A beloved Cygnet holiday tradition is coming to a close with a sixth and final run of the timeless classic It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play based on the Frank Capra film and adapted for the stage by Joe Landry. Artistic Director Sean Murray directs a cast of returning favorites and two exciting newcomers! It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play runs November 30th through December 31st, 2011 at Cygnet Theatre in Old Town State Historic Park. Low-priced previews are November 30th through December 2nd. Press Opening is December 3rd at 8pm.
Adoring subscribers and returning fans know the story well... It's December 24, 1946, in Studio A at WCYG Radio, and a cast of actors is preparing to present It's a Wonderful Life in a "live" 1940's radio broadcast filled with music and the beloved characters from the film. With the help of a pianist and a sound effects artist, the ensemble recreates the story of George Bailey, a young man whose dreams of traveling the world are thwarted by his sense of responsibility to the family business. Down on his luck, George contemplates throwing his life away when he is visited by Clarence, a guardian angel, who shows George what the world would be like had he never been born.
This year's cast is once again directed by Artistic Director Sean Murray and features returning favorites including Cygnet Resident Artists Tom Andrew, who received a 2008 San Diego Critic's Circle Award for his signature performance as George Bailey, and Amanda Sitton (The Glass Menagerie, Man from Nebraska, Las Meninas) as Mary Hatch. Other returning favorites include Resident Artists Melissa Fernandes (Little Shop of Horrors, Cabaret, A Little Night Music) as Violet Bick, Veronica Murphy (The Tragedy of The Commons, The Matchmaker, My Fair Lady) as Ma Bailey and Tim West (The Tragedy of The Commons, Communicating Doors) as Clarence the Angel, as well as Jonathan Dunn-Rankin as Mr. Potter. Piano accompaniment and musical direction is once again being provided by Billy Thompson (Music Direction: Cabaret, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and upcoming...Parade).
Cygnet Theatre is delighted to welcome two newcomers to the Wonderful Life cast. University North Carolina School of the Arts graduate Patrick Osteen makes his Cygnet debut as Harry Bailey. Artistic Director Murray, also an alum of UNCSA, is particularly happy to provide a stage for Osteen's move to professional theatre.
Also new to the cast is Resident Artist Jason Connors (Our Town, Noises Off, The Matchmaker) who will take on the thrilling role of Sam Hinds - the Sound Effects Man. Murray's history with Connors includes not only his work as an actor, but also as a Cygnet musical artist. A musician by trade, Connors wrote and played original music for Cygnet's Our Town and Desire Under the Elms. Murray is looking forward to seeing his take on this integral element of the Wonderful Life production.
The final year of Cygnet's Wonderful Life is bittersweet for Murray, who has enjoyed the tradition as much as anyone. "It's been a great part of my holidays, too," statEd Murray. "It's a beautiful story, and I have loved working with each of the artists who have helped us tell it. But at the end of this sixth year, I am also excited to bring something new to the stage. I think it's time, but this show will always be an important part of Cygnet's history."
Cast member Veronica Murphy has been with the show all six years, since its first Cygnet production in 2006. When asked her thoughts about its final run, she stated, "I will miss sharing the giving spirit of Christmas with the thousands of people who come to see It's A Wonderful Life each year. I will REALLY miss working with such a fabulous cast who has become my holiday season family. But life is change, and I look forward to seeing what next December brings."
Performances of It's a Wonderful Life are Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets are $29 - $54. Discounts are available for seniors, students, children and military.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting Cygnet's website at www.cygnettheatre.com or calling the box office at 619-337-1525. Tickets can also be purchased in person by visiting the box office at 4040 Twiggs St. in the Old Town Historic Park.