It's a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play | American Theater Company | Holiday Shows | Chicago Reader

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

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 28 2008

There's obviously an audience for theater based on popular movies (consider Spamalot), but I've never understood it (consider Young Frankenstein), so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this stage version of Frank Capra's classic 1946 holiday film. It holds its own even with Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, and Uncle Billy's crow for competition, offering a sweet 90 minutes on George Bailey's famous crisis of faith. The secret of its success? There's no attempt to mimic the movie. Instead, the production's framed as a '40s-era radio broadcast, with live sound effects, commercial breaks, a personable announcer (James Lusk), and the actors lined up at mics. The whole cast charms, but John Mohrlein steals the show in various roles--especially that of mean old Mr. Potter. --Tony Adler

Price: $35-$40

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