Dcp’s Cathy Zeller directs the audience to joy in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY, a 1940s radio show adaptation of the Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” (starring Jimmy Stewart) by Joe Landry. Upon entering the theater, audience members are greeted with small town cheer by a host of characters from the ’40s. The pre-show entertainment, announced by the exuberant Freddie Filmore (Gary McMichael), includes sponsor’s messages and jingles written by Cathy Zeller and Dane McMichael, delightfully performed by WDCP ensemble, and songs by a lovely dulcet toned female barber-shop quartet (Liberty Belles of Lansdale). The audience is now primed for the show.
For those unfamiliar with the plot, George Bailey (Bill Riccardi) of Bedford Falls is in trouble – big trouble. He had always been, by nature, a doer of good deeds. As a child, George saved his brother from drowning, and later kept the local pharmacist from making a lethal mistake on a prescription, and helped his friends and fellow community members whenever he could. As a young man he sacrificed his dreams of travel and a college education to take on his father’s work at the town’s savings and loan in order to keep the community out of the clutches of the Scrooge-like Henry Potter (Alfred Benelli) and married Mary (Nancy K. Server) “the girl next door”. On Christmas Eve, however, it seems to him that his whole life’s work was for naught and he wishes he’d never been born after a large sum of money goes missing. Clarence Odbody (Matt Mazza), Angel Second Class, eager to earn his heavenly wings, takes action to demonstrate to George that his life is much more valuable than he realizes.
A cast and crew of over three dozen actors came together to create this totally entertaining show. This in itself is quite an accomplishment for all of the actors, production staff and crew, and the show came across as harmonious and well organized. Bill Ricardi plays George Bailey just right, concordantly with the character, exhibiting a range of emotions during the character’s turmoils without overdoing it. Nancy K. Server as Mary reflects his performance, while shining brightly on her own. Alfred Benelli, as the would be tyrant Henry Potter, never gives an inch and is always on the pinch. Young Mary Bailey (Hannah Knol) and young Violet (Mary Hofsaedter) in their brief repartee were brilliant, and older Violet Bick (Amy Reifinger) is also well played. As is typical of radio shows, many in the cast played a number of roles (Bill Alego, Ray Greenley, Dan DiStefano, Colton Bamford, Nathan Rutko, Judy Evans, Andrew Maldonado, Nicolette Addice) and do so seamlessly. The Bailey children are adorable and the pianists played ‘piano’ steadily and beautifully. The stage manager is flawlessly played by Stage Manager Shelby Winder, and Jennifer Brozenske fetches many laughs and amazes in her role as foley artist. The players look authentic in well thought out costumes (Jayne Galletta, Granny Dove, Cathy Zeller) and props are impressive (Connie Wilson, Vicki Pelletier).
Congratulations to Director Cathy Zeller, Assistant Director, Dane McMichael, Producer Connie Wilson, Assistant Producer Vicki Pelletier and all who collaborated on the production for the effort and extra touches that transport the audience into the ambience of the forties. The cast and crew deserve their theater wings for this one!
Treat yourself to an old style hometown Christmastime at DCP.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY
by Joe Landry (adapted from the Frank Capra film)
Directed by Cathy Zeller
December 3 – 12, 2010
795 Ridge Road
Telford, PA 18969