It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago | Greenhouse Theater Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago Recommended Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 28 2014

Of the 2013 edition of this show, Reader critic Tony Adler wrote: "What can I say? The movie is a damned classic among classics. I know every line of it—and, more, every frame and inflection. As far as I'm concerned, that moment at the Bedford Falls train station—when Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey finally realizes he'll never fulfill his dream of seeing the world—is film poetry right up there with the baby carriage in Battleship Potemkin. And yet American Blues Theater's 90-minute stage version more than holds its own against any prejudice. It's delightful. ABT's uncredited adaptation treats George's dark night of the soul as the subject of a World War II-era radio broadcast, complete with musical commercial breaks touting local businesses. At once tongue-in-cheek and utterly wholehearted, it's not for cynics: you will be expected to laugh, weep, sigh, and sing Christmas carols. You may feel a twinge of class solidarity too, if your politics run that way. Under Marty Higginbotham's direction, there doesn't seem to be a rule of thumb about imitating the movie (Kevin Kelly's George hasn't a smidge of Stewart, while John Mohrlein is pure Lionel Barrymore as the evil Mr. Potter). The Frank Capra buoyancy, though, is always present."

Price: $19-$49


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