The Sudbury Theatre Centre's latest production takes the audience into the studios of radio station WSTC for a couple hours of "mixed media" magic.
“It's A Wonderful Life” is a stage play about an old-time radio drama based on a 1946 movie that was inspired by the short story.
The movie, a dramatic comedy that has become a holiday classic, was directed and produced by Frank Capra with stars James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore. It won five Academy Awards and is considered one of the best 100 American movies ever made.
A small town savings and loans manager, George Bailey, discovers his business is facing bankruptcy on Christmas Eve. He is worth more financially, thanks to a life insurance policy, if he were dead. He is saved from suicide by his guardian angel, Clarence, who reminds him of the many people he has helped during his life.
Caleb Marshall, the theatre's artistic director, has adapted the story for the stage. Eleven actors play a town of characters.
Mark Crawford channels James Stewart as the good-hearted but awkward Bailey. Mary, his wife is played sweetly by Ellen Denny. The rest of the cast impressively juggle numerous roles.
Jessica Vandenberg, for example, plays savings and loan receptionist Tilly, town flirt Violet, George's sister-in-law, and his young daughter. Robbie O'Neill plays angel Clarence as well as the villainous Mr. Potter.
The dizzying choreography could go awry if not directed by someone as capable of Marshall.
The result is a fast-paced night of theatre that as they say will "make you laugh, make you cry."
It's A Wonderful Life, a delightful piece of Christmas candy that all ages will enjoy, continues to Dec. 18.
Vicki Gilhula is the associate publisher/editor of Sudbury Living Magazine.