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.