The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Entertainment

December 6, 2012

Tune into 'Wonderful Life' radio play this weekend

Clever cast, crew bring together touching Christmas memory

ANDERSON, Ind. — Performing a radio show on the theater stage can be demanding for the performers who are using words to set scenes and for an audience required to use its imagination.

An audience, however, doesn’t need a great deal of guidance in scene-setting when watching the clever cast performing “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” at Byrum Hall at Anderson University. The performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and next weekend, and at 2:30 p.m. this Sunday. It’s the second year for this radio play and it could become a seasonal tradition for families seeking a novel way to celebrate Christmas.

The story, of course, celebrates the Christmas spirit of a small community, Bedford Falls, N.Y., as town favorite George Bailey contemplates suicide after losing his friends’ life savings to the conniving Henry Potter.

The play, directed by Matthew Socey who allows the students room to explore their characters, is a 90-minute reading of the Jimmy Stewart-Donna Reed movie classic from 1946. Five performers stand in front of microphones inside a radio studio. Nearby are pianist Emily Farris and four women (Rachel Fleenor, Raechel Robertson, Kelsie Wessel and Cassi Russell) providing sound effects: the snap of a dollar bill, footsteps in the snow and the oft-heard shutting of a door.

This version seems spunkier and wittier than last year’s show as the cast of 10 keeps the dialogue and facial expressions lively.

Tristen Rodden is a fine choice as the everyman that George Bailey represents. Rodden stays in humble character as the cast works adds laughter while switching in and out of their roles. (You can chortle whenever you need in this intimate on-stage setting.)

Anne Barlow, as George’s wife Mary, helps define the Baileys’ goodness. Her eyes sparkle as she matches Donna Reed’s sincerity. Rodden and Barlow develop a tender relationship. Even when Rodden details George’s dreams, Barlow watches with admiration.

Colin McCord takes on 15 roles, even switching mid-sentence from a panicky Uncle Billy into a softly-snarling Potter. Though some of his muggings are outlandish, his range is uncanny, from a whiny kid to an old man with backwoods swagger.

Kirsten Huber superbly runs the course from the vixen Violet to a distinguished bank examiner. Jordan Moody brings smile and charm to his roles, including the critical gotta-be-innocent portrayal of Clarence the guardian angel.

All the efforts, however, underscore the power of radio and the thrill of the stage.

The audience may want to focus on the words but there’s a lot going on behind the lines. All 10 on stage, along with the stage crew, bring “It’s a Wonderful Life” together for a touching Christmas memory.

1
Text Only
Entertainment
  • Liberty Christian makes changes to annual auction Liberty Christian School is upping the ante for its upcoming Duck-Tacular event. The school’s annual benefit auction is steering away from past forest themes to “Duck-Tacular,” a nod to the popular A&E show “Duck Dynasty.”

    April 18, 2014

  • FEA HB0418 LITTLE BIG TOWN Kathy Griffin to perform at Hoosier Park Emmy and Grammy winner Kathy Griffin will dish about her latest run-ins with celebrities and observations about Hollywood’s elite and popular culture in the Terrace Showroom when she brings her stand-up act to Anderson on April 26.

    April 17, 2014 4 Photos

  • Jazz night comes to Paramount Hopkins and Miller’s Sunset Stomp Jazz Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Paramount. The performance is one of the first events for the 27th Annual City of Anderson Little 500 Festival schedule.

    April 17, 2014

  • Weekend Calendar: April 18 Entertainment scheduled at area venues for April 18-20.

    April 17, 2014

  • Live music: April 18 The following listings for live music and other entertainment at area venues are published in the Friday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    April 17, 2014

  • Dog owners invited to Easter egg hunt McCulloch Park will be going to the dogs on Saturday. Residents are invited to join in for the Easter egg hunt specifically for canines and their human companions.

    April 16, 2014

  • FEA HB0416 Reno Sweeney Review: Classic Cole Porter tunes in 'Anything Goes' Light-hearted entertainment reigns at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre as the stage is filled with sparkling costumes, quick stepping and even a little slapstick thrown into the mix. “Anything Goes,” now playing through May 11, may be a musical celebrating its 80th anniversary, but the humor is not lost on modern audiences.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Grace's Magic' to help Second Harvest Ball State graduate Cindee Cox is the author of “Grace’s Magic,” a children’s book geared around helping others and the community in which they live.

    April 14, 2014

  • 'Hunger Games' top winner at MTV Movie Awards

    "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" earned the prize for best film at Sunday night's MTV Movie Awards, besting even top Oscar winner "12 Years a Slave."

    April 13, 2014

  • NWS - HB0414 - Digital library- JC Alexandria library going digital Alexandria-Monroe Public Library using new digital program to make borrowing the latest books and movies easier than ever.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo