“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” based on the 1946 film classic, opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Lyric Theatre in Brownwood.
Directed by Billie Harvey, a cast of 15 portrays multiple characters from the Christmas fantasy drama, set in the fictional town of Bedford Falls, N.Y. The film centers around businessman George Bailey’s wish as his business collapses that he’d never been born. An angel named Clarence intervenes and shows Bailey a dark community that would have existed without Bailey’s influence.
The stage version is from playwright Joe Landry and depicts a 1940s-era live radio show, complete with sound effects provided in the Lyric production by Ricky Jones and Jen Evetts.
“It’s almost the exact same story,” Lyric Managing Director Eric Evans said. “It’s like the old timey live radio shows that they used to do in the ’40s. That’s how it’s basically set.”
Show times are:
• Friday, Dec. 6 — 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Dec. 7 — 2:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Dec. 7 — 7:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Dec. 8 — 2:30 p.m.
• Friday, Dec. 13 — 2:30 p.m.
• Friday, Dec. 13 — 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Dec. 14 — 7:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Dec. 15 — 2:30 p.m.
The Lyric audience will be simulating the small audience that would be present in the radio studio, Harvey said. The cast members portray actors who are performing the radio show — characters playing characters,” she said.
Cast members include Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes, who plays George Bailey; Harvey’s husband, Jonathan, who plays multiple roles including Clarence the angel; and the Harveys’ son, Sam, who plays a young George Bailey as well as one of the adult Bailey’s sons.
“Larry Mathis is hilarious as Uncle Billy,” Harvey said.
The film and the play show that “you really are important. You matter to people,” Harvey said. “Always remember that. You need to always make sure you fight to keep going. The lovely thing about the story is — open your eyes, there’s someone there, don’t give up.
“Sometimes we get bogged down. We don’t see the forest for the trees.”