REVIEWSTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

It’s A Wonderful Life: 2010 Live at the Biograph

Based on the Frank Capra film and it's a wonderful life at american blues theatre 2010

based on the short story

“The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern

Directed by Marty Higginbotham

Produced by American Blues Theater

At the Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens Biograph

Still heartfelt after all the years.

The folks at the American Blues Theater have been mounting their heartfelt and utterly charming production of It’s A Wonderful Life as a radio play for years – first at the former home at ATC and now in the upstairs space at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater.  The American Blues Theater’s production of the Capra classic holiday show is the definitive production to see. Others may imitate and do worthy productions, but I believe that ABT’s has so much warmth, terrific production values and wholly invested acting – that exudes so much goodwill and sparkle that it is a “must see” holiday show.

The 2010 has the same dedicated cast as last year (with the exception of James Joseph now playing Uncle Billy). These polished actors play multiple characters with a simple twist of their bodies or a different vocal inflection. As I stated last year, Kevin R. Kelly, as George Bailey, and John Mohrlein, as Clarance and Mr. Potter, lead the talented cast in a spirited presentation of the radio play. The only thing lacking here is an actual broadcast on WGN or WFMT so thousands can enjoy this wonderful, tear-jerking show.

The holidays are not complete without seeing this family-friendly morality tale  that celebrates the human spirit.  I stand by my review of the show from last year:

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

At the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., chicago, IL, call 773-628-3526, tickets $32 – $40, Thursdays & Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 5 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2;30 pm, running time is 80 minutes without intermission, through December31, 2010

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