I don’t remember how it came up. It wasn’t even close to Christmas. It was actually the end of summer and I was talking to my future husband for the first time. His team had just beat mine in volleyball and everyone had headed to the local bar for the post game social. For some reason, that I’ve long since forgotten, he started reciting quotes from It’s A Wonderful Life.
It wasn’t just the well known ones that everyone throws out from time to time. He could recite the entire movie line for line. Although his favorite, to this day, is an exaggerated version of George Bailey muttering “Harry, Harry” after his brother arrives at the end of the movie. It’s his go-to quote because he can say it while doing one of the worst impressions of Jimmy Stewart I’ve ever heard.
It wasn’t the only reason I fell in love with him, but it definitely helped. It’s a Wonderful Life is my favorite movie of all time. I’ve watched it so many times that now tear up before the touching moments even begin because I know they’re coming. The movie makes me happy.
When I discovered that Portland Stage was presenting It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play this season, getting tickets was a top priority. After a fun morning exploring Portland, we headed to a matinée showing. While I had walked by the entrance to Portland Stage many times, this was my first time inside. It is a beautiful space and much larger than it appears from the outside.
While intimately familiar with the story, this one had a twist. It was presented as a live radio play from the forties with each “voice” actor, playing multiple roles and sound effects created right on the stage. There were also a few radio breaks for commercial presentations where the cast came together to sing funny advertising jingles to classic Christmas tunes.
The show moved along quickly and was full of humor as the actors moved seamlessly between the classic roles. It was extremely engaging and offered a creative new perspective on the story. The cast was excellent and brought great energy to their performances.
It’s only playing for a few more days, but if you have a chance I recommend you try to get to one of the shows. It will definitely get you into the Christmas spirit. “remember no man is a failure who has friends”
Do you have a favorite holiday movie?
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