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It’s A Wonderful Life Brings Christmas Cheer to San Miguel Playhouse

its_a_wonderful_life

By Fredric Dannen

In 1945, the director Frank Capra read a short story by Philip Van Doren Stern entitled The Greatest Gift and immediately saw its potential as a movie. The story concerned a suicidal man named George Pratt, who one Christmas Eve is granted a wish to have never been born. Pratt returns to his town as a walking spirit and discovers that his family and friends have led much poorer lives due to his absence. A second wish is granted, restoring his life and gratitude.

Capra changed the protagonist’s name to George Bailey and called his movie It’s a Wonderful Life. It went on to become the most cherished of all holiday classics, an enduring staple of every Christmas season. No one was more delighted, or surprised, than Capra himself, who in a 1984 interview said, “I didn’t even think of it as a Christmas story when I first ran across it. I just liked the idea.”

Capra’s movie classic has been adapted for live radio theater, and director Chuck Rubin is once again bringing the stage adaptation to San Miguel de Allende after a seven-year hiatus. Rubin, a multiple award-winning television director and radio producer, turns the stage into a radio studio in the 1940s. As an “On Air” sign flashes, announcing the start of the play, more than a dozen costumed actors perform 36 different roles, bringing the screen story to life. Meanwhile, musician Doug Robinson performs a score of his own composition, and Rubin and Frank Dufor (a veteran of Radio France) provide live sound effects.

It’s a Wonderful Life will be performed four times at the San Miguel Playhouse, Avenida Independencia 82, Thursday through Saturday, December 13, 14, and 15, at 7pm. There is a Sunday 3pm matinee on December 16. Tickets are 200 pesos in advance and 250 pesos at the door, starting one hour before showtime.

The box office is at Boleto City, Mercado Sano, second floor, Ancha de San Antonio 123, Monday through Saturday, 11am–5pm. Tickets can also be purchased online for US$10 at boletocity.com or sanmiguelplayhouse.com.

In keeping with the holiday spirit, Rubin is donating all proceeds of the production to the Casa Hogar Orphanage for Girls.

The radio play adaptation was last seen at the Santa Ana Theater in 2010 and 2011. This time around, the lead roles of George Bailey and Mary Hatch Bailey will be performed by David Galitzky and Jocelynn Sunrise, who made her San Miguel Playhouse debut in October as Aunt Bella in Lost in Yonkers. Rounding out the cast are Martin Grapplegetter as Clarence; Geoff Hargreaves as Boss Angel, John Wharton as Mr Potter, and Jim Wright as The Announcer. Frank Simons, Marthe Fraser, Henry Vermillion, Gina Giampaoli, Maggie Bunce, Mike Keefe, and Howard Bach will perform other roles.

 

Theater

It’s A Wonderful Life, A Radio Play

Thu–Sat, Dec 13–15, 7pm

Sun, Dec 16, 3pm

San Miguel Playhouse

Av Independencia 82

Tickets:

200 pesos

Boleto City, Mercado Sano Second Floor

Online

boletocity.com or sanmiguelplayhouse.com

US$10

250 pesos at the door

All proceeds benefit Casa Hogar Orphanage for Girls

 

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