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It’s a Warm, Wonderful Life

Next Act’s take on the Frank Capra classic

Dec. 11, 2013
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This holiday season, Next Act Theatre returns to Mary MacDonald Kerr’s unique take on a Frank Capra classic as it presents It’s a Wonderful Life: Live Radio Show. Seasoned Milwaukee stage actors play Milwaukee actors from the golden age of radio performing the story as a radio play. We peer into the studio of a vintage radio station as personal lives mingle with those of the characters they are playing in a remarkably warm script by Kerr directed by Next Act’s David Cecsarini.

The script contrasts the idealized story that has become holiday cliché against a much more complex story of the actors playing the roles. The cast includes Kerr, Cecsarini, Bo Johnson, Jack Forbes Wilson and Norman Moses, who played in last year’s production of the show.

The witty script cleverly plays with the central plot of the classic story in a way that complements it without disrespecting or overshadowing it. This is quite an accomplishment on the part of the playwright. The cast assembled here have lived in and loved this town onstage and off for many years and they bring a warmth to the holiday show that resonates beautifully in the intimate space of the Next Act Theatre.

It’s a Wonderful Life: Live Radio Show runs Dec. 12-Jan. 5, 2014, at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St. For tickets, call 414-278-0765 or visit nextact.org.

Theatre Happenings

  • Off the Wall Theatre stages what promises to be a refreshingly alternative holiday show with Dale Gutzman’s Creature from the Black, Black Lagoon. The Gill-man becomes an unlikely holiday character in a kitschy nearly-Christmas musical spoof on 1950s horror movies, Dec. 18-31, at Off the Wall Theatre, 127 E. Wells St. For tickets, call 414-484-8874 or visit offthewalltheatre.com.


  • Soulstice Theatre (3770 S. Pennsylvania Ave., St. Francis) presents a fundraising reader’s presentation of an early ’80s comedy by Jean Kerr. Lunch Hour is the story of a man and a woman who find themselves dealing with cheating spouses. The event features a food court in the theater’s lobby with samples from local restaurants, Dec. 13-14. For tickets, call 414-481-2800.


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