It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

adapted by Joe Landry

Directed by Stephanie Gularte

“One of the best holiday shows around. Fresh and inventive. Highly recommended.” -Chicago Sun-Times

This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, and live, on-stage sound effects, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers a world in which he’d never been born one fateful Christmas Eve.

December 10 – 24, 2016

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Colleen Cherry (Sally Applewhite – Mary Hatch) is thrilled to return for her second year in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. She recently played the title character in the Jobsite Theater/Straz Center co-production of LIZZE. Previous American Stage credits include Hysteria, Wit, The Vagina Monologues, and A Doll’s House. She received her BA in Performing Arts from The University of Tampa where favorite shows included Falsettos, Midsummer, and Sweet Charity. Regional credits include: Silence! The Musical (Jobsite Theater/Straz Center); My Fair Lady (Asolo Repertory Theatre); Grease (Show Palace Dinner Theater); Tartuffe (Tampa Repertory Theatre); Shipwrecked (New Stage Theater); Rocky Horror (Straz Center); Taming of the Shrew & Merry Wives of Windsor (Theatre Under the Stars in NH); five years of children’s theatre tours with Stages Productions, as well as several staged readings in Manhattan Class Company’s Freshplay Festival in NYC. She is a founding member of Avant-Guardian, producer of Best of the Bay award-winning cabarets and immersive theatre including Sexxx Dreams & Much Ado: Immersive Performance & Exhibition.

Whitaker Gardner (Station Manager – Foley Artist) is excited to return to the stage here at American Stage. He recently had his regional theatre debut as Felipe/Officer Loyal in TARTUFFE (American Stage). His other recent credits include Jack Lawson in RACE; A PLAY, Lucifer/Abraham in THE MYSTERIES: CREATION, Claudius in HAMLET and Malvolio in TWELFTH NIGHT (Georgia Southern University). Ensemble in DO NOT OPEN (2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival). He is currently one of the new Acting/Production Apprentices at American Stage. He would like to thank Stephanie Gularte, Jim Sorensen and the rest of the staff at American Stage for this wonderful opportunity. He also thanks his fellow Apprentices for their support and love. He graduated from Georgia Southern University with a B.F.A. in Theatre. Much love to his friends, family and to Rachel.

V Craig Heidenreich* (Freddie Filmore – Potter & Others) recently appeared at American Stage as Harry Wilson in the award-winning Pitmen Painters. He was also seen at Florida Rep as Juror Eight in Twelve Angry Men where he just directed Best of Enemies. Additionally, last season, he directed Freak for the Urbanite in Sarasota. He has produced, directed, and/or performed in more than 200 professional productions throughout the country including 15 seasons and more than eighty productions with Actors Theatre of Louisville, three seasons with the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, two seasons with the Asolo in Florida, five with Shakespeare Santa Cruz in California and three years as artistic director of the Complete Theatre Alliance and Infinite Space as well as the first three seasons of the Banyan Theater in Sarasota of which he is a founder. He currently splits his time between theatre work and coaching for Banyan Voice and Speech in which he and his wife, Tess Hogan, are partners.

Becca McCoy* (Lana Sherwood – Violet & Others) was most recently seen as The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot for American Stage in the Park this past spring. She has performed nationwide in Motherhood the Musical and Menopause the Musical, and at the Straz Center in Tampa as Sleeping Beauty in Disenchanted!, for which she won the Broadway World Tampa award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Regional theatre credits include: Josie in A Moon for the Misbegotten (Illinois Theatre Center, IL), Sour Kangaroo in Seussical (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, IL), Mavis in Church Basement Ladies (Merry-Go-Round Theatre, NY), Frau Fahrenkopf in The Night of the Iguana (Palm Beach Dramaworks), and Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha (The Wick Theatre, FL). Up next, she will make her Jobsite Theatre debut as both Dukes in As You Like It, opening in January. Becca is a proud 13-year member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Jim Sorensen* (Jake Laurent – George Bailey) Off-Broadway/New York credits include The Body Beautiful, Plain & Fancy (York), Miracle on 34th Street (Engeman), Plagued: A Love Story (NYMF). Regional credits include The 39 Steps, A Few Good Men (Flat Rock Playhouse), Into the Woods, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Fulton), Les Miserables (Arts Center of Coastal Carolina). Florida credits include Butler (Florida Studio), South Pacific, 1776(Asolo), Time Stands Still (Banyan), The Buffalo Kings, Cabaret, Becky Shaw, The Burnt Part Boys (freeFall), The Rocky Horror Show(American Stage), The Blue Room (Stageworks). 2012 BOTB Best Actor, 2014 TTB Outstanding Featured Actor, 2016 Handy Award Best Supporting Actor. A proud member of Actors’ Equity, Jim is also the Operations Manager at American Stage. Much love to my beautiful wife, Natalie.

Dean Wick (Harry ‘Jazzbo’ Heywood – Clarence & Others) has worked in variety of performance and technical capacities, most recently reprising his role as the Shooter in THE SHOOTER for Read No More, at Gulfport Community Players as Zbrowoski in MODIGLIANI, Rueben in ESCANABA IN DA MOONLIGHT, and Moses in WHOLLY MOSES, for which he received a Cathy award. For Halloween, Dean conceived and produced in conjunction with Rachel Harrison The Gallery of Mortality, which was exhibited at the Crosley Estate, Studio@620, and City of Imagination, featuring a walking tour through 3-dimensional illustrations of works by Edgar Allan Poe. He has provided scenic design, construction, props, or lighting for local theaters such as American Stage, Asolo Rep, Florida Studio Theatre, St. Petersburg City Theater, and Studio@620, and was a member of the production staff at the Sterling Renaissance Festival in New York for 12 seasons.

“It’s a delightful experience, mostly because everyone in it seems to understand what they are there to do and then does those things well…a relaxing and entertaining evening.”

-Andrew Meacham, Tampa Bay Times
Review: ‘It’s A Wonderful Life” Radio Play a Charming Diversion at American Stage