Its Christmas Eve in Bedford Falls, New York. George Bailey, facing bankruptcy and criminal charges for misappropriation of funds, has lost his will to live. As the snow falls lightly, he stands upon a bridge, drunk, as he stands upon the bridge, drunk, ready to throw himself to his doom, when Clarence Odbody, Angel, Second Class, comes to his aid. Wishing he had never been born, Clarence shows George—played by James Stewart, his first film following World War II—how the lives of all George had known, loved and cared for, would look if he, in fact, had never been born. It’s a Wonderful Life has become one of the most beloved American films for generations, a staple of family-oriented movie nights throughout December. This classic story of George, Mary, Clarence and the rest of Bedford Falls will get an old-timey makeover this December 17-19 when the Arts Garage’s Radio Theatre brings the uplifting holiday film to the stage.
From its heyday, with Orson Welles inciting terror as The War of the Worlds played out on a live broadcast, to noir classics like Dragnet and “Guy Noir” of today, radio has held a special place on the mantel of Americana. Moments engrained in the fabric of the country’s history rang through the airwaves, piping statements like “a date which will live in infamy” into homes. Radio’s power—the ability to inform and entertain—united living rooms from coast to coast.
Times have changed. Vacuum tubes have given way to LED televisions, and the radio of today sometimes strikes more of a derisive tone depending on what station folks tune into, but there is still something captivating about the human voice being piped into one’s life through unseen waves. To pay homage to radio’s heyday, the Arts Garage’s Radio Theatre is turning the spoken word into life action entertainment. Adapting scripts from classic movies from radio’s heyday, actors will perform live using specially designed sound effect devices, tugging at those nostalgia strings—it’s like attending a broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion.
Be whisked away to Bedford Falls and witness how different life would be if sad George Bailey had never lived. Will bells toll for the guardian angel? Find out when the Arts Garage brings the Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life to, well, life on December 17-19.
- Thursday, December 17-19; 7:30-10:30 p.m.
- General admission: $20-$30.
- For more information, visit artsgarage.org.
- And as always, it’s B.Y.O.W. – Bring Your Own Whatever.