It's A Wonderful Life:
Live from WVL Radio Theatre
It’s Christmas Eve in 1945, and only a handful of WVL Radio's actors have braved the blizzard to perform that evening’s broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life and keep the station afloat. This clever stage adaptation breathes new life into the poignant story of George Bailey and Bedford Falls. When Frank Capra and his co-writers were working on the original screenplay of It’s a Wonderful Life, the Great Depression was a vivid memory. The story of George Bailey and Bedford Falls is juxtaposed against a time of failing banks, devastatingly high unemployment and a shortage of affordable housing. The circumstances are eerily familiar, and over 60 years later, this story remains as fresh and relevant as ever. Its message of hope and optimism is the perfect antidote to holiday cynicism.
This 1940s "live broadcast" of Frank Capra's beloved film takes us back to the Golden Age of Radio. This fresh new adaptation of the film is set in the fictional studio of WVL Radio Theatre on a cold, snowy winter night. Due to the blizzard, the professional voice actors are unable to get through, but the show must go on — so a small but intrepid band of employees manage to create the dozens of movie characters and scenes using just their voices and a sound effects table. With surprisingly simple technical requirements and adaptable staging needs, this exquisitely detailed production fits a variety of venue settings, large and small, and is an uplifting story of struggle and triumph, and of the power of a community to weather financial storms. Presenters can even have their own customized live commercial included in the broadcast — a wonderfully creative opportunity to recognize a local sponsor or patron.
Nominated for five Academy Awards, Frank Capra's beloved film is an undisputed holiday treasure, ranked #11 in the American Film Institute's list of the 100 best American films ever made — and also their #1 most inspirational American film of all time.
In a Word…
“Sometimes the most wonderful gifts come wrapped in small packages. Live from WVL Radio Theatre: It's a Wonderful Life... is one of those... a perfect production. For those who remember the flashing applause signs and smaltzy organ music from radio station studios of old, it's a refreshing step back in time. Younger audiences are enchanted with the glimpse of entertainment the way it was before telephones came equipped with television." -The Mountaineer, Haywood County NC
“Do not miss this show. It is rare to find artists this early in their careers that have such a finely tuned awareness of the story that they are telling....The scenes ring with authenticity stemming from honest interactions — which can only be earned through hard work in rehearsal, not through borrowing the moments in the heat of performance." - Mountain Area Information Network
“You’re guaranteed to walk out with a smile; the feel-good Christmas spirit rings true in this production where a community comes together to help out a friend in need." - The Elm
“...It reminded me that live theater can be every bit as engaging — if not more so — than multimillion-dollar Hollywood extravaganzas." - Mountain Xpress
“Brilliantly performed by four radio actors held up in a studio on Christmas Eve with the fate of the station resting firmly on their shoulders. ... Penned more than half a century ago, issues still ring true today. This adaptation is clever in many ways...a very innovative and engaging production." - Arts a la Mode
A Presenter's Point of View
The company's meticulous attention to the production's 1940s authenticity is remarkably detailed, layering a palpable, nostalgic charm for your audience sharing this classic story in this unique way. For the presenter, there's a sincerity, warmth and untainted professional thoroughness from the moment the cast comes in the stage door. With minimal technical requirements, production flexibility, the familiar storyline and its ability to touch the hearts of people of all ages, It's A Wonderful Life is a presenter's dream. The added bonus — enabling a venue to include a localized, customized radio commercial so your listeners hear a local business or sponsor being advertised circa 1946 — helps seal supportive friendships for your hall for a long time. I think George Bailey would be proud of what's happening here....