This year marks the third holiday season that Garth Kravits (The Drowsy Chaperone) has worked at Bucks County Playhouse, and the second time he has worked on It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, adapted by Joe Landry. In 2013, he worked on Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play, also adapted by Joe Landry.
The current production of It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, helmed by Hunter Foster and featuring staging by Jen Cody, has performances at Bucks County Playhouse (70 S. Main Street, New Hope, PA) through December 27, 2015. It’s a delightful and moving interpretation and a delicious confection to get you into the holiday spirit.
It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is inspired by the classic Frank Capra classic film of the same name. Performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a “studio audience,” It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play tells the story of idealistic George Bailey as he considers his demise one fateful Christmas Eve. The story comes to captivating life with the help of an ensemble that brings over two dozen characters to the stage. Landry’s adaptation premiered in 1996 in Stanford, CT and has since been produced countless times around the country to critical acclaim – including at Bucks County Playhouse in December 2012 under the direction of Gordon Greenberg with musical staging by Lorin Latarro.
It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play features Wayne Wilcox as Jake Laurents, Brandon Ellis as Harry “Jazzbo” Heywood, Maggie Lakis as Lana Sherwood, Whitney Bashor as Sally Applewhite, Kevin Pariseau as Freddie Filmore and Garth Kravits as Butch Popkins/ Foley Artist.
In addition to Butch Popkins, Kravits plays four other characters and as foley artist, is responsible for creating 95% of the sound effects needed to bring a radio play to life. In the photos below, Kravits showed off his literal and figurative bells and whistles.
While this only the second time Kravits has done foley in a show, he has always been fascinated by and has great reverence for the art form. “I’ve always loved listening to old radio plays and having the chance to carry on that tradition is as exciting as it is challenging,” said Kravits.
“Garth Kravits, who was on Broadway in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” is the sound-effects guy and wields a thunder can, a miniature door that slams, a squeaky hinge, a slide whistle, bells, a mini xylophone and more.” The Morning Call
“There’s a piano, stand-up microphones, and an area for the sound effects specialist, played by Garth Kravits. Mr. Kravits, and on occasion, the other actors, actually create the sound effects for the show using such tools as a fan, phones, a cash register, and many others. Watching Mr. Kravits create such sounds a wind, doors shutting, the counting of money and a running automobile is a big part of the fun.” Centraljersey.com
“But keep your eyes on the busy Garth Kravits behind the foley station. With a table full of miscellany, he creates the footsteps, wind howls, door slams, and car horns that give the radio show its life.” DCMetroTheaterArts
Kevin Pariseau is the production’s musical director. The production team includes set design by Rob Bissinger, lighting design by Robert Denton, costume design by Nicole V. Moody and sound design by Matthew Given. It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc.
The production plays the following schedule: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. The Playhouse is also offering a special matinee performance discount for Christmas Week performances. All tickets in the mid-orchestra (blue section) are $40 for 2 p.m. performances on December 22-24. Santa Claus will be in the lobby before the show to greet those attending the performance. There is no evening performance on Christmas Eve and no performances on Christmas Day. For full details, and to purchase tickets, please visit buckscountyplayhouse.org or call 215-862-2121.
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Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.com, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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