With Christmas right around the corner, every department on campus is getting ready to celebrate the holidays—the theater department is no exception to this.
Most have seen the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s the touching tale of George Bailey—played by Luke Desmond in Vanguard’s production—a man with big dreams who gets himself into a pickle and wishes he was never born. The black-and-white movie has been loved for decades, since 1946 when it was released—becoming a story that is frequently retold.
Along with Luke Desmond as George Bailey, the cast also includes Sadie Alexander as Mary Bailey, Josephine played by Yasmine Reid, Rylee Schmidt playing Clarice, and Alex Edwards, who plays Potter and Blinky.
On the Lyceum website, the show is described as “based on the classic holiday movie with a clever twist!” This means that the show’s plot is still similar to the original story, but there is a new element that is introduced.
As the audience takes their seats, the cast seems to bustle about, getting ready for the show out in the open. The story then starts with a clarification from a “radio announcer”—played by Elija Munck—explaining that the viewers will be witnessing a “live radio play.”
To explain further, the actors go through the show as if they were doing it for a radio. For those who are still confused, the show is almost akin to voice acting. There are some who speak into microphones, others who make live sound effects, and many who play multiple different characters.
Physical movement is valued less here—shifting an emphasis to the auditory. The actors must rely on their voices to portray the emotion and tension in a scene.
The “live radio show” seems to be a lovely homage to when the original story was written and performed for the screen. The black and white film was released in 1946, which was a time when the radio was one of the most popular forms of media.
If you need any other reason to see the play, Director Preston Butler III said via Instagram, “You should come see It’s a Wonderful Life because I can guarantee you, you have never ever experienced a Christmas show like this one.” I wholeheartedly agree, I have never seen a play like this before. It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play pulls off nonconventionality while staying true to the Christmas spirit, and it puts the actors’ skills on display in a way I have never witnessed.
The play made its debut on Nov. 30, and will show almost every night, until Dec. 10. On weekdays, you can see the play at 7:30 p.m. Or, you have the option to watch the matinee at 2:00 p.m. on weekends as well.
And if you’re a student, be sure to try out the “student rush” ticket option. Head to the Lyceum Theater a little early on the night of the play with your student I.D. ready, to see the play for only $5!