Vanguard University's Department Of Theatre Arts to Presents IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: THE LIVE RADIO PLAY

Vanguard University’s Department of Theatre Arts presents a unique twist on the classic Christmas story.

By: Nov. 30, 2023
Vanguard University's Department Of Theatre Arts to Presents IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: THE LIVE RADIO PLAY
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Vanguard University's highly acclaimed and award-winning department of theatre arts presents It's a Wonderful Life: The Live Radio Play. This heartwarming play reimagines the timeless, heartwarming Christmas classic through the lens of a classic 1940s radio show, bringing it to life in a brand-new way.

"In the 1940s this very campus was home to a military training facility, the Santa Ana Army Airbase. What is now college dorms were once army barracks! As an Army brat myself and as an ode to veterans and active military personnel, we wanted to put a fresh twist on a holiday classic. The audience will be helping us make the theatrical magic come to life and I hope they enjoy every second. I am so proud of the student artists, and I believe this Christmas experience will inspire the audience and remind us all to cherish God's greatest itself. God Bless and Merry Christmas!"

-Director, Preston Butler III

Preston Butler III graduated from CalArts with an MFA in Acting. He won Best Actor for his role in the West Coast Premiere of the Lortel Award-winning play "Pass Over." Preston has performed onstage internationally and at multiple Tony-award-winning theaters (Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Rep, Dallas Theater Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Playhouse). He made his screen debut on "NCIS" for CBS network and has played the likes of Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, and Sammy Davis, Jr. Preston is a recurring character on the long-running VO drama "Adventures in Odyssey." Audio-book awards include the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audio Production for Young Adults (When You Look Like Us), Sydney Taylor Book Award Silver Medalist (Linked), and the Christian Audiobook of the Year (The Action Bible). His skill set and range of roles have made him an actor to watch.

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play synopsis: Told through voices of USO performers and 1940s actors on a military base, the timeless story of It's a Wonderful Life comes to life in a brand-new way in this production. After a financial mishap, small-town optimist, George Bailey, finds himself at rock bottom. While contemplating ending his life, George is visited by an angel and is faced with the wonder of his life and its irreplaceable impact on those around him.

Cast: Luke Desmond as George Bailey; Sadie Alexander as Mary Hatch; Yasmine Reid as Josephine; Rylee Schmidt as Clarice; Elijah Munck as Freddie Filmore, Peter Bailey, Sam Wainwright, Horace, Old Man Collins, Mr. Welch; Alex Edwards as Potter, Binky; Greg Dodd as Billy, Bert, Gower, Martini; Matthew Barge as Harry Bailey, Pete, Ed, Nick, Ernie; Madison Combe as Violet Bick, Matilda, Schultz, Janie; Jaden Massaro as Rose Bailey, Dr. Campbell, Mrs. Thompson, Sadie; Madison Melendes as Mrs. Hatch, Ruth Dakin, Zuzu, Bridge Keeper; Mariela Williams as Stage Manager, Film Director, Charlie; Angel Martin as Tommy, Man, Cop

Artistic Director: Preston Butler III

Assistant Director: Audrey Gall

Department Chair: Susan K. Berkompas

Theatre Manager: Lily Hinojosa

Production Manager: Alyssa Kammerer

Scenic Designer/Tech Director/Audio: Paul Eggington

Costume & Makeup Designer: Lia Hansen

Lighting Designer: Garrett Spady

Crew: Jordan Ward, Jenna Bolar, Sarah Snow, Julia Flores, Ruth Gray, Amanda Marcos, Gabi Paul, Kendra Barnhart, Nathan Gall, Rezia Landers, Ethan Munk, Andie Hahn, Naomi Hogan, Natalia Elizalde, Nathan Kibbe

This production is suitable for ages teens and older.

All performances are presented on the campus of Vanguard University, in the Lyceum Theater. Ticket prices are $17 for general admission and $15 for seniors, children, college students and groups. Tickets may be purchased at or by calling the Theatre Department box office at 714-668-6145.

Performance dates and times are November 30 at 7:30 pm; December 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9 at 7:30 pm; and December 2, 3, 9, 10 at 2:00pm.

For more information about Vanguard University, visit; for additional information about the Theatre Department visit


Vanguard University (VU) is a regionally ranked, private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies. Located ten minutes from Newport Beach and an hour from Los Angeles, Vanguard equips students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-focused leadership and service. Vanguard is committed to academic excellence, boasting small class sizes that are designed to cultivate lasting professor-mentor relationships that enhance the learning process. The Theatre Department is accredited by NAST. The U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanguard a top 12 regional college in the west and a top veteran-friendly college for 2015, and The Princeton Review ranked Vanguard a 2014 "Best in the West" regional college. Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, Vanguard offers more than 30 degrees and certificates through its undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies programs. Please visit


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