings the ever-timely story of disaster, redemption and holiday magic to life on stage before your eyes and ears. It’s Christmas Eve, 1946 in the the Golden Age of radio. Five actors have gathered in WBFR Theatre of the Air for a live radio broadcast, ready to take on dozens or so characters and recreate Bedford Falls, with live Foley sound effects and high-energy performances.
It’s a Wonderful Life is about the life of George Bailey, a generous and well-meaning man who has become too downcast and tired to continue living. It will take help from a lovable angel to show George what life would be like if he wasn’t born for George to have a change of heart and understand the true spirit of the holidays.
Even the cynics among us cheered as George Bailey, standing on the brink of despair, famously learned that "no man is a failure who has friends.”
Some Comments from our Director
After I agreed to direct this play I was concerned; very concerned. What can I bring to this classic? How do you stage a radio play? Can I find an artistic crew of only 6 performers that can take this beautiful story that we know so well, and give it the life it needs?
I was a professional theatre artist for over 25 years and I rarely watched the film version of the plays I was part of until AFTER my theatre production closed. I made the mistake of watching A Streetcar Named Desire with Marlon Brando before I did my own rendition of Stanley in a 1990’s production in Calgary. I could never get Brando’s performance out of my mind. It haunted me from opening night until closing night.
What should I do? I broke my own rule. I watched the movie...a lot. I love this movie. I watched it some more.
I have borrowed (aka stolen) bits directly from the movie and had the actors include these bits in their performances; even including a few bizarre choices that Frank Capra, the director/writer of the film used, such as the “Hee Haw” bit that permeates the film from the start almost to the end.
I asked our actors to study the film; not to do impersonations of the film actors’ work, but to be inspired by the spirit of their performances. They are indelible characterizations that are part of the fabric of our Christmas and we celebrate them in our production.
We are inspired by Frank Capra’s film but it is our own live radio version. Different takes on characters, sound effects, different accents, different period music but we are true to Capra’s vision, the period, the spirit of the story and it fills me with joy every time I see (and hear) our version of it. I’m certain that our live radio production will inspire you, make you laugh, put you in the Christmas spirit and hopefully, if we have done our job right, bring you to the same realization that George Bailey comes to. This is indeed a wonderful life.
Thanks for coming and thanks for supporting the arts in our community!
- Trevor Leigh, Director
Joe Landry (Playwright)
At age 12, Joe's first job was in the film department at the library in his hometown of Fairfield, CT. Joe's other main interest was the theatre. Encouraged by his parents, Joe was introduced to various theatres which he came to call home, including Playwrights Horizons and Roundabout Theatre Company in New York, Westport Country Playhouse and others. In 1995, Joe founded Second Guess Theatre Company, which produced over two dozen new plays, adaptations and revivals to critical-acclaim. In 1997, It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play premiered in Stamford, CT and has since enjoyed productions around the USA and internationally. Joe's other plays include Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play and an adaptation of the cult classic Reefer Madness. Other projects include Mothers and Sons, a musical co-written with Kevin Connors and Lifeboat, Dahling!
Official website: www.joelandry.com
Cast and Crew
- FREDDY FILMORE (Announcer, Joseph and others)
- JAKE LAURENTS (George)
- SALLY APPLEWHITE (Mary)
- LANA SHERWOOD (Violet & others)
- HARRY "JAZZBO" HAYWOOD (voicing Clarence and many others)
- PHIL DiAIRE (Foley artist, provides live sound effects with a assortment of ... stuff?)
- Stage Manager
- Assistant Director
- Front of House