It's a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play Closing (Theater and Galleries) Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays and Dec. 27-31. Continues through Dec. 24 2011

One of the oddest spectacles in Chicago theater is the annual rite of the competing It's a Wonderful Lifes. American Theater Company had a schism a few years back, a bunch of ensemble members left to form American Blues Theater (which was ATC's name before it became ATC), and both laid claim to the passion of George Bailey, a small-town family man who considers suicide when $8,000 goes missing from his business. Every Christmas, each company presents the tale as if it were a live radio drama, complete with Foley artist banging out sound effects. If I were forced to choose, I'd probably opt for the ABT version as the more soulful of the two. But this ATC production is often delightfully cheeky, with a sharp, engaging cast. —Tony Adler

Price: $10-$40

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