It's a Wonderful Life will have Live Performances From Actor's Homes

Nov 1, 2020
It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!

American Blues Theater will produce its 199h Annual Production of It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! from Frank Capra's film and directed by Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside with musical direction by Ensemble Member Michael Mahler. It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! will run online November 12, 2020 - January 2, 2021

George Bailey, the Everyman from small town Bedford Falls whose dreams of escape and adventure were stopped by family obligation and civic duty, has fallen onto desperate times. Only a miracle can save him from despair. Filled with original music and classic holiday carols, this critically acclaimed, warm "holiday favorite makes the bell ring every time." (Chicago Tribune) For over 19 years, American Blues has treated audiences to a live retelling of the Frank Capra classic in a 1940s radio broadcast tradition, making It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! the second longest-running holiday play in Chicago!

Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside comments, "At American Blues, we miss so much of the experience of live theater, including its energy, social nature and ephemeral quality. This season, we will bring It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago entirely live for every scheduled performance. We will also be interactive, bringing our popular audiograms to audience members during every performance. This year has been filled with so much uncertainty, but the one thing audiences can count on is the holiday tradition of It's a Wonderful Life."

Notes of Interest:

-The 80-minute production is LIVE and interactive. The "lobby" opens 15 minutes before showtime for added interactive fun.

-The cast will celebrate with special holiday events, including Hanukkah on December 11 and Kwanza on December 27. Santa is scheduled to visit on December 24.

-In the long tradition of honoring heroes during the run of It's A Wonderful Life, American Blues will honor a healthcare service worker at each performance with a "Healthcare Hero" tribute. American Blues proudly partners with NAMI Chicago, USO, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Complimentary tickets are offered to CPS teachers, the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (IL chapter), and American Indian Center.

-Bedford Boxes are available for $40, and include: a 2020 Wonderful Life ornament, a commemorative printed program, a cocktail recipe book Martini's Specials - inspired beverages of Bedford Falls, a pair of socks, a copy of the original short story that inspired Capra, chocolates, and an "I Earned My Wings" sticker.

-This 19th annual production marks the 10th consecutive year for Michael Mahler as a cast member and/or Music Director.

-Set designer Grant Sabin is designing sets for each of the actors to install in their homes. Since 2009, he has designed It's A Wonderful Life in six spaces: The Victory Gardens (Biograph) studio and mainstage, the Greenhouse down mainstage, Stage 773 thrust and proscenium, and now Zoom.