CCT set to demonstrate life is wonderful

"It's a Wonderful Life, the Live Radio Show" opens Friday at Studio Stage Door.

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Hot on the heels of a successful production of Steel Magnolias, Cranbrook Community Theatre (CCT) is bringing a classic story with a twist to the Studio/Stage Door in December.

“It’s a Wonderful Life, the Live Radio Show” transports the audience to Studio B in Manhattan where they take part in a live reading of the beloved Christmas tale “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  Audience members are in for a treat as each actor reads the lines of several characters from the film.  On-stage sound effects and commercial jingles are re-created by the cast, setting the scene of this popular radio station in the 1940s and engaging the audience as though they are part of the performance.

When director Terry Miller was asked why he would want to revive “It’s a Wonderful Life, the Live Radio Show” merely two years after he originally presented it, he replied by listing off a long list of contributing factors.

“First was the observation that Christmas is interlaced with a wide variety of tradition,” Miller said. “There are many styles of tradition involving the arts, including entertainment like movies, plays, choirs and even ballet.

“Then, ‘Wonderful Life’ is such a good story, it is sometimes so important to be reminded that our place in the world is not without consequence. This story deserves to be told over and over again.  And, it’s an odd bit of theatre. Theatre is the most fun when we work slightly outside of the normal boundaries. There are so, so many ways to tell a story.”

Miller said it’s also a very important piece for the actors.  “Two of them play the very interesting, emotion-filled roles of George and Mary Bailey who are the lead characters of the story. These roles are what anchors the rest of the story. The other three actors play about 25 characters amongst them, an extremely challenging undertaking.

“I told these multi-character actors that this is both the easiest and most difficult acting role they will ever take on.  And I have to say that these five actors are at the top of their games, especially because they also do all of the sound effects for this 1946 radio broadcast.”

Miller said that this experience has a little more weight because it is so different from the very recent production of “Steel Magnolias.”

“Theatre audiences will get the true enjoyment of another great show immediately following a similarly high quality production.”

Running for just 6 nights on December 7, 8, 12, 13, 14 and 15 at the Studio/Stage Door in Cranbrook, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to see some of this area’s finest talent, including Sean Swinwood, Peter Schalk, Sioban Staplin, David Popoff, and Jennifer Inglis.

Tickets for “It’s a Wonderful Life, the Live Radio Show” are $13 for CCT members or $15 for non-members and are available at Lotus Books and at the door.

Get into the holiday spirit this Christmas season and join us for a performance of this much-loved story.