“We are so excited to be back on stage!” says Darren Tharp, director of “Merry Christmas, George Bailey.” The live radio show play of “It’s A Wonderful Life” opened November 27 at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Auditorium.
Since the pandemic, the production is the first in-person performance for CenterStage Community Theatre.
What better way to celebrate CenterStage’s thirtieth anniversary?
According to Board of Director vice president Amy Whitacre, the play was chosen for its message of hope.
“The board took a look at the community and all of the struggles that everyone has gone through in the last 18 months- with COVID and the local fires-and we thought it would be good to remind people that there are always things in our life that are worth living for,” explained Whitacre. “This theme is iconic in ‘It’s A Wonderful Life,’ and our goal is to shed some light and hope in our community this holiday season.”
Based on the 1946 classic Frank Capra movie, the staged radio play “It’s a Wonderful Life” was introduced as a live radio show set in the 1940s. The main action took place through voice acting and specially designed sound effects.
“What normally would be a six-week rehearsal period for a standard show was increased to 11 weeks to add for character development,” says Tharp. “We brought in a professional voiceover actress, Jenny Drake, to provide a masterclass for the cast in vocal and microphone technique. We also added several zoom rehearsals in the mix to encourage the cast to listen to each other the way the audience did back in 1947. This was a challenge and extra work, but it definitely tightened the show up in a big way!”
Chris Lane designed the stage as a 1940s radio studio, complete with microphones and effects equipment. Costume designer, Ginger K. LewisReed, attired the actors in clothing reminiscent of the times.
18 actors play 65 parts. The entire cast does a remarkable job of bringing out the respective personalities of each of their characters.
As the emcee and radio announcer, Elizabeth Stoeckel keeps the action moving and plays Mrs. Hatch.
Mason Lamb delivered a strong performance of a conflicted George Bailey. Lydia Bustos shines as his devoted wife, Mary.
Brett Hedrick plays the trouble-making Mr. Potter and Joseph, a senior angel. Jeff Myers plays George’s Uncle Billy and the want-to-be angel Clarence, hopeful of earning his wings.
- Friday, December 10 at 7 p.m.
- Saturday, December 11 at 2 p.m.
- Saturday, December 11 at 7 p.m.
Ticket prices: $ 20 Adult, $15 Student, $10 Child (5-12 years old). Group prices are also available.
Purchase tickets at the door or online at centerstageclovis.com.centerstageclovis.com