‘It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play’ returning at Gamm


The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre (The Gamm) is delighted to celebrate the holiday season with “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” adapted by Joe Landry from the screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra and Jo Swerling.

A twist on the beloved film classic, this family friendly play with themes of resilience and community is set in a radio studio on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1946, with radio personalities retelling the redemptive story of George Bailey. Damon Kiely, chair of performance for The Theater School at Chicago’s DePaul University, returns to direct a cast of seven actors playing multiple characters, with radio jingles and an onstage Foley artist creating real-time sound effects.

The Gamm’s 2019 production of “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” was received with critical and popular acclaim for having made “something so well-known and recognizable feel so fresh and new” (Broadway World). In 2020, while the theater was dark due to the pandemic, Gamm artists teamed up with The Public’s Radio to produce an actual radio version of the play as a gift to the listening community. This season’s live, in-person performance is a much anticipated return to the play’s original format.

“I’m thrilled to return to The Gamm with ‘It’s A Wonderful Life,’” Kiely said. “It feels more vital than ever that we gather together as neighbors, friends, and family during this holiday season. I think audiences will resonate with the play’s message that the community is more important than the individual, and that we may not realize the power of moving through the world with kindness and consideration.”

“Last year’s production, recorded over Zoom and broadcast over the radio, was one of the highlights of the dark COVID winter for myself, the artists involved, and the Gamm audience,” he added. “I can’t wait to listen to the sound effects, sing some carols, and experience the town of Bedford Falls in person with a live audience.”

Gamm Artistic Director Tony Estrella, reprising the role of George Bailey, said he’s looking forward to playing for a live audience again.

“‘It’s A Wonderful Life was the artistic highlight of our pandemic ‘season,’” Estrella said. “To share this story again live and in person is going to be an overwhelming experience. It feels like joy is finally coming back. I feel so privileged to play George once again!”

“It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” runs Nov. 26-Dec. 24 at The Gamm Theatre, 1245 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick. Tickets are $49-$69; preview performances (Nov. 26-28) are just $35. Discounts for seniors, students, groups and more. Details at gammtheatre.org/discounts. Tickets: 401-723-4266 or gammtheatre.org.

PLEASE NOTE: For the safety and comfort of Gamm audiences, patrons must present either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the theater. All patrons, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks. Details at gammtheatre.org.


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