Monday, November 14, 2011

Long Wharf Theatre announces the cast of It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

The film "It's a Wonderful LIfe" gets a magical adaptation Dec. 7-31 with a radio play script by Joe Landry that takes the beloved holiday story and recasts it as a 1940s radio drama performed before a live studio audience. Live sound effects meld with the moving tale of George Bailey.

An ensemble company of actors including Dan Domingues, Connecticut native Kate Maccluggage, Alex Moggridge and Ariel Woodiwiss, performs the show. The production team includes Mikiko Macadams (sets), Jessica Ford (costumes), Stephen Strawbridge (lights), and John Gromada (sound). 

“The radio play lets audiences’ imaginations breathe. It allows them to have some space from the movie and hear the story anew,” said Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein. “It’s a resurrection story, which we love. It also asks us to consider what are the enduring values one should live for? It’s a story of a man whose good deeds ultimately save his life.” 

Landry, a Westport resident, first adapted the film to be performed as a full play at a local high school. However, at the time he was working at the Fairfield Public Library, and began listening to and falling in love with old radio shows. Knowing that "It’s A Wonderful Life" had that pedigree (James Stewart did a radio show version in 1949), Landry put together his adaptation. Landry’s live radio play has enjoyed tremendous theatrical life, enjoying regular professional and local productions across the nation during the holiday season. “It’s a Wonderful Life seems to resonate on several different levels,” he said.

The original film is based on a short story entitled “The Greatest Gift” by historian Philip Van Doren Stern, a piece he distributed to 200 of his friends as a holiday greeting in 1943. When film director Frank Capra read the story, which had been knocking around Hollywood for a bit, he declared it was the tale he had been seeking to tell his whole life. The film came out in 1946, and received good reviews, although it was not a box office smash. When the film briefly fell into the public domain, it found a new audience through regular television airings. 

Dan Domingues has appeared Off-Broadway in The Cherry Orchard at Atlantic Theater Company, His Greatness at the Soho Playhouse and King Lear at La Ma Ma, among others. His television and film work includes “Gossip Girl,” “Law and Order,” “As The World Turns,” “Hope and Faith” and “Third Watch,” among others. 

For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 203-787-4282 or visit www.longwharf.org.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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