Bedford Falls meets WandaVision in Cary Players’ Dec 3-6 production of It’s A Wonderful Life

Joe Landry’s Cary Players December 3-6 production It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, directed by Nancy Rich, stars Bridget Patterson and Nick Popio as Mary and George Bailey (photo by Charles Ruffin)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This preview is based on a press release from Cary Players. – RWM

Everyone loves the classic 1946 movie It’s a wonderful life. And the Cary players presented theatrical adaptations of It’s a wonderful life in the past, using a wide distribution of adult and child artists. For their Christmas show this time around, the Cary players have chosen a new and unique adaptation in Joe landry called It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. What makes it unique is that Landry’s version only calls for five actors to play all of the roles: George, Mary, Clarence the Angel, Mr. Potter – and pretty much all of the residents of Bedford Falls.

The story takes place at a posh Manhattan radio station. Actors in 1940s cocktail dress approach the microphone to perform the lines, reading a script. They play multiple roles changing their voices, facial expressions and poses, often at lightning speed.

“When Cary Players asked me if I would like to direct this show, I was thrilled! ” noted Nancy Rich, director of the show. “I love the movie, and Landry’s script includes all the key moments we all love, like ‘Buffalo Gals’ and ‘The Petals of Zuzu’. But Landry’s script is not the same anymore Wonderful life. It’s a new approach that taps into our imaginations.

“Imagine Mr. Potter and Peter Bailey having a heated conversation, then imagine the scene played by a single actor arguing with himself,” Rich said. “Even though it’s called a radio play, I want the audience to know that it will be a different experience than listening to a radio show or a podcast. It’s exciting to watch. And I know that the public will take particular pleasure in watching our Artist Foley work its magic.

“Foley” is the art of creating sound effects for radio, film and television. Jack Donovan Foley rose to fame in the 1930s for designing sound for live radio broadcasts, using everyday objects to create the effects. For example, the Foley Artist in the Cary players the production will use corn flakes and a pair of shoes to create the sound of George Bailey trudging through the snow. Munching on a stalk of celery becomes the audio effect of Harry Bailey falling through the ice.

The cast includes Tony Hefner as Harry “Jazzbo” Heywood / Clarence Oddbody, Steve migdon as Freddie Fillmore / Announcer, Morrisa nagel as Lana Sherwood / Violet, Bridget patterson as Sally Applewhite / Mary Bailey, and Nick popio as Jake Laurents / George Bailey. Kenna berg, the current assistant stage manager of the show, makes a cameo appearance as stage manager of the radio play.

Nancy Rich has directed and choreographed several shows for the Cary players over the years, including The revenge of a blonde, You are a good man Charlie Brown, Joseph and the incredible Technicolor dream coat, Once upon a time there was a mattress, Guys and dolls, and one Bollywood-style version of A Midsummer Night’s dream. His next directorial project for Cary Players is Shrek: The Musical, which was scheduled for spring 2020, but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show is rescheduled for next April.

Darylene Hecht, the show’s musical director, created all of the musical transitions and Christmas underlines. Like most radio shows of the era, there are commercials with bouncy jingles sung by the cast, with custom vocal arrangements by Hecht.

The costume designer for the show is Emily johns. The lighting designer is Jeremy Diamant. The masters of accessories are Nicolas lefler and Paula Andrews. The sound designer / engineer is Ed killian, with rich rod at the Foley table. Bob grannan is the technical coordinator and master carpenter, and Chris Berg is a manager.

“My artistic vision of the show? Above all, the story needs to have an emotional resonance – a lot of heart, ”says Rich. “Sometimes we get a little teary-eyed during rehearsals, because the scenes are so… well, they’re so. Human. In directing, I don’t stick to the convention of radio broadcasting that the actors stay perfectly still in front of the microphones all the time. And for that, I can receive criticisms that this production is not “historically accurate”.

“I’m a choreographer,” she says, “and when I’m directing a show it tends to be kinetic. These are no excuses – live theater should be a visual and aural experience. There are wonder moments in history when Bedford Falls invades our universe – much like in WandaVision. These are the times when we take out the special special effects. If I had to describe this production, it would be: Heart + WandaVision. “

at Joe Landry IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO GAME (In person at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Monday, December 3 and 6), realized by Nancy Rich VIDEOS: PRESS RELEASE : (Cary players to Cary Arts Center in Cary). SEASON 2021-22: OFFICIAL SITES:,,, and TICKETS: $ 20 ($ 18 students and seniors 55+), except $ 17 per person for groups of eight or more (To note: All tickets cost $ 20 at the door). Call 800-514-3849, 919-469-4069, or click here to buy tickets. DIRECTIONS: CAR PARK: ACCESSIBILITY: CITY OF CARY COVID-19 SECURITY PROTOCOL: INFORMATION: 919-439-4410 or PLEASE DONATE TO: Cary players.

Tagged as: Cary Arts Center, Cary Players, It’s a Wonderful Life, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Joe Landry, Nancy Rich

Posted in: Feature films, main story, theatrical feature film

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