Iowa PBS presents It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play

Enjoy a holiday classic performed as a captivating live radio broadcast this season with Iowa PBS! It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play, produced through a partnership with the Iowa Stage Theatre Company, premieres Friday, December 17 at 8:30 p.m. on statewide Iowa PBS. Viewers can enjoy an encore presentation of the program Saturday, December 25 at 9:30 p.m.

A theater adaptation by Joe Landry, this beloved tale will delight viewers as a 1940s-era radio broadcast. Using a wide range of voices, accents and expressions, each actor will portray multiple characters. It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play will be recorded with a live studio audience at the Stoner Theater in Des Moines, Iowa.

It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play is our first partnership with the Iowa Stage Theatre Company,” said Iowa PBS Senior Producer and Director Andrea Coyle. “We couldn’t be more excited for Iowans to experience this traditional Christmas story in a whole new way.”

This production reimagines the cinematic classic by staging the story as if it were a live radio broadcast. An ensemble of five actors, plus one live sound effects artist, gives life to a few dozen characters on stage, sharing the story of the idealistic George Bailey as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve. This vintage artform transports the audience to Bedford Falls and has all the charm and warmth of the original movie released in 1947.

“The arts are both essential in themselves, and provide essential relief from life,” said Iowa Stage Theatre Company Artistic Director Matthew McIver. “This production of a holiday classic provides a heartwarming reminder of the value of community in troubled times.”

Funding for It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play is provided by Douglas and Deborah West and Kemin.

In addition to its statewide broadcast, Iowa PBS .1 is available to livestream on iowapbs.org/watch, pbs.org/livestream, the PBS Video App and YouTube TV. Iowa PBS programs, behind-the-scenes extras and more can be enjoyed on iowapbs.org, Facebook and YouTube. Viewers can also stream their favorite shows on demand using the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android and many streaming devices.