Artists Rep Brings Beloved Holiday Classic to Life with Joe Landry’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY Inventive Spin on Heartwarming, Time-Honored Tale

Comment Off 34 Views

Artists Rep Brings Beloved Holiday Classic to Life with Joe Landry’s


Inventive Spin on Heartwarming, Time-Honored Tale


WHO:                    Artists Repertory Theatre

By Joe Landry

Directed by Beth Harper

WHEN:                 December 6 – December 30, 2018

Preview Performances: Dec. 6 & 7

Opening Night/Press Night: Saturday, Dec. 8 @ 8pm

Regular run Dec. 9 through Dec. 30

Wednesday-Monday @ 8pm (no performance Christmas Eve)

Additional Performance: Wednesday, Dec. 12 @ 2pm

Closing Performance: Dec. 30 @ 8pm

WHERE:                Northwest Children’s Theater and School, 1819 NW Everett St Portland, OR 97209

TICKETS:               $40 regular price; $30 preview/student/under 35; $25 child 10 & under

Special Discounts:

Sliding Scale (tickets start at $10): Monday & Wednesday evening performances
4-seat+ Group: $35 adult, $25 under 35/student, $20 child 10 & under
8-seat+ Group: $30 adult, $20 under 35/student, $15 child 10 & under

Artists Rep participates in Arts for All and the Multnomah County Library’s Discovery Pass Program.

Buy Tickets:  503.241.1278 or


Dec. 6 & 7: $30 ticket + glass of Dark Horse wine or Lagunitas beer

BOOK & FILM LIST: Play-inspired recommendations by Multnomah County Library staff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Portland, Oregon | November 16, 2018. This holiday season, Artists Repertory Theatre presents Joe Landry’s It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, directed by Beth Harper. The limited engagement of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is from December 6 through December 30 at Northwest Children’s Theater and School.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast to a theatre audience. Inspired by Frank Capra’s classic American film It’s a Wonderful Life, the staged play features six actors who perform dozens of characters, along with a Foley artist who produces all the sound effects. It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play premiered in 1996 at Stamford Center for the Arts in Stamford, Connecticut, and has since been produced around the country to critical acclaim.


This is the fourth production in Artists Rep’s 2018/19 season that includes students from Portland Actors Conservatory (PAC). With the recently developed LORT LAB program, five second-year PAC students were chosen for supporting roles in Artists Rep productions to fulfill their performance credit requirements through PAC. Founded in 1985 by Artistic Director Beth Harper, PAC provides rigorous actor training that engages the mind and heart of the artist, while cultivating a spirit of lifelong investment in the arts. PAC is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre and licensed by the Oregon Department of Higher Education. PAC is a resident company of the ArtsHub at Artists Rep.



The beloved holiday staple comes to life as a live 1940s radio broadcast with the story of George Bailey. George grew up in picturesque Bedford Falls, but dreams of leaving the small town behind to see the world. Obligations and unforeseen circumstances get in the way of his aspirations and he is tied to his hometown forever as he takes over the Building & Loan from his father and his uncle. When a terrible mistake leaves George on the verge of disaster, he considers ending his life on Christmas Eve until he meets a fateful friend named Clarence. Made complete by your favorite local talent and an onstage Foley artist, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is a fun, heartwarming delight for the whole family.


“…it’s easy for the audience to get caught up in the fun…”

  • Anita Gates, TheNew York Times

“One of the best holiday shows around. This is a fresh and inventive way of reconnecting with a classic story of love and redemption.”

–         Mary Houlihan, Chicago Sun-Times

“A well-loved tale told with style, charm and a heart so big it could burst the ribcage of the harshest Grinch.”

  • Kerry Reid, The Chicago Tribune


“I’ve had a quote by Cory Booker in my wallet that I take out and read periodically, as I’ve been preparing for It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” said Director Beth Harper. “It’s about the power of small things. It reads, ‘Stay faithful in things large and taking on the world, but stay faithful in those things small – because remember it’s the small things, the size of a mustard seed, that ultimately moves mountains.’  That’s my inspiration for this show, and the story of everyman George Bailey.”


“While the rest of our 2018/19 season is filled with contemporary work, we’re thrilled to be in-residence at Northwest Children’s Theater in the Northwest Neighborhood Cultural Center to share this popular, theatrical spin on Frank Capra’s holiday classic with audiences of all ages,” said Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez. “At its heart, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is about gratitude: for all the good people in our lives, for the support of our loved ones, and for the ways we are united as a community. I’m filled with gratitude for the community of artists we’ve brought together led by longtime Artists Rep artist Beth Harper, producing artistic director of Portland Actors Conservatory, who directs a cast led by Artists Rep Resident Artists Chris Harder and Susannah Mars as George and Mary Bailey. It is my hope that this live, music-filled evening enchants Portland audiences, as we share a story that for many is a holiday institution.”


It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is sponsored by Classic Pianos.



Joe Landry’s plays have been produced across the country and internationally, and include It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Reefer Madness, Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play, Eve & Co., Beautiful, Hollywood Babylon, and Numb. Mr. Landry attended Playwrights Horizons/NYU, founded Second Guess Theatre Company in Connecticut, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. He is currently developing new projects for the stage and screen.



Beth Harper is thrilled to be back at Artists Rep where her professional acting and directing career began over 35 years ago. Her directing credits with Artists Rep include FM, Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music, How I Learned to Drive, and Drawer Boy (featuring Allen Nause). Ms. Harper is the founder and producing artistic director of the Portland Actors Conservatory, a nationally accredited independent school for actor training located at Artists Rep. Beth has directed over 35 productions for the conservatory. Her favorites include: A Piece of my Heart, Holy Ghosts, This Random World, Good Kids, and Fuddy Meers. Her next show for the conservatory is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, which she is co-directing with Chris Harder. Beth loves to travel and has worked both nationally and internationally as a performing artist. Beth is a commissioner for the National Association of Schools of Theatre, a recipient of the Leslie O. Fulton Fellowship for Artistic Excellence, and received the Drammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 for her outstanding leadership and accomplishment in education and professional theatre.


By Joe Landry
Directed by Beth Harper



Dave Bodin+ as Freddie Filmore (Potter and other roles*) | Eurydice, Becky’s New Car, Owen Meany’s Christmas Pageant, Never the Sinner, Present Laughter (Artists Rep); TV and film credits include Nowhere Man, Leverage, Grimm, The Librarians, Shiver, Bucksville

Jimmy Garciaas Harry “Jazzbo” Heywood (Clarence and other roles*) | An Octoroon, A Civil War Christmas (Artists Rep); Óye Oyá (Milagro); Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue, 26 Miles (Profile Theatre)

Chris Harder+^ as Jake Laurents (George Bailey and other roles*) | The Thanksgiving Play, CaughtMarjorie Prime, The Skin of Our Teeth, We Are Proud to Present…, Intimate Apparel  (Artists Rep); The Yellow Wallpaper (CoHo Productions); CyranoOthello, The Receptionist  (Portland Center Stage)

Susannah Mars+^ as Sally Applewhite (Mary Bailey and other roles*) | Small Mouth Sounds, A Civil War Christmas, Mars On LifeThe Quality of Life (Artists Rep); Sweeney Todd (Portland Opera); Scarlet, The Light In The Piazza (Portland Playhouse); Fiddler on the Roof (Portland Center Stage)

Alyssa Longoria~ as Lana Sherwood (Violet and other roles*) | Othello: The Remix (Portland Actors Conservatory)

Leslie North~ as Foley Artist | Skeleton Crew (Artists Rep), Petite Dames (LineStorm Playwrights), Hell Door Boogie (Portland Actors Conservatory); Squaring Up (Project One Collaborative Arts); The Amen Corner (Southwest Tennessee Community College); In the Red and Brown Water (Hattiloo Theatre)

Victoria Schindler~ as Laurie Sherwood | Othello: The Remix (Portland Actors Conservatory); ShadowlandsMary PoppinsSee how they runSeussical the Musical (Bethel College)


*It’s a Wonderful Life roles from Frank Capra’s classic American film



Director | Beth Harper

Scenic Designer | John Ellingson

Costume Designer | Wanda Walden

Lighting Designer | Kristeen Willis Crosser #

Music Director, Co-Sound Designer | Rodolfo Ortega ^

Co-Sound Designer | Jake Newcomb

Stage Manager | Carol Ann Wohlmut +^

Dramaturg | Luan Schooler

Props Master | Robert Amico

Wig Designer | Diane Trapp

Production Assistant | Shira Goldeen


Producing Director | Shawn Lee

Associate Producer & Production Manager | Kristeen Willis Crosser

Casting Director | Vonessa Martin

Costume Shop Manager/Wardrobe | Clare Hungate-Hawk

Technical Director | Nathan Crone

Scene Shop Foreman | Eddie Rivera

Master Carpenter | Charlie Capps

Scenic Charge | Sarah Kindler

Master Electrician | Ronan Kilkelly

Sound Technician | David Petersen

Sound Board Op | Jake Newcomb

Light Board Op | Margot New

Wig Maintenance | Jael Shepherd


+ Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the U.S.

# The scenic, costume, lighting, projection & sound designers are represented by United Scenic Artists

~ Portland Actors Conservatory student

^ Artists Rep Resident Artist




Artists Repertory Theatre’s mission is to produce intimate, provocative theatre and provide a home for artists and audiences to take creative risks. Artists Rep gratefully acknowledges our theatre rests on the traditional lands of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and many other tribes who made their homes along the Columbia River.


Artists Rep is Portland’s premiere mid-size regional theatre company, and is led by Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez and Managing Director J.S. May. Founded in 1982, Artists Repertory Theatre is the longest-running professional theatre company in Portland. Artists Rep became the 72nd member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) in 2016 and is an Associate Member of the National New Play Network (NNPN). Artists Rep’s 2018/19 season can be found here.

Artists Rep has become a significant presence in American regional theatre with a legacy of world, national, and regional premieres of provocative new work with the highest standards of stagecraft. The organization is committed to local artists and features a company of Resident Artists, professionals of varied theatre disciplines, who are a driving force behind Artists Rep’s creative output and identity.

RESIDENT ARTISTS—Artists Rep productions feature the work of a core group of over two dozen multidisciplinary theatre professionals. Hailing from around the country, the Resident Artists are nationally renowned and award-winning actors, directors, writers, designers, and educators who have chosen to make Portland and Artists Rep their artistic home. Working together and independently, they create inventive and theatrically rich experiences for audiences while playing a major role in defining Portland’s cultural landscape.


TABLE|ROOM|STAGE—Established in 2015, Table|Room|Stage (T|R|S) is Artists Rep’s new play program that offers development opportunities for local and national playwrights, and ensures that underrepresented voices are heard on stage. This program strives to make a meaningful impact on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the theatre field by mandating opportunities for women writers and writers of color, and cultivating the next generation of theatre-goers. Artists Rep is committed to bringing the exciting work of women, transgender, and non-binary writers and writers of color to its stages with this program. Artists Rep’s first completed T|R|S commission was The Talented Ones, by Yussef El Guindi (premiered April 2017). The second T|R|S commission was The Thanksgiving Play, by Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota) (premiered April 2018). The third T|R|S commission will be Wolf Play by Hansol Jung (to premiere March 2019). Current playwright commissions include: Linda Alper, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Rathje, and Andrea Stolowitz. T|R|S is also developing work with playwrights Anthony Hudson and Susannah Mars. To learn more about all the projects, playwrights, and programs of T|R|S visit here.


EDUCATION—The 2018/19 Artists Rep season launched a robust education program with a dedication to programs that help develop theatre artists and arts professionals. These education opportunities focus on engaging and elevating our community by offering professional-level classes, coaching and workshops with our Resident Artists and guest artists. These classes serve artists seeking professional development, as well as curious community members who can take classes on subjects such as dramaturgy, script-writing, acting for communication, and more. With the innovative Student Ambassador Program, students learn about the inner-workings of a major nonprofit professional theatre, meet once per month, see shows for free, and participate in discussions with leading theatre artists and professionals. The purpose of the program is to introduce students to the full range of skills and ideas that are essential to running a professional theatre and to foster the next generation of arts leaders and professionals. Access and enrichment continues for schools and educators who enjoy ticket discounts, school programming, and workshops. Artists Rep’s pre- and post-show discussions have been enhanced to include post-show mingling with the cast, director and staff, and a dedicated conversation with production designers.


ARTSHUB—Artists Rep is also home to the ArtsHub, where a diverse range of artists and arts organizations find a home and thrive with access to affordable administrative, performance, and rehearsal space, as well as myriad support services. The ArtsHub serves as a community arts center, where performance venues and lobbies buzz with creative energy and Portland’s arts-loving audiences gather. Over the past year, Artists Rep hosted 324 rehearsals and more than 600 performances, events, and other happenings by over 50 groups. To learn about the arts organizations of Artists Rep’s ArtsHub visit here.


Artists Repertory Theatre receives generous support from our community of patrons, including significant leadership gifts from: Anonymous, The Collins Foundation, The Robert & Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, Ronni Lacroute, The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Regional Arts & Culture Council, The Shubert Foundation, and David & Christine Vernier. Additional Corporate and Foundation support comes from: Advance Gender Equity in the Arts (AGE); Hotel deLuxe; Jackson Foundation; Kinsman Foundation; Oregon Arts Commission, a State Agency; Oregon Cultural Trust; The Oregonian/OregonLive (media sponsor); Rafati’s Catering; Dark Horse Wine; and US Bank.

# # #




By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, co-directed by Jessica Wallenfels & Dámaso Rodríguez.

November 25 – December 30.


By Joe Landry, directed by Beth Harper. December 6 – 30.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Editor of Media website.
Free Newsletter Updated Daily