Theater Project in Union offers holiday entertainment you haven’t memorized yet

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Sebastian
Terri Sturtevant, Gary Glor and Andre DeSandies are the returning veterans in the 15-actor cast of ‘Wonderful Life: The Radio Play.’

UNION COUNTY, NJ — In the spirit of “you can never put too many ornaments on a Christmas tree,” The Theater Project is offering not one but three holiday programs. Though it focuses primarily on new work the rest of the year, the company celebrates the season by putting its own spin on some familiar stories. All three programs will be available online.

Need a break from Frosty and Rudolph? Tune into November’s podcast, “The Theater Project Thinks About…,” when movie mavens Mark Spina and Harry Patrick Christian discuss silver screen classics with holiday settings as alternatives to shows that may have worn out their welcome. This episode drops on Sunday, Nov. 28.

It wouldn’t be a traditional holiday without a dose of Charles Dickens and Frank Capra, so why not see these tales reinterpreted: on Zoom and through the lens of the radio dramas of the 1940s. In “A Cracked Christmas Carol,’ Lionel Barrymore and the Vienna Boys Choir can’t make it to the radio studio, so the station manager, the cleaning lady and one very angry product sponsor are forced to ad lib their way through the show, playing all the parts themselves. This prerecorded program is available on demand from Friday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Nov. 28.

“Wonderful Life: The Radio Play” is set in the Lux Radio Theater of 1947, where 12 adult actors, five children, a musician and one very overworked sound technician prepare for a broadcast of the classic tale. The show has been a Theater Project holiday tradition live or online through four different theater spaces, four U.S. presidents and four George Baileys. Matt McCarthy returns as this year’s George, who reminds everyone, year after year, that, “We can get through this thing, but we’ve got to stick together,” a message that resonates more strongly now than ever. The livestreamed performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on both Friday, Dec. 3, and Saturday, Dec. 4, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5.

The Theater Project, an incubator for rising talent and a showcase for New Jersey artists, has gained regional recognition for its ongoing programs during the pandemic, including its annual Young Playwrights Competition, its Actors Reading With Kids program and its recently launched “The Theater Project Thinks About” podcasts. It was one of only 22 organizations in New Jersey receiving National Endowment for the Arts grants in 2021.

For more information, visit www.thetheaterproject.org or call 908 809-8865.

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