Theatre Unleashed Brings Back IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, 12/5-21
A very eventful year for Theatre Unleashed culminates in the return of its annual holiday show and what has become a local seasonal tradition. TU is bringing back its mega-hit show KAWL Presents It's a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play for the Stage, this time presented in the company's new home The Belfry Stage in North Hollywood from Dec. 5-21 (with a special private charity show at Burbank Arts Colony on Dec. 1).
The show takes place at KAWL, a struggling 1940s radio station that good-hearted owner Michael Anderson is barely keeping alive. He calls on some old friends (with big personalities) and some less-than-professional station employees to offer up a live radio version of Frank Capra's touching masterpiece It's a Wonderful Life in what might sadly be the station's last live show. But it is the holidays, a time when miracles can happen...
"It's a play within a play, and by presenting both the story of It's a Wonderful Life and the struggles of this fictional radio station in the environment of a live radio play in front of a live audience, we have so much to play with in terms of creating a really magical atmosphere that's perfect for the holidays," said Jim Martyka, the Director of Publicity for TU and the show's playwright.
And for the past two years, audiences have responded packing houses for the show. This year, TU is excited about the challenge of presenting the show in its new space at The Belfry Stage, where the company recently closed both successful productions of Trust and its Late Night Series showPlay/Time.
"We've had a great year with our Main Stage production of Round Rock, our success at Hollywood Fringe with 25 Plays Per Hour and our co-production [tos], moving into the new space, a huge fundraiser and more," said Carlos Martinez, artistic director for the company. "This show is the perfect way for us to end a great season."
Though not set in stone, this might also mark the last season for TU's production of It's a Wonderful Life, at least for a while, as the company explores other holiday shows. Plus, Martyka and the artistic team are looking at other classic stories to set in the KAWL universe. With this production, TU is once again continuing its practice of partnering with a local charity, this time teaming up with Toys For Tots. The company is also offering a private show at the Burbank Arts Colony on Dec. 1 and looking to take the show to other places this holiday season. For more information, check out www.theatreunleashed.com.