December 7, 2018
Writer: Bryanna Willis

This Friday, a holiday classic is coming to the Romance Theater, but in a different format than you would think. 

“It’s a Wonderful Life, a Radio Play,” is exactly what it sounds like. It’s, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” adapted for radio, adapted for a play.  

“You know back in the ’30s and the ‘40s when they had the radios and everyone would sit around and listen to them, so we are doing that, but it’s on stage so it is live,” Kaitilin Bennett, director of the play, said. “So you get to see everything that they would have done to make those radio shows.” 

For anyone not familiar with “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the story follows George Bailey, a man who dreams of traveling the world and making a difference. But instead, he stays in his hometown and takes over the family business.  

Through a series of hardships, Bailey decides he wants to take his own life. But then an angel appears to help him see that he, in fact, does have a wonderful life.  

Bennett said they chose to do the radio version of the play because it had better reviews. 

“I don’t really know why,” Bennett said. “Probably because it, to me, has an extra measure of that Christmas magic and joy.” 

She said it can bring back the thought of families coming together around the radio and listening to stories together. 

Putting this play together is different from other plays, according to Bennett. They only have five actors who all use different voices to play the other characters.  

“Three of them play up to 12 different characters in different voices,” Bennett said.  

Bennett said they not only change their voice but also change their stance and their bodies so the audience can tell they are a different character. 

They also have a Foley artist. Foley is finding objects that can reproduce sounds made in everyday life. Bennett says they have around 40 different sounds that each play around five or so times each during the play.  

Lucky for the company, the writer of the play included the different objects that would be needed for sound effects. Some of the objects recommended they could not find. 

“We are supposed to have a 1946 car door on a frame, which - I have looked - but we haven’t been able to find that,” Bennett said.  

Other sounds they created and put on a soundboard.  

Bennett says coming to the play will be a completely different experience than watching the original “It’s a Wonderful Life” movie with Jimmy Stewart. 

“I feel like I can connect more, so when I am at a real live show,” Bennett said. “With this show, I think people are really going to feel like they stepped back in time to the 1940s, 1946 particularly, and really just remember that nostalgia of Christmas time.”