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By R. Eli Townsend
Special to The PREVIEW
Currently playing at Thingamajig Theatre Company is “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” by Connecticut dramatist and playwriting teacher Joe Landry.
Thingamajig actors will re-enact the Christmas Eve travails of troubled Bedford Falls building-and-loan executive George Bailey through Dec. 23 at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.
In reviewing previous productions of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live radio Play,” Mary Houlihan of the Chicago Sun-Times called the show, “One of the best holiday shows around” and added, “This is a fresh and inventive way of reconnecting with a classic story of love and redemption.”
Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune praised the, “fresh theatrical context of Joe Landry’s radio drama” and said it, “creates just the right kind of retro warmth. If you cry every time you see the movie, you’ll be blubbering away right on cue …Guaranteed.”
Indeed, Kerry Reid of the Chicago Tribune declared that the play is, “A well-loved tale told with style, charm and a heart so big it could burst the ribcage of the harshest Grinch.”
Joe Landry based his radio drama, which premiered in December 1996 in Stamford, Conn., on the screenplay that director Frank Capra, Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, and Jo Swerling adapted from Philip Van Doren Stern’s 1945 story, “The Greatest Gift.”
Capra’s 1946 film starred Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, Donna Reed as his wife Mary, Henry Travers as George’s guardian angel Clarence Oddbody, Thomas Mitchell as George’s absentminded Uncle Billy, and Lionel Barrymore as ruthless businessman Henry F. Potter, who hopes to use an inadvertent error by Uncle Billy to bankrupt the Baileys’ building and loan.
Thingamajig Theatre Company’s cast for “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” includes Bob Hite as Freddy Fillmore/Announcer, Mark Brown as Harry “Jazzbo” Heywood/Clarence Oddbody, Bonnie Hite as Lana Sherwood/Violet, Craig Dolezel as Jake Laurents/George Bailey, and Laura Moore as Sally Applewhite/Mary Bailey.
“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” is rated G and appropriate for all audiences. Show times and dates through Dec. 23 are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale now by visiting www.pagosacenter.org or calling 731-SHOW.