‘It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play’ coming to TCCA

‘It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play’ coming to TCCA

Elizabeth Thomakos, left, Bart Herman and Jerry Marlowe


“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” will play in December for two weekends only at the Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts on the arts gallery stage.

The performances will be Dec. 3-4 and 10-11 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 5 and 12 at 2:30 p.m.

This return engagement is presented by the Black Box Ensemble Theatre and will benefit the Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts. The center will feature select artworks from the permanent collection on the gallery floor.

“Our mission is to provide opportunities for excellence through all of the arts,” said Jeannine Kennedy, director of the Tuscarawas Center for the Arts. “Especially with our fabulous expansion of the center, we touch all of the arts in many exciting ways by providing classes and exhibits through our gallery shows. We are thrilled that the Black Box Ensemble Theatre is performing this holiday season once again.”

“It’s a Wonderful Life” became a staple on television during the holiday season and is now one of the most beloved and admired movies of all time. The American Film Institute ranks it as the 11th-greatest movie of all time.

“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” is a stage play adaptation of Frank Capra’s film classic. At the time of the film’s initial release, it was popular for films to be adapted and performed live on the radio in front of a studio audience. This adaptation is set as a live radio broadcast in the late-1940s, with a small ensemble of actors playing all of the characters. Live sound effects and period commercials also will be featured in the production.

The show is loosely based on the famous Lux Radio Theatre live radio broadcasts and the classic film. These radio programs were performed live before studio audiences with musicians and sound-effect artists. The film stars, Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, performed live on the Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of“It’s a Wonderful Life,” four months after the movie’s release in theaters. Three days later the 19th Academy Awards were held in Los Angeles. “It’s a Wonderful Life”was nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, Actor and Director.

“Previous productions have been such an enjoyable success that we decided to bring it back this year for a limited run — and especially because of the incredibly difficult times we have shared with COVID. Our production recaptures the joy of a simpler time when families would gather around the radio and simply listen,” said Don Irven, the director. “We hope that you will not miss this wonderful holiday show — the only theatrical holiday show in the area this year. We will feature many talented actors from our area, live sound effects and holiday music, and commercials from the period.”

The ensemble cast includes Bart Herman, Elizabeth Thomakos, veteran actor Jerry Marlowe, Dave Cleveland, Kate Lynne Miller, Halle Holmes and Alex Walker. The production staff besides Irven includes Thomakos and Herman, costume coordinators; Kenn Holmes, set technician; Mary Lehigh-Sears, set dressings; and Lee Elliott, publicity.

All performances will be held at the Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts, 461 Robinson Drive SE, New Philadelphia. All tickets are $15 with children/students and groups of three or more at $10. Seating is very limited.

Ticket reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling the Center for the Arts at 330-339-2787. Tickets also will be available at the door. All reservations should be picked up 15 minutes prior to curtain. USA Label Express Inc. is the corporate sponsor of Black Box Ensemble Theatre.

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