The 1946 Frank Capra classic film It’s a Wonderful Life is being given an interesting and entertaining framing device at Pottstown’s Steel River Playhouse.
The cast will present the familiar story — small-town dreamer George Bailey falls into despair one Christmas Eve and is saved by his guardian angel — as a radio play. What that means is that the audience will watch not only the production’s cast of actors but also its crew of stage assistants handling special effects, sound cues, musical interludes, and other necessities to bring the story to auditory life.
Further, the sound of the audience’s laughter, applause, and perhaps even a sniffle or two at the emotional climax will be key components.
Given that the theme of the original story is firmly planted in the reality that even small acts of kindness can precipitate widespread good, the Steel River Playhouse production includes an opportunity for audiences to show their generosity.
The Dec. 2 opening marks the beginning of the troupe’s toy drive; audience members are encouraged to bring a new toy to any performance throughout the run (closing night is Dec. 18).
The amassed gifts will then be donated to local families in need.
Steel River Marketing Manager Amanda Morrell (also Assistant Director for It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play) said that this isn’t the first time the theater has layered an opportunity for beneficence into its theatrical programming.
“Steel River Playhouse, the heart of High Street, is dedicated to giving back to the community that so lovingly embraces the arts and live theater,” Morrell said.
“This past fall, during the production of Little Shop of Horrors, we collected food items during our ‘Feed Me Food Drive.’ Patrons donated two full carts of nonperishable food items that were given right back to help feed Pottstown.
“This holiday season, the Playhouse will once again be reaching out to its patrons asking to help bring joy and toys to the children of Pottstown.
“Throughout the run of the production of It’s a Wonderful Life we will be collecting toys to be donated. We are so grateful for all that Pottstown has done and continues to do for the theater and we try our best to be an active participant in this vibrant, neighborly, dedicated community,” Morrell concluded.
The Dec. 2 opening is sponsored by The Hill School and Hobart’s Run. Additional sponsors of the run are Turtle Creek Golf Course and the Scott and Susan Bentley Fund.
Tickets ($29 for adults, $24 for seniors, $17 for students/children) are available online.
Steel River Playhouse welcomes volunteers to assist with the run of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play; signups are handled via email.
Other questions about the organization or its Dec. presentation can also be submitted electronically.