Wharton Community Players presents ‘It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play’

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — Nonprofit community performing arts education organization Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts continues its 2022-23 season with a family-friendly production of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” in the intimate Wharton Black Box Theater, 60 Locust Ave. in Berkeley Heights. John A.C. Kennedy directs Joe Landry’s live radio play adaptation of Frank Capra’s film. There are eight performances. Evening performances are at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, through Sunday, Dec. 11; Thursday, Dec. 15; and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17 and 18. Matinee performances are at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11, and Saturday, Dec. 17. There will be a complimentary preshow reception in the Wharton Arts lobby before the evening performance on Saturday, Dec. 17.

Tickets to all performances can be purchased at whartonarts.org.
The beloved American holiday classic comes to life as a live 1940s radio broadcast thanks to five Wharton Community Players actors who portray dozens of characters. As in the movie, idealistic George Bailey considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve; he must learn that “no man is a failure who has friends.”

“Like live theater,” Kennedy said in a press release about the radio play, “live radio was an exciting genre where anything could happen. This staged radio production of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ delivers the dynamic, uplifting message of the classic American Christmas story along with a few surprises, thanks to the relationships between our quirky radio personalities. And isn’t any live performance a little more exciting when something unexpected happens and performers must adapt on the fly?”