WARWICK, RI – After a successful run in 2019, Gamm Theater is bringing back âIt’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,â with many cast and crew returning for production, top notch in every way.
Jimmy Stewart played the role of Everyone George Bailey in the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life”, which became a beloved holiday favorite. What makes this version of the story special is the actors’ ability to recreate the world of Bedford Falls in the tiny WGAM radio studio. Set designer Michael McGarty did a spectacular job here, with lots of nice touches.
What makes this version of the story special is the actors’ ability to recreate the world of Bedford Falls in the tiny WGAM radio studio.
Gamm art director Tony Estrella (“An Agreed Lie”) once again delivers a beautifully nuanced performance as George, a kindhearted lie who sacrifices his dreams to help others, including his brother Harry (Jeff Church).
George is fair to everyone but faces growing financial issues with his construction and loan business. Fred Sullivan (“A Lie Agreed Upon”) is the arch-nemesis of George, Henry Potter, a selfish and arrogant man who cares little about the problems of working class men and women. Money is all that matters to him.
When George’s problems become too much to bear, he contemplates suicide and has a fateful encounter with the angel Clarence, who shows him what life would be like if he had never been born.
Sullivan is wonderfully versatile, exhibiting a menacing growl as Potter and a whimsical rhythm as Clarence, who desperately searches for his wings.
Lynsey Ford is solid in the role of Mary, George’s fiancee and later his wife. Richard Noble (“Arcadia”) and Helena Tafuri (“Assassins”) are also superb as various residents of Bedford Falls.
Emily Turtle skillfully plays the show’s announcer as well as George’s young daughter, Zuzu, while DJ Potter makes invaluable contributions as a sound effects technician, providing a variety of sounds including crackling ice and bell chimes.
There are a few clever gags on the show, including a funny commercial for a local credit union. Jessie Darrell Jarbadan’s 1940s costumes and Noah Beauregard lighting are also excellent.
The actors warm the audience with favorite holiday songs including “Jingle Bells” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.
There are also readings of special messages from members of the public. It’s a great way to spend a few hours on a cold winter night.
“It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” celebrates compassion, generosity and carries a precious message. No matter how difficult life gets, you have to keep fighting for what you believe in.
It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play runs until December 24. The Gamm Theater, 1245 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick, RI. For tickets: call 401-723-4266 or gammtheater.org. Tickets are $ 49 to $ 69. Discounts for seniors, students, groups and more. Details at gammtheater.org/discounts. Tickets: 401-723-4266 or gammtheater.org.