Brennan, McCarthy, McLenigan, Page and Pryor Create Wonderful Life Radio Play in Philly

News   Brennan, McCarthy, McLenigan, Page and Pryor Create Wonderful Life Radio Play in Philly
The Prince Music Theater's holiday-season production is the Philadelphia-area premiere of Joe Landry's live radio play adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Life," the durable inspirational movie by Frank Capra.

Performances play Dec. 4-21. Opening is Dec. 5.

It's a Wonderful Life — A Live Radio Play "is a play-within-a-play retelling of the classic Frank Capra film, which has become a holiday favorite," according to Prince notes. "This version tells the tale of George Bailey, Bedford Falls, and an angel named Clarence as broadcast by a 1940s radio station on Christmas Eve 1946 in front of a live studio audience. Five very busy actors perform the many characters of the story, old-style live sound effects are provided by an onstage Foley artist, and piano underscoring accompanies the action. Holiday music and original radio commercials add to the fun."

The tale tells of the "importance of one person's life and the positive impact one person can have on the lives of many others."

Directed by Barry McNabb (Meet Me in St. Louis at Irish Rep, Drama Desk nomination for Sailor's Song), the Prince Music Theater production sets the radio station in Philadelphia, and makes the station's call sign "WPMT" — "where MUSIC is our middle name."

According to Prince notes, "Old-style radio commercials have been newly-imagined for TastyKake and Wanamakers — inspired by actual jingles of the period. The original music for these jingles, plus underscoring and arrangements, has been composed and will be performed by music director Collin Maier (The World Goes 'Round at the Prince). Several holiday songs have been added to the show to make this play with music even more festive." The cast features Barrymore Award winner Pete Pryor as George, Barrymore winner Tom McCarthy as Clarence, Jennifer Page (Walnut Street's Les Miz) as Mary Bailey, Rachel Brennan (Nobody's Perfect at the Kennedy Center) as "the voices of all the other women in Bedford Falls: and Jered McLenigan (a multiple Barrymore nominee) as "the rest of the town" and WPMT's station announcer.

Drama Desk Award-nominated sound designer and Foley expert is Jeff Lorenz, who tours internationally as sound designer/composer for SaBooge Theatre. He "will be adding to the 1940s atmosphere…by performing on the Theremin."

The creative team includes set designer Liz Burow, costume designer Maxine Johnson and Barrymore winning lighting designer Shelley Hicklin.

Prince Music Theater is at 1412 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. For more information, call (215) 569-9700 or visit


Performing on the Prince mainstage almost every morning in December will be Enchantment Theatre Company's The Snow Queen for children and families. The Prince stage crew will be turning over the set twice a day to accommodate both productions on the same stage.

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