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Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012

Next Act Broadcasts ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

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Philip Van Doren Stern was a 20th-century historian and editor who compiled short story collections and worked with the letters of such giants as Lincoln, Poe and Thoreau. He also wrote a 4,000-word short story called "The Greatest Gift," based on a dream he’d had. Unable to find anyone willing to publish it, he sent it along with holiday greeting cards to 200 friends. One of those cards made it to a producer at RKO, who showed it to Cary Grant. RKO paid Van Doren Stern  $10,000 for the film rights to the story, which is now known universally as It's a Wonderful Life.

Like many films that came out in the era prior to television, It's a Wonderful Life was adapted into a full-length, full-cast radio play. This month, Next Act Theatre stages its own retro radio adaptation of the classic tale. The live stage performance features actors in character pretending to be radio actors playing the parts of George Bailey and company in a vintage radio broadcast. David Cecsarini directs this Next Act original production. The cast includes great local actors, including Bo Johnson, Mary MacDonald Kerr and Norman Moses, among others.

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Show! runs Nov. 15-Dec. 9 at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St. For ticket reservations, call 414-278-0765.

 

Theater Happenings

  • Marquette University Theatre opens its production of the touching drama The Women of Lockerbie this week at the Helfaer Theatre. The story of one woman's quest to find the remains of her son, a victim of a terrorist attack, runs Nov. 8-18. For ticket reservations, call 414-288-7504.
  • Skylight Music Theatre brings a really good directorial team together this holiday season, as Molly Rhode and Jamie Johns present The Sound of Music. The production features Elizabeth Telford and Bill Theisen, among others, along with an alternating cast of children. The Sound of Music runs Nov. 16-Dec. 31. For ticket reservations, call 414-291-7800.

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