The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre (the Gamm) kicks off the holiday season with the production of It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. This holiday play will be held from December 5 and continue through Dec. 22. Tickets are $45 for adults, $20 for children/students, and $33 if you attend one of the early preview performances. Additionally, season subscribers receive $10 off regular ticket prices.
Preview performances dates are Thursday and Friday, December 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, December 7 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. More schedule details can be found at gammtheatre.org/awonderfullife.
This production was adapted by Joe Landry from the original screenplay made by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra, and Jo Swerling. This play incorporates a lot of live sound effects, with a handful of actors, in a set that looks like it was pulled from a 1940s radio studio on Christmas Eve.
Different actors portray different radio personalities as they tell the story of George Bailey, a man who feels overwhelmed by family obligations and different community responsibilities during the Christmas season. After a series of unfortunate events, Bailey contemplates ending his life on Christmas Eve, before his guardian angel, Clarence, appears. Clarence shows him what his community would be like if he had never existed and in doing so, Bailey has a revelation about how important he is to everyone, and vice versa.
The show is sponsored by Greenwood Credit Union and additional support is given by the Rhode Island College Foundation. In a recent press release about the event, the Chicago Sun-Times was quoted that this production was, “One of the best holiday shows around…a fresh and inventive way of reconnecting with a classic story of love and redemption.”
The Director of the production, Damon Kiely said, “Our show will be set in Warwick Rhode Island in the fictional WGAM radio station. We'll be advertising local businesses on our ‘radio station’ and making deep connections with the Gamm audience through holiday carols and on-air shout-outs. I feel excited that we have the possibility to touch so many New Englanders with the incredible story of George Bailey, the human spirit of Bedford Falls, and the joy of live radio performance.”
Artistic Director for the Gamm, Tony Estrella, who also plays George Bailey stated, “All season long we are looking deeply at what it means to be an American,” He also said, “George Bailey's story is a reminder that decency and selflessness are the core values of citizenship, that a community is only as strong as its most vulnerable members, and that no one is too small to matter or make a difference.”
The lead cast are Madeleine Lambert as Mary Hatch and Rose Bailey, Fred Sullivan, Jr. as Henry F. Potter and Clarence, Jeff Church as Harry Bailey and Ernie Bishop, Angella Lynsey Ford as Violet Bick and Janie Bailey, Richard Noble as Joseph and Billy Bailey, Emily Turtle as the Announcer and Zuzu Bailey, and D.J. Potter as the Foley Artist.
The crew for this production are Set Designer Michael McGarty, Costume Designer Jessie Darrel Jarbadan, Lighting Design by Noah Beauregard, Music Design by Charles Cofone, Production Management by Jessica Hill, and Stage Management by Robin Grady.