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The Journal Gazette


  • Zane Sade plays several characters in “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play,” including the announcer and Ernie the Cabbie. The adaptation imagines the classic story being broadcast live from Fort Wayne on Christmas Eve 1945.

  • Courtesy photos
    Duke Roth plays a foley artist in First Presbyterian Theater’s “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play.”
December 02, 2016 1:02 AM

First Presbyterian Theater

It's a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play

If you go

What: “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play”

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Dec. 10, 17; 2 p.m. Dec. 4; 6 p.m. Dec. 11 and 18

Where: First Presbyterian Theater, 300 W. Wayne St.

Cost: $20 adults, $18 seniors, free for first 30 students at each performance with reservation (first time seeing show only); 426-7421, ext. 121; www.firstpresbyteriantheater.com

The story of George Bailey is told far and wide at Christmastime, but audiences have never seen it like this at First Presbyterian Theater.

“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play” imagines the classic tale being broadcast live from Fort Wayne on Christmas Eve 1945. Adapted and directed by Thom Hofrichter, the show includes holiday carols and a few things that are not normally highlighted onstage, such as the foley artist, played by Duke Roth.

“My role is to add the sounds for what is going on. I voice some things, but really I add the sounds to match the actions and background,” Roth says. “I look at it like enhancing the play. I’m a bass player and I look at the foley artist in the same way. Nobody is going to see the foley artist, but would notice if it wasn’t there.”

Hofrichter says the radio-play style allows the story to be told closer to the Frank Capra movie than has been staged before because in an oral version, there is no need to figure out how to get a cab or snowy hill onto the stage.

The show features Kevin Torwelle, Catherine Harber and Dave Sorg. Solo vocalists Nancy Kartholl and Kyle Cordova also perform. Jeanette Walsh provides the background score.

– Corey McMaken, The Journal Gazette