Photo Flash: American Blues Theater Presents IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE

American Blues Theater continues its 2017-2018 Season with its 16th Annual Production of It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! from Frank Capra's film and directed by Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside with musical direction by Ensemble Member Michael Mahler. It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! runs November 16, 2017 - January 6, 2018 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago.

For 16 years, the American Blues Ensemble has treated Chicago audiences to a live 1940s radio broadcast of holiday favorite It's a Wonderful Life. The incredible cast recreates the entire town of Bedford Falls with Foley sound effects, an original score and holiday carols. The Bedford Falls "residents" extend their hospitality after every performance treating audiences to milk and cookies served by the cast.

"This story is a staple of our mission: American Blues Theater explores the American identity through the plays it produces and communities it serves," notes Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside. "This story reminds us of the fragility of life. Frank Capra's line - "Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" - resonates throughout the year. During the holidays, it becomes a poignant reminder as we gather with our loved ones."

The cast of It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! includes Blues artists Dara Cameron (Violet), Ian Paul Custer (Harry), Shawn Goudie (Foley), James Joseph (Uncle Billy), Zach Kenney (George Bailey), Michael Mahler (Announcer), John Mohrlein (Clarence/Mr. Potter), Camille Robinson (Mary Bailey - 12/20-1/6) and Gwendolyn Whiteside (Mary Bailey - 11/16-12/17).

The creative team includes Austin Cook (score composer), Grant Sabin (scenic), Christopher J. Neville (costumes), Katy Peterson (lighting), Elyse Dolan (properties) and Paul Deziel (projection design). The stage manager is Kathryn Lochert.

It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! has received Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for Best Midsize Production and Best Ensemble.



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