In this adaptation of the classic 1946 movie, written by Joe Landry in 1996, the acting company (Adena Brumer, Christopher Whiting, Jennifer Edwards, Jim Cunningham, Philip Callen, Ross Young, and Kevin Dutcher on piano) play radio actors who act out the story for a radio broadcast. It's Christmas Eve of 1946, so there are radio ads, period songs before the show, and of course, sound effects (provided by Christopher Whiting). The meal is served during the pre-show entertainment, with the third course (dessert!) at intermission, so there's little interference when the main story starts. These six actors play all of the roles in the film, transforming into different characters only by changing their voice and the way they speak. After 12 years they've become experts at recreating these characters and the lines we know so well (my favorites: "Zuzu's petals," "my mouth's bleeding, Bert," "Merry Christmas, you old building and loan," "why this old thing? I only wear it when I don't care how I look," and of course, "every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings"), and appear to be having as good a time as the audience.
|the cast of It's A Wonderful Life|
(photo courtesy of the St. Paul Hotel)
This show definitely appeals to the crowd that listens to WCCO and feels nostalgic for a time when gas was 15 cents a gallon. But there were many families in attendance too, and a good time was had by all. It's a sweet, funny, nostalgic show, and creates all the warm fuzzies that the movie does. But live in person! It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is a secret no longer. (Click here for more information.)
*You can read about all of the holiday shows I've seen here.