BWW Review: IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY at Florida Repertory Theatre

BWW Review: IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY at Florida Repertory Theatre

Florida Repertory Theatre’s outdoor production of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY brings a holiday classic to life in a very fun way.

Co-directed by Education Director Kody C Jones and Assistant Education Director Christina DeCarlo, this show tells the story of the well-known holiday film It’s A Wonderful Life in the form of a 1940s radio show. The show stars Florida Rep’s 2020/2021 acting interns; Patrick Agonito as Harry Jazbo Heywood, Nayda Marie Baez as Bianca Maryweather, Emily Foley as Lana Sherwood, Sarah Joyce as Sally Applewhite, Matt Kelley as Jake Laurents, and Micah Weese as Freddie Highmore. What’s unique about this show is that the actors are not only playing characters, but the characters they’re playing are also playing several different roles within the radio show. This is not an easy show; between the different characters and all the props and sound effects they have to create, it takes a lot of skill to pull this show off, and this cast was absolutely wonderful at doing so. I was very impressed by how flawlessly they switched between characters, and the emotion they brought to each one as well. They really defined each character’s voice and personality so it was easy for the audience to understand who they were playing at each moment. It is so fun to watch them create sound effects for the radio show, too; it brings such an interesting aspect to the show, and makes you feel somewhat “behind the scenes.”

I really appreciated the details in this production that brought the radio show aspect to life. For example, when the actors were not “on” in the radio show, they “smoked” in the back, which is something very common to the 1940s. It brings a realism of the era to the production, and I enjoy that a lot. Their costumes, designed by Renee Baker, were also lovely, and I thought they suited each character very well.

I once again felt very safe in Florida Rep’s outdoor show venue. Everyone is very spaced out and masks are required, so it’s very comfortable. It rained a little bit during the show, but it didn’t really take away from the production at all, and I have to give props to Florida Rep’s Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen for running around with umbrellas for patrons without one.

If you’re looking for something fun and entertaining to do during the holiday season while also staying safe, I definitely recommend checking out IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE at Florida Rep. Get a “pod” and bring a friend, significant other, a few people (each pod holds up to 4 people), or even just yourself, and enjoy! Get your tickets before they’re gone. To read more and purchase tickets, click here: https://www.floridarep.org/the-season/its-a-wonderful-life-a-live-radio-play/