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On Theater: Live radio play at Huntington Beach Playhouse

Editor’s note: This corrects the headline. The play is at Huntington Beach Playhouse, not Golden West College.

Remember radio? Some of you must. It entertained you just like television does today, but it required the listener to use his or her imagination.

Remember “It’s a Wonderful Life”? That movie came along in the heyday of radio, 1946, with Jimmy Stewart thrust into a parallel universe, discovering what life would be like if he’d never been born.

The Huntington Beach Playhouse remembers both, and next week it’ll reprise its presentation of “It’s a Wonderful Life — A Live Radio Play.” Seven actors will take on a plethora of roles for six performances.

“It’s a spin on the classic everyone will enjoy,” promises Rayanne Thorn, who’s directing the special production in Huntington Beach’s Library Theater. “It’s a timeless play about loyalty and love conquering all — even a big bad debt collector.”

The play revolves around George Bailey, a small town banker down on his luck who tries to end it all on Christmas Eve, but is rescued by an angel trying to earn his wings. Through divine guidance, George sees how events in his town would have played out had he not influenced them — and it’s not a pretty picture.

Taking the central roles of George and Mary Bailey will be Lawrence Hemingway (fresh from his stint as Iago in Golden West College’s “Othello”) and Heather Wallace. David Campos will portray the devilish Mr. Potter, made memorable on the screen by Lionel Barrymore.

Filling out the ensemble of over 30 speaking parts will be four other actors — Tiina Mittler, Karl Schott, Tara Pitt and Louis Pagano, the latter playing God for the second time as well as manning the sound effects table.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” will be presented from Dec. 8 to 12 in the Library Theater, 7111 Talbert Ave., Huntington Beach. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for children and seniors and $7 for students.

Curtain times are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with matinees Dec. 11 and 12 at 2 p.m. Contact the box office at (714) 375-0696 or go online to for reservations and further information.

TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Independent.