Miners Alley Playhouse is giving a timeless holiday standard a different spin this season, with its production of “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.”
The show takes audiences behind the scenes of a 1940s radio production of Frank …
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The show takes audiences behind the scenes of a 1940s radio production of Frank Capra’s seminal film, and not only tells the story of the Baileys, but of the actors as well.
“It’s A Wonderful Life: A Life Radio Play” will be at the theater, 1224 Washington Ave. in Golden, through Dec. 22. Performances are 7:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. There will be Thursday performances at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5, 12 and 19.
“For the show, our interpretation is that you really can’t tell the story and satisfy the audience because they almost all know the story,” said director Robert Kramer. “This version stars five fictional actors doing the radio version, and with that the audience starts watching different things.”
The actors are Jake Laurents (Christian Mast), who plays George Bailey on the radio, Sally Applewhite (Haley Johnson), who plays Mary Bailey, and Freddie Filmore( David Blumenstock), Harry “Jazzbo” Heywood (Jason Maxwell), Lana Sherwood (Samara Bridwell) and The Stage Manager (Bryanna Scott) who play the rest of the characters in the story.
The show made its debut at Miners Alley in 2009, and was so popular that it brought back this year. Kramer was the director of its first production, and he brought around three-fifths of the original cast back with him.
Johnson is one of the returning actors, and said it’s been really fun revisiting the play.
“I forget how really funny it can be,” she said. “It’s been really fun and silly getting back with everyone.”
One of the new cast members is Mast, Johnson’s husband in real life. He said that while he saw the original production, actually being in the show has been quite the task.
“Being in the play was something I wanted the first time, so I’m really happy to have the chance now,” he said. “It’s been a tight rehearsal schedule, and learning all the lines and the sound effects has been a really fun challenge.”
Kramer said the way the play is written calls for not a lot of work from the actors, intending it to be more of a behind the scenes of a radio show story, but Kramer wanted it to have a fuller feeling.
“I love the technical stuff, but it can lose its charm after a while,” he said. “It lacks something if you just do it straight like that.”
Kramer said he wanted to give audiences a special holiday treat, and so starting 20 minutes before each performance members of the cast will come out and perform one of three short Christmas stories.
For all involved, “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” will give audiences a story that they love, but with a different spin.
“Even though people may be familiar with the movie, doing it as a radio show gives it several different layers,” Mast said. “It’s a really great story not only about the Baileys, but the people performing and how they interact.”
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