News & Notables from the Division of Performing Arts

Act 1 to Present Clever Retelling of a Christmas Classic with “Merry Christmas, George Bailey!”

by Roseann Damico-Schatkowski | Nov 17, 2015

Merry Christmas George Bailey From left: Brendan Doyle as Clarence the Angel Second Class, Ashley Strohlein as Mary Hatch, and Christopher Skopowski as George Bailey.  

This holiday season, Act 1 DeSales University Performing Arts will present “Merry Christmas, George Bailey!” The production runs December 2 to December 13 on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts in Center Valley, PA.

Adapted by James Goode from the original Lux Radio Broadcast of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and directed by DeSales chair of theatre Dennis Razze, this clever take on a Christmas classic is set in a 1940s radio studio decked for the holidays where stage managers, technicians, and actors gather to present the timeless tale of George Bailey, the hardworking everyman who once had big dreams, as he comes face to face with his guardian angel Clarence. “This is going to be a delightful evening of theatre which is sure to lift your Christmas spirits,” says Razze.  “A cast of 30 actors—including four very talented children—tell the story of George Bailey and Clarence the Angel Second Class in a way that is completely fresh and original.”

“Everyone loves the hit film starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed,” says John Bell, head of the division of performing arts. “ For many people it has become a Christmas tradition. So ‘Merry Christmas, George Bailey!’ is a perfect piece for the holiday: a familiar story both cheerful and uplifting told in a highly theatrical way."

With sound effects, specialty acts, music, local commercials, and audience participation, “Merry Christmas, George Bailey!” is a clever and theatrical spin on a Christmas classic—the perfect family-friendly holiday treat recommended for ages 6 and older.  “The novelty behind a radio show version of the story opens up multiple opportunities for our students,” says Bell. “The sound effects challenge is enormous and should be great fun for student actors and audiences alike.  And it’s a great opportunity for the student singers to work in the style and genre of the harmonies of earlier eras.”

“Merry Christmas, George Bailey” runs December 2 to December 13 on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts in Center Valley, PA. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. There is a morning matinee on Tuesday, December 8 at 9:45 AM, followed by a talk back with the director and cast. A talk back is also scheduled for Sunday, December 6 after the 2:00 PM performance.

In an effort to improve accessibility for all patrons, the Saturday, December 5, 2:00 PM matinee performance will feature Open Captioning for patrons who are deaf or hearing impaired and Audio Descriptions for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. During Open Captioned performances, all dialogue and sound effects are presented in real-time on an LED screen that is adjacent to the stage. During Audio Described performances, all action and physical appearances are described live through a headset. There will be a guided “touch tour” at 1:00 PM for blind or visually impaired patrons. This tour by the cast and crew will introduce the patrons to props, costumes, and the surroundings of the play. Tickets are half price for patrons using these special services on this date. Please call box office manager Catherine Logan at 610-282-3654, ext. 1 for more information.

The Labuda Center is fully accessible and equipped with a listening enhancement system. Special seating is available for our patrons using wheelchairs or requiring other assistance. Please inform the box office of your needs when ordering tickets.

“Dinner with Dennis and Deb” will take place on Sunday, December 6 in the DeSales University Center. Join chair of theatre Dennis Razze and Act 1 development director Debra Walter for a delicious dinner and lively discussion of the play after the 2:00 PM matinee performance. The Dinner costs $34 and includes full bar, appetizers, buffet dinner, and desserts.

Ticket prices for “Merry Christmas, George Bailey!” are $27 for adults and $25 for students and seniors on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and $29 for adults and $27 for students and seniors on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Group discounts and holiday gift packages are available. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Labuda Center box office at 610-282-3192 or by visiting the web site at www.desales.edu/act1.


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