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

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31 2016

A number of holiday favorites in Chicago have become tradition, families returning year after year for anodyne entertainment. This mainstay from American Blues Theater was new to me: a live radio-style version of Frank Capra’s beloved 1946 movie starring Jimmy Stewart. The conceit allows for a simple but supple and music-filled staging by director Gwendolyn Whiteside that makes the most of the actors’ incredible vocal ranges. Sure, the show’s a bit heavy on nostalgia and sentiment, but that’s what most want this time of year, and they’re given a counterweight by the story itself—it’s the darkness in this tale of a man on the verge of suicide saved by an angel who helps him imagine what life would be without him that renders the joy real. —Suzanne Scanlon

Price: $29-$49

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