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18
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Adapted from the movie by Frank Capra

Reviewed by Frank West

The play is life-affirming, cheerful ands optimistic. It gives a wonderful sense of the importance of life and the influence we have on others.

In 1946, Frank Capra made It's A Wonderful Life into a movie. He was an outstanding director and producer of many award-winning movies in the 1930's and 1940's.

About the hopeful and uplifting views in the movie, he could say: "We influence many people in our life times. The film wants us to influence them for the good."

American Blues Theater presents the play as a radio drama, as was common before TV. Radio drama is a form of storytelling broadcast on radio. It depends on dialogue, music and sound effects.

Quoting Theatre in Chicago and the press release: "For 16 years, the American Blues Ensemble has treated Chicago audiences to a live 1940's radio broadcast of holiday favorite, It's A Wonderful Life. The incredible cast recreates the entire town of Bedford Falls with Foley sound effects, an original score and holiday carols. The Bedford Falls 'residents' extend their hospitality after each performance by treating audiences to milk and cookies served by the cast."

Artistic Director, Gwendolyn Whiteside says: "this story reminds us of the fragility of life. Frank Capra's line - "Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" - resonates throughout the year. Whiteside is the director of this skilled, creative and versatile ensemble of actors.

Another unique feature of the presentation is" "During each performance, American Blues Theater honors one serviceman or servicewoman with a short personal tribute, a projected photo, and two complementary tickets. This recognition received a sanding ovation the evening I was there.

This lively, uplifting production of It's A wonderful Live: Live in Chicago! is presented by American Blues Theater, adapted from Frank Capra's film and directed by Gwendolyn Whiteside and runs through January 6.

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays at 7:30
Saturdays: 4:30 and 7:30
Sundays: 7:30
Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont Ave, Chicago. Tickets $19 to $49. 773-327-5252 or americanbluestheater.com.

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