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BWW Review: The Pollard Dazzles this Holiday Season with IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY

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The Pollard returns this holiday season for the beloved American Christmas tale It's a Wonderful Life.

BWW Review: The Pollard Dazzles this Holiday Season with IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY

It's A Wonderful Life is the quintessential American Christmas story. George Bailey is a bank owner and a small-town hero. The family man runs the town bank, keeping it out of the hands of the greedy Mister Potter, who will stop at nothing to own the town of Bedford Falls and the Bailey family. One fateful Christmas Eve, George loses a bank deposit that means certain closure for the bank and devastation for the town. Down and out, George considers ending his life, and wonders what the people who know and love him would be like if he'd never been born. Greeted by an angel, George gets this wish and glimpses a world without him in it.

For the third year, The Pollard Theatre Company presents this heartwarming Christmas tale onstage as a live radio play. They've brought back Pollard favorites and new faces alike to create a beautiful, "wonderful" production of this favorite Christmas story.

Joshua McGowen returns to play the beloved George Bailey, in a role that Pollard audiences have come to anticipate each holiday season. McGowen beautifully and honestly portrays this broken man. He's struggling with his own failures and grasping to find worth and meaning in his own life. McGowen pulls heartstrings in this role of a lifetime.

Tiffany Tuggle is new this year as Mary Hatch. She's a welcome addition to the cast and well-suited as a love interest to McGowen. Tuggle performs with love in her eyes and heart, and she's warm and kind as a scene partner. The maternal Mary is a perfect role for her.

Wil Rogers is multifaceted and dynamic as Harry, Uncle Billy and others. Rogers switches voices, roles, and characters constantly and consistently. Rogers is also new to this cast, but he's well-known and loved to Pollard audiences. He pulls off the feat of playing multiple roles, making it look like a breeze.

David Fletcher-Hall returns to play Clarence the Angel. Fletcher-Hall is a brilliant actor and a blessing to every production he's a part of. This time is no different. Clarence is a particularly heartwarming character. The Angel who is trying to earn his wings sets the events in motion and gives George a glimpse into the "What If".

Jessa Schinske is dazzling as Lana Sherwood, Violet Bick, and others. Schinske is a familiar face to Pollard audiences, but once again makes her appearance in this production for the first time this year. Stepping in and making it her own, Schinske creates a unique and vibrant version of the lovely Violet. Schinske also pulls off impressive voice work, including voicing some of the Bailey children. Schinske utters one of the favorite lines of the show, and one that is quoted year-round in this reviewer's house - "I'm glad I know you, George Bailey".

Reprising his role as the selfish Mister Potter is James A. Hughes. Hughes was a longtime company member of The Pollard Theatre, and there's hardly a production that The Pollard has done in recent memory that he hasn't been a part of. It's with a warm welcome that he returns to play this role.

The Pollard's Artistic Director Jared Blount steps in as production director and portrays the Foley artist, creating a character in his own right. Foley artistry is the best part of radio plays, and the experience is enhanced by watching it on stage.

The Pollard is finally back, and the ache in all our hearts can finally start to subside. This theatre company that could has endured a pandemic, then more pandemic, major role shifts, and one or two natural disasters too many. (Maybe next season they WON'T produce a show called Disaster.) Guthrie at Christmas time remains an unparalleled experience in Oklahoma, and The Pollard is in the heart of the festivities. Pollard patrons who come to see this play at Christmas leave with hearts lifted and days made. Art does that, after all. This play in particular reminds us that we are not failures, our contribution is valuable, and the mark we make on the world really is important. When you're feeling down and out, live theatre can always uplift and help you remember that this human experience we all share really is wonderful.

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play runs until December 23rd. This show will sell out, so get your tickets soon!! Tickets are available online at thepollard.org.


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Join Team BroadwayWorld

Are you an avid theatre goer in Oklahoma? We're looking for people like you to share your thoughts and insights with our readers. Team BroadwayWorld members get access to shows to review, conduct interviews with artists, and the opportunity to meet and network with fellow theatre lovers and arts workers.

Interested? Learn more here.



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