The holiday season brings with it a bevy of Christmas-related theater productions. From the Nutcracker to Miracle on 34th Street, we’ve seen these classics as many times as we’ve watched the Charlie Brown special on TV. They speak to us, and trigger memories of happy Christmases past.
However, if you’re looking to spice up your weekend with a new twist on an old favorite, you should definitely check out the Falcon Theater’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life: the Live Radio Drama.” The tale of George Bailey from Bedford Falls takes on a whole new meaning when performed by 8 voice actors, 3 sound artists and 3 musicians. The talented cast of 13 people, along with director Michael Potter, transport the audience back to the 1940s and the Golden Age of Radio. The Falcon Theater is currently celebrating its 20th season, and has conducted a reprise season of all their favorite shows. “It’s a Wonderful Life” was originally performed last year, and was a shoo-in for the Falcon Christmas show.
The actors and actresses in this show are not wearing character costumes. They stand at the microphone, scripts in hand, and weave the tale of discovering how wonderful life is using only their voice talents. It seems strange at first, but it is enthralling and interesting to watch as Nathan Ruggles switches “characters” from Old Man Potter to Uncle Billy and back again… all in the same scene! Watching the Foley sound artists (David Levy, Amber Potter, and sound apprentice Tyson Levy) make realistic sound effects using everyday objects is another treat as well.
From the moment the “On Air” light comes on until the announcer (Jim Bussy) signs off at the end of the night, radio magic is happening, and it is fantastic. If you close your eyes during the shoe, it is easy to imagine the sounds coming through the speaker of the old Atwater-Kent back at Grandma’s house.
Yes, going to see a Christmas Carol (again) this year will be fun, I’m sure. However, if you’re looking for a truly unique experience, don’t miss It’s A Wonderful Life, the Live Radio Drama. As an added bonus, UrbanCincy writer Jenny Kessler will be reprising her role as a Jingle Belle (commercial singer) – even more reason to go check it out!
“It’s a Wonderful Life: the Live Radio Broadcast” is playing the next two weekends (12/4-12/6 and 12/11-12/13) with Friday and Saturday performances at 8pm and Sunday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. The Falcon Theater is located at 636 Monmouth Street in Newport, KY (map). You can order tickets here or call the box office at (513) 479-6783.