Radio show going on the air in Walla Walla

Loretto J. Hulse and Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writersDecember 14, 2012 

WALLA WALLA -- The sometimes dark, always uplifting story of George Bailey, a man who gave up his dreams to help others, will be performed live at the Gesa Power House Theatre this holiday season.

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is a stage adaptation by Joe Landry of Frank Capra's 1946 classic film. Bailey's story will be told as a radio show by five actors playing dozens of characters.

Directed by Stephanie Shine, Shakespeare Walla Walla artistic director, the play runs from Dec. 14-16 and Dec. 18-23. Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. with matinees at 3 p.m. matinees Dec. 15-16, 20 and 22-23.

"Who wouldn't want to spend the holidays with George Bailey and all the inhabitants of Bedford Falls? It is nothing short of a blessing to be immersed in this story of self-discovery and appreciation," Shine said.

The plot features Bailey, who, despondent one Christmas Eve because he believes his life a failure, attempts to drown himself, only to be stopped by Clarance, his guardian angel. Clarance goes on to prove to Bailey just how many lives he's touched -- not just his family, but also the entire town.

Kevin Loomer, director of theater arts at Walla Walla Community College, will be playing radio announcer Freddie Filmore, plus 14 other characters.

It's a role he's familiar with. Growing up as a teenager in Portland, he found a couple of radio stations that would play the old radio dramas. He and his younger brother also had a reel-to-reel tape recorder and would create their own shows, complete with sound effects. Loomer also performed in some live radio dramas in the early 1980s at Whitman College.

"I have seen the film version at least once every holiday season since I was moved by it in 1979. The idea of a man living his life, thinking perhaps that all he has accomplished has amounted to nothing, when in fact he has had a greater impact than he could ever hope to imagine, really appeals to me," Loomer said. "I am more than ready to bring this story to life."

Tickets for It's a Wonderful Life are $9 to $50 for adults and $7 to $40 for students. They are available at www.PHTWW.com or by calling 509-529-6500.

Youths ages 18 and under can attend the 3 p.m., Dec. 20 showing for $6.

Seniors 65 years and older receive a 15 percent discount for matinees on Dec. 15-16 and 22-23. Call the box office for the discount code for buying online.

On Dec. 22, a bus will be running from the Richland Community Center to the theater. Cost is $75 per person and includes lunch at Jacobi's Italian Cafe in Walla Walla and admission to the performance.

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