It's a Wonderful Life -- 12/11/10

This is my 6th entry in my 5th year of taking part in Holidailies. If you have wandered in from Holidailies, you can scroll down to read a brief introduction.

Nancy and I went up to Providence last night to see It's a Wonderful Life at Trinity Rep.

It's a Wonderful Life is a wonderful show. It's based on the movie but with a twist; it is staged as if it is 1949 and a radio station is doing a Christmas Eve dramatic presentation of It's a Wonderful Life. We are the studio audience and the sound effects guy will sometimes hold up an "Applause" sign, as well as producing sound effects just the way it would have been done in a radio studio sixty-one years ago. The broadcast engineer in the control room is visible through a class window, holding up fingers for a countdown to airtime, etc. There are three microphone stands on the stage. And the entire play -- including most of the scenes and characters from the movie -- is performed by just five actors in addition to the sound man (who has no dialogue) and the engineer (who only gives the countdown to start the show).

Fred Sullivan, Jr. is George Bailey (as well as voicing other parts). Timothy Crow is the announcer/host, standing at the microphone with his right hand cupped over his ear just like an old-time radio announcer. He is also Old Man Potter... as well as Uncle Billy and many more parts. (And he does a marvelous job when Uncle Billy and Old Man Potter argue with each other.) Anne Scurria is the head angel and Violet Bick and George Bailey's mother and a number of other voices. Angela Brazil is Mary Hatch (and she also plays a variety of other characters). Stephen Berenson is Clarence (and Sam Wainwright and Harry Bailey and Mr. Martini and an amazing array of others).

It takes them scarcely an hour and a half, putting on the play without an intermission, and inviting the "studio audience" to join them in the last chorus of "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." I always choke up at the end of It's a Wonderful Life when I watch it on television (I've cut back from watching it every year to just every other Christmas in recent years) but while watching this talented cast perform the play I think I had an anticipatory lump in my throat and fogged up eyeglasses long before the end.

A brief introduction....
(edited to update it from 2006)
A brief introduction for anyone who wanders in here from the Holidailies site -- I'm a middle-aged (*cough* okay, 63 67 , but I don't look a day over 62 66 ) guy who lives in Rhode Island with my wife Nancy (a middle-school math teacher), daughter Gillian ("Jill" -- 24
28 yr old college student), son Jeremy (21 25 yr old college student restaurant manager), and Tiger (senior citizen cat). Eldest child Adam lives in New York City with his wife Leah and our grandson s Sam and Milo . I'm a former programmer/systems analyst who got into doing software training and currently works from home doing quality assurance and editing on course material for both classroom courses and Web-based training courses. I've been writing this online journal since 1996.

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