It’s a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph | Holiday Shows, Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

It’s a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Fridays, 8 p.m., Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sundays, 3 p.m., Thursdays, 8 p.m., Wed., Dec. 8, 7 p.m., Sat., Dec. 11, 5 p.m., Sat., Dec. 18, 5 p.m., Wed., Dec. 22, 8 p.m., Fri., Dec. 24, 3 p.m., Sun., Dec. 26, 6 p.m., Wed., Dec. 29, 8 p.m. and Fri., Dec. 31, 5 p.m. Continues through Dec. 30 2010

George Bailey is a modest businessman who builds nice homes and lends working people the money to buy them on fair terms. Henry Potter is the rapacious fat cat who enriches himself by pauperizing average folks. In the course of Frank Capra's classic 1946 movie--retold here as if it were being acted out live for a radio audience--Potter pushes George to the verge of financial ruin and suicide. It isn't hard to see how this parallels the current struggle between America's haves and its growing ranks of have-nots, which may be one reason why American Blues Theater doesn't emphasize that issue. Instead, Marty Higginbotham's production concentrates hard on delivering homespun charm. But in the end, delighted as I was with lovely performances and nostalgic touches, the lump in my throat was all about identifying with George. --Tony Adler

Price: $20-$40, opening night $50