Pasadena Playhouse Announces Holiday Season - IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, THE NUTCRACKER, and More

Pasadena Playhouse Announces Holiday Season - IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, THE NUTCRACKER, and More

The Pasadena Playhouse presents the largest holiday celebration in its history - the mainstage holiday production It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play for 15 performances only (December 12 to 23), performances of Bob Baker's Nutcracker in the Carrie Hamilton Theatre (November 24 to December 31); and the Playhouse District Association Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Playhouse Courtyard - an event that is free to the public on Friday, November 30 at 7:00pm. An additional free holiday concert will be held in the Playhouse Courtyard on December 14 at 6 p.m. in association with the Playhouse District Association.

Tickets for Bob Baker's Nutcracker and It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play are now available at, by phone at 626-356-7529, and at the box office at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.

December 12 - 23, 2018
It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
Adapted by Joe Landry
Directed By Cameron Watson

One of the all-time classic Christmas stories comes to life onstage in a 1940s-style radio broadcast - following last season's production of the original radio play of Miracle on 34th Street.

This year -- join George Bailey, a down-on-his-luck man, as his guardian angel shows him what his town would have been like had he never been born. This timeless masterpiece guarantees to warm your heart this holiday season.

As was often the case with mid-century entertainments, once a film found an audience, it became a radio drama. It's a Wonderful Life was originally released in 1946. Directed by Frank Capra, it was based on a short story by Philip Van Doren Stern. Stern started working on the story in 1939, finished it in 1943 when he sent it out as a Christmas card to his friends and relatives.

In 1944, it was published as a magazine story in Reader's Scope and two years later Good Housekeeping. An RKO producer had received one of the original mailings and showed it to Cary Grant; RKO then purchased it in 1944, and eventually sold it to director Frank Capra. James Stewart - who starred in the film with Donna Reed - said that the story is "an inspiration to everyone concerned with the picture ... the fundamental story was so sound and right."

Seneca Falls, New York makes a claim that Frank Capra visited their town in 1945 and modeled Bedford Falls after it -- going so far as to create a museum, open a hotel (Hotel Clarence), and hold an annual festival in its honor. Stern thinks otherwise, however, "Incidentally, the movie takes place in Westchester County. Actually, the town I had in mind was Caifon, New Jersey." The historic iron bridge in Califon is similar to the bridge that George Bailey considered jumping from in the movie - and much was filmed on the RKO movie ranch in Encino.

The film premiered December 20, 1946 to mixed reviews, and then went into general release after the holidays on January 7, 1047. It was the 26th highest grossing film of 1947, one place ahead of Miracle on 34th Street which was released that same year in May - the beginning of the air-conditioning season!

And to make matters worse -- on May 26, 1947, the FBI issued a memo: "with regard to the picture It's a Wonderful Life, [redacted] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a 'scrooge-type' so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists."

Time has been considerably more generous to the film. It is one of the most beloved films of all time and thought of as one of the greatest ever made. The American Film institute placed it #11 on its very first list of the 100 best American films ever made.

In 1990, It's a Wonderful Life was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.

November 24 - December 31, 2018
Bob Baker's Nutcracker
Presented by Bob Baker Marionette Theater and Pasadena Playhouse

Bob Baker's adaptation of the ballet classic is one of Bob Baker Marionette Theater's most beloved shows since it began in 1969. The Sugar Plum Fairy and her promenading cakes, waltzing flowers, and all of the wonders beyond the mysterious door are now to be found at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre --- entirely outfitted for the holidays -- at Pasadena Playhouse.

This is the first time that the show is being performed outside of its original location.

Bob Baker's Nutcracker features over 100 handcrafted puppets to take the entire family on an adventure through the wizardry of strings and into the enchanted world of the fantastic.

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater, Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #958. has over 300 performances a year. The company has a collection of over 2,000 handcrafted puppets, and is known for performing for birthday parties, school groups, weddings, and at community functions of all sorts. After 50 years of magic, having entertained over one million children of all ages, the Bob Baker Marionettes are proud and excited and looking forward to 50 more years of pulling the strings of family fun!

November 30, 2018, 7 p.m.
Tree Lighting Ceremony
In partnership with the Playhouse District Association

The entire community is invited to experience Pasadena twinkle as we light our Christmas tree to start this holiday season in the Playhouse District. Join us for complimentary hot chocolate and coffee, live music, a performance by the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, and more! As part of the Playhouse District Association, an addition free concert will be held on December 14, 2018 at 6 p.m. in the Playhouse Courtyard.
Pasadena Playhouse Announces Holiday Season - IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, THE NUTCRACKER, and More

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