You’ve seen it on TV, and now you can see it as a radio play.
The Manatee Players’ next show in the Bradenton Kiwanis Studio Theater is “It’s a Wonderful Life,” a stage version of the classic James Stewart-Donna Reed holiday movie.
Obviously, the stage and film versions are going to be different. One main difference is that this version is performed as an old-time radio play. Actors speak into microphones, with limited movement. Most of the actors play more than one character, and a sound-effects artist and a pianist are right there on stage. The set is a radio station, not the bucolic home town of George Bailey and mean old Mr. Potter.
So the audience will have to use a little imagination to picture Bedford Falls. But most of us have seen the movie enough that summoning the images won’t be a problem.
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The story is very faithful to the original, so people who love the Frank Capra version won’t be disappointed.
But since it’s meant to be a radio play, the action will be interrupted a couple of times for commercials, performed by the cast.
The story is partly an inspirational Christmas fantasy and partly a romance. After suffering some financial setbacks, George Bailey wishes he had never been born. An angel is sent to earth to show George what his town would have been like without him. George begins to appreciate how many lives he has changed and that his life that seemed humdrum was actually extraordinary.
Details: Dec. 1-18 Bradenton Kiwanis Theater at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $26-$36. 941-748-5875, manateeperformingartscenter.com.