Thursday, February 29

Gulfshore Playhouse presents It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

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Gulfshore Playhouse in Naples will present a heartwarming holiday classic for the entire family, It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at The Norris Center Nov. 16 through Dec. 29.

Presented as a 1940s radio show, this beloved story is enhanced with a lush soundscape performed by the actors live on stage. Bedford Falls and the Bailey family have never sounded better than in this fresh retelling.

After a series of financial hardships, a small-town banker contemplates suicide on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1945. George, who wishes he had never been born, receives the aid of a guardian angel who is assigned the task of saving George’s life. Perfectly timed for the holiday season, this timeless masterpiece reaffirms the inherent value of all people with an enchanting, theatrical twist.

With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, complete with a live sound effects artist, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is the perfect treat for the entire family.

The show is directed by Peter Amster, a seasoned director whose award-winning productions include Once on this Island, The World Goes Round, The Rothschilds and Pride and Prejudice.

In addition to Amster, the creative team includes Kristen Martino, Scenic Designer; Jimmy Lawler, Lighting Designer; Devon Painter, Costume Designer; Joel Abbott, Sound Designer and John Patrick, Vocal Coach.

The cast includes:

  • Jeffrey Binder as idealistic George Bailey. Binder is a 15-year Broadway veteran, whose New York credits include Zazu in Disney’s The Lion King and George Banks in the hit musical Mary Poppins, both performed at the New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street. Television credits include Damages, Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Guiding Light and All My Children. He’s also the Associate Artistic Director for Gulfshore Playhouse.
  • Brian Owen, whos credits include the world premiere of Dog Man: The Musical, four productions of Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, The Turn of the Screw, Shakespeare in Love, Sweeney Todd, The Matchmaker and Both Your Houses.
  • James Learning, a founding member of American Blues Theatre in Chicago. He has performed at renowned national theatres including Steppenwolf, Writers’ Theatre and The Goodman. National tour productions include Defamation and Botanic Garden, as well as This Wonderful Life, a solo version of It’s A Wonderful Life.
  • Andrea Prestinario, who credits include Fun Home at the Baltimore Center Stage and Weston Playhouse. She previously starred as Eliza in the Asolo Rep production of My Fair Lady, and as Maureen in RENT at the Paramount Theatre Aurora.
  • Keri Safran, who recently starred in Forbidden Broadway at Gateway Playhouse. Other recent credits include Singin’ in the Rain at the Zach Theatre, and City of Light at the Connelly Theatre. She was also in the recent Sundance film Imaginary Order and has been featured on TV’s The Blacklist and Netflix’s upcoming Soundtrack.

Evening shows begin at 8 p.m.; matinees begin at 3 p.m. Show subscriptions are available and include priority seating, exclusive events and discounted pricing. Tickets start at $42; all tickets are $38 two hours before a performance. For purchase information, visit www.GulfshorePlayhouse.org or contact 866-811-4111.

Free pre-show discussions take place Nov. 17, Nov. 20, Dec. 4, Dec. 15, Dec. 18, where Gulfshore Playhouse artistic staff lead conversations about themes and topics related to the production. Audience members can also stick around for post-show conversations on Nov. 21 and Dec. 1.

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