Maryland Ensemble Theatre (MET) continues its fifteeenth anniversary season this December with a festive new take on a holiday classic with, It's A Wonderful LIfe: A Live Radio Play. This award-winning adaptation brings Bedford Falls to life by way of an on stage 1940s radio broadcast, and you're invited to be a member of the live studio audience! Since its premier in 1996 playwright Joe Landry's It's A Wonderful LIfe: A Live Radio Play has been produced hundreds of times across the US and been heralded as, "One of the best holiday shows around." (Chicago Sun-Times). The story, true to Frank Capra's 1946 film classic starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, is told by six actors performing dozen of characters and all the foley sound effects in traditional old-fashioned radio style.
It's Christmas Eve in Bedford Falls and George Bailey is in trouble. His Uncle Billy has lost the $8,000 deposit for their Building and Loan company and the conniving slumlord Mr. Potter is eager to exploit the oppurtunity to destRoy George and tighten his grip on the town. George's friends and family pray for him and those prayers are answered by Clarence, an angel trying to earn his wings, who shows George what life in Bedford Falls would have been like if he had never been born.
The film based on the short story "The Greatest Gift", written by Philip Van Doren Stern has successfully been adapted for both the stage and for radio previously. In fact it was performed as a radio play twice in 1947, first on Lux Radio Theater and then on The Screen Guild Theater, then again in 1951 on the Screen Guild Theater with Stewart and Reed reprising their roles for all three radio productions.
Maryland Ensemble Theatre's production is directed by Joe Brady. Joe is a director, actor, writer, and comedian who holds an MFA in Directing from CUNY and is a graduate of Second City, Chicago. Joe is an Associate Professor of Theater at HOOD College and previously served as Artistic Director of Mother Lode Productions in Baltimore, this is his first time directing at MET. Brady's talented cast includes several actors also making there MET debut including John D'Amato, Mike Fox and Matt Kline as George Bailey. They are joined by several actors that will be familair to MET audiences including Rich Cole, Laura Stark and Courtney McLaughlin as Mary. The production team includes musical coach Geoffy Huntoon, lights by Doug Grove, costumes by Julie Herber, set design by Ali Duvall, with props by Jeanine Collins.
The show will run from December 6 through December 30 every Thursday through Sunday at the MET, located in the historic FSK Hotel at 31 W Patrick Street. The first Thursday performance will be a $5 preview night (cash only at door) and the first Sunday performance will be a gala night with a reception preceding the performance sponsored by The Greene Turtle. Tickets are $15 (Thursdays) through $24 and can be purchased at 301.694.4744, marylandensemble.org or in person at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre box office.
For audiences looking for more festive holiday entertainment the Maryland Ensemble Theatre will also be returning to the Weinberg Center for the Arts, December 14-16, for their fifteeth consecutive year with Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Back on the MET stage the Fun Company's production of Commedia Puss In Boots will be sharing a set with Wonderful Life and runs November 24 through January 6.
Maryland Ensemble Theatre's production of It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is made possible in part through the support of MET's season sponsors including Comcast, The Frederick Gorilla, Key 103, Eagle 106.9, Ausherman Family Foundation, Mark A Pitts Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, The Gazette and both the Frederick and Maryland Arts Councils.
Now celebrating it's fifteenth season the Maryland Ensemble Theatre produces thought-provoking theatre, fun family entertainment, artist residency programs for public schools, theatre camps, challenging classes and the side-splitting Comedy Pigs.