4 December 2019
It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by CenterPoint Theatre
A holiday classic like you’ve never seen before!
Setting the Stage
CenterPoint’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life is truly a unique show. This performance is held in their Leishman Hall black box theater, which is a smaller, more intimate theater that allows you to practically sit on the stage, seeing all the intricacies of a theater performance.
Not only is this a telling of the classic holiday story, but it also gives the audience a glimpse into radio drama plays. What’s radio drama you ask? Well, before the widespread use of televisions in the 1950s, a common form of entertainment was listening to radio dramas. Instead of turning on the TV and watching something, the family would gather ‘round the radio and listen. Many broadcasting stations would have voice actors in studio recording plays, both those made specifically for radio and well-known stories, such as It’s a Wonderful Life.
All of the cast in this production were dressed in 1940s era fashion and conducted the whole performance on a simple stage designed as a 1940s broadcasting auditorium. The cast is portraying a group of radio drama actors who have arrived at a broadcasting station to perform It’s a Wonderful Life over radio. This setup allows the audience to use their imagination to paint the scenes for themselves, making it a unique experience.
A Skilled Cast
The most remarkable thing about this play was that each cast member played several different roles in It’s a Wonderful Life. The ease at which they switched voices, lines, and mannerisms was incredible and very entertaining! Simple costume adjustments such as hats and scarves help the audience keep track of who each cast member is portraying.
My favorite cast member was Ed Farnsworth who portrayed George Bailey. He could have been pulled directly out of the original movie. Farnsworth’s voice, line delivery, and mannerisms depicted George Bailey perfectly. Farnsworth even looked like George Bailey.
Another star of the show was Scott Fisher, who played many roles such as, Mr. Potter, Uncle Billy Bailey, and many others. There were several times during the show where Fisher’s lines created most of the dialog and he wowed the crowd by effortlessly switching between his various roles. He has been nicknamed “The Man of 1,000 Voices” and is most known for his radio shows on KISN-97 and 94.1 KODJ, making him a spectacular fit for this production.
If you’re unfamiliar with It’s a Wonderful Life, this story follows the life of George Bailey, a beloved hero and figure of Bedford Falls. As he grows older, his continuous good deeds and sacrifices are treasured by the town. When George gets in some trouble, Clarence, George’s lovable guardian angel, is sent to prove to George that he truly does live a wonderful life.
The whole family will be delighted and touched by this season’s enduring classic, produced in a unique, exciting way! Watching It’s a Wonderful Life is a holiday tradition for many families. It’s a classic holiday tale that reminds us of what matters in life and reminding us that it truly is a wonderful life. Take a spin on this tradition and watch CenterPoint’s Radio Play! Showings of It’s a Wonderful Life run each Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday until December 21st. Tickets can be purchased here.