First look at CRT’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

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Inspired by the style of 1940s radio broadcasts, “It’s a Wonderful Life” will be CRT’s first ever audio play, written by Philip Grecian and directed by Jennifer Scapetis-Tycer, assistant professor of voice, speech and dialects in the UConn Department of Dramatic Arts. Photo courtesy of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre website.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, audiences can no longer pack the seats of the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre, yet the Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) is still alive and well, bringing art and creativity to the UConn campus during these difficult times. 

Following the success of their first virtual production “Men on Boats,” CRT plans to continue its 2020-21 season with a production of the timeless holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” 

Inspired by the style of 1940s radio broadcasts, “It’s a Wonderful Life” will be CRT’s first ever audio play, written by Philip Grecian and directed by Jennifer Scapetis-Tycer, assistant professor of voice, speech and dialects in the UConn Department of Dramatic Arts. 

Often regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, “It’s a Wonderful Life” tells the story of George Bailey, a man who dreams of going out into the world to make a name for himself in the years following World War II. When it seems that he will never be able to escape his hometown of Bedford Falls, his guardian angel Clarence is sent to help him one Christmas Eve night. 

With such a beloved story being brought to life, the creative team at CRT certainly has large shoes to fill. 

Scapetis-Tycer, in an interview at the show’s press release, explained that while the story is set almost 80 years in the past, she hopes to convey the very human themes that make the story so timeless. 

“What a gift it is to do a play that celebrates community at a time when we need community so badly, and when we are trying to have community amidst the difficulties of the pandemic”

Jennifer Scapetis-Tycer, Assistant Professor of voice, speech and dialects in the UConn Department of Dramatic Arts

“What a gift it is to do a play that celebrates community at a time when we need community so badly, and when we are trying to have community amidst the difficulties of the pandemic,” Scapetis-Tycer said. 

The cast of 14 actors, composed of both UConn students and AEA actors, Thom Sesma and Lisa Wolp, will play the more than 60 characters of the classic tale. 

It’s no secret that “It’s a Wonderful Life” holds a special place in the hearts of many Americans, providing a familiar and comforting nostalgia every holiday season. Considering that the uncertainty of the past few months shows no signs of slowing, perhaps this production is exactly what we need to put us in the holiday spirit. 

Performances will be recorded and streamed online for virtual audience members. The show will begin its run on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. and continue through Saturday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. An ASL interpreted performance will also take place on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. 

Tickets are $10 for students, $14 for seniors and UConn faculty and staff and $16 for the general public. A link and passcode will be sent to audience members via email 24 hours prior to the performance to access the performance. 

For more information or to purchase tickets to “It’s a Wonderful Life,” go to crt.uconn.edu, or call their box office at 860-486-2113. 

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