It’s a Wonderful Life – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

What would the holiday season be without a visit to Bedford Falls, New York to spend Christmas Eve with George Bailey, his daughter Zuzu and Clarence, the angel who desperately wants to earn his wings. Thanks to the CT Repertory Theatre at the University of Connecticut, your wish can come true if you act quickly. Until Saturday, November 21, you are invited to use your imagination as if it is 1941 and you and your family are gathered around the big brown Philco radio.

A staple of Christmas is “It’s a Wonderful Life” by Philip Grecian, memorably made into a Frank Capra movie starring Jimmy Stewart. Now fourteen actors, including two Actors Equity performers Thom Sesma and Lisa Wolp, will play 60 roles in this radio drama about George Bailey’s life and the trauma that leads him on Christmas Eve to wish he had never been born. His dilemma is so severe that an angel Clarence is sent to earth to help him realize how different his hometown would be without his presence in it.

Hard working George craves adventure and wants to travel before going to college to become an architect. The sudden death of his father forces George to change his plans and become head of the family Building and Loan. As he helps his neighbors finance their homes, he faces the greed of Mr. Potter who wants to destroy George’s legacy and change Bedford Falls to Potterville.

We follow George as he meets Mary who will become his wife, a woman for whom he would lasso the moon, his brother Harry whose life he saves in a skating accident and Mr. Gower, the pharmacist, who mistakenly fills a prescription that could cost a patient her life. When George’s Uncle Billy almost causes financial ruin to the Building and Loan business, George questions if his life had any meaning.

With wonderful emotion and special audio effects, the cast takes us along on George’s journey, helping him see what would have happened had he not been born. To stream this heartwarming tale, call the box office at 860-486-2113 or go online to Streaming tickets are $10 for students, $14 seniors and $16 for the general public. Performances are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. (ASL) and 8 p.m.

Come learn the lessons of helping each other in a community through difficult times, not unlike the reality of COVID today, in this classic Christmas tale of redemption where one eager second class angel, after hundreds of years of trying, finally gets his wings.