“It’s A Wonderful Life” Takes to East End Stages

No matter where you go on the East End this December, you’ll have an opportunity to catch a production of “It’s A Wonderful Life — A Live Radio Play.”

Three local theaters are putting up this new holiday classic, first published in 2006 by Joe Landry, who imagines the classic holiday movie being read aloud for a live 1940s-era radio broadcast, complete with period costumes and Foley sound effects.

Riverhead’s Vail-Leavitt Music Hall at 18 Peconic Ave., is the first to put up the show the weekend of Dec. 9 through 11, with showtimes at 8 p.m. Dec. 9 & 10 and 3 p.m. on Dec. 11. Tickets are $25 and are available at wonderfullife.brownpapertickets.com.

Northeast Stage, known for its North Fork Shakespeare productions, is working with longtime Southampton Director Michael Disher on a production of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” the weekend of Dec. 16 at Holy Trinity Church, 768 Main Street in Greenport. Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2 and 5 p.m. on Dec. 17 and 3 p.m. Dec. 18. 

Mr. Disher, who knows the playwright and has worked in the past to bring his radio adaptations to the stage at the Southampton Cultural Center, is thrilled to be putting up this show.

“It’s A Wonderful Life is, at its core, a work about worth and friendship – and quite often friendships we take for granted,” he said. “For many years, the film has been a holiday favorite, but mounting Joe Landry’s brilliant radio play adaptation of this title is an ongoing lesson. I have directed or mounted this production five or six times to date, but with each incarnation I learned a little bit more about George Bailey, and a little bit more about myself.”

 “I also believe that any presentation of this piece completely and earnestly impacts each and every audience member who again witnesses the revelation of George Bailey’s doubts and worth as a man, husband, father and human, he added. “And shall we always be reminded of this piece’s most valuable lesson: “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends…” 

The Northeast Stage cast includes Nicholas Auletti, Esmerelda Cabrera, Susan Cincotta, Mike Colt, Tim Ferris, Rich Gardini, Joey Giovingo, Fred Hansen, John Lovett, Katrina Lovett, Laura Pearsall, Suzette Reiss, Deb Rothaug, Michael Lynn Schepps, Amie Sponza, Stuart Whalen, and Dan Yaiullo.

Tickets are $20 and are available at northeaststage.org or at the door, and go to benefit the company’s free 2023 Shakespeare in the Park program. Baked goods will also be available for sale.

The Hampton Theatre Company will also be putting up “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” at the Quogue Community Hall, 124 Jessup Ave. in Quogue on the weekend of Dec. 16, with shows Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Complimentary hot cider, chocolate and cookies will be served before the show. Tickets are $10 and are available by calling the box office at 631.653.8955 or visiting hamptontheatre.org.

The production features eight actors from the HTC family, each performing multiple roles in period costumes on a set depicting the studio of the fictional “WBFR” radio station in New York City — Andrew Botsford, Rosemary Cline, Matthew Conlan, Rebecca Edana, Terrence Fiore, Amanda Griemsmann, George Loizides and Roger Moley. The production is directed by Andrew Botsford, lighting design is by Sebastian Paczynski, sound is by Seamus Naughton and costumes are by Teresa Lebrun.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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