Reserve your tickets today!
Dec. 7 - 15
Plymouth Center for the Arts
North Street, Plymouth MA
Back by popular demand, Americana Theatre Company presents It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. This beloved American holiday classic comes to life as a 1940's radio broadcast. 10 actors bring dozens of characters to life in this timeless holiday classic. Recommended for ages 5 and up.
Create lasting holiday memories with friends and family by securing your tickets today! Seating is limited. Advance purchase recommended.
$35.00 adults $30.00 seniors | students Plymouth Center for the Arts
December 7 -15, 2019 11 North Street, Plymouth, Mass.
Marianne works as a freelance Director, Actor, teacher & coach. American Theatre Company directing credits: Grease, The Three Musketeers, An Inspector Calls, Moonlight and Magnolias and The Gifts of the Magi. Other professional directing credits include: Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Victory Gardens, Chicago), A Christmas Carol, (Virginia Stage Company), The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (B Street, Sacramento), Psychopathia Sexualis (Olympia, WA), Shadowlands (American Coast Theatre Company); Lady Windemere’s Fan and Arsenic and Old Lace (Taproot Theatre); at Actors Co-op Hollywood: A Long Day's Journey into Night, Yours, Isabel (American Premiere), King Lear, Wit (Best Revival LA Weekly award, Best Director nominee LA Drama Critics Circle), The Crucible (Best Director nominee LA Weekly), Hamlet, Gulf View Drive (World Premiere, Best Ensemble LA Weekly award), Angel Street, Translations, As It Is In Heaven (West Coast Premiere), It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (West Coast Premiere), Yours, Isabel, (workshop) God & Shakespeare (Original), Molly Sweeney (Los Angeles).
Marianne has taught at Azusa Pacific University, Biola University and Vanguard University where she directed The Lion in Winter, As It Is In Heaven, Saint Joan, America’s Broadway and Three Sisters. She taught in the teen conservatory at South Coast Repertory and served as head of the MFA Acting Program at Regent University and the BFA Acting Program at Belhaven University. In 2008 she directed Margaret Hunt’s and the Ravens Feed Us at the New Harmony Project and is passionate about new play and musical development. Marianne is an alumnus and participant of Directors Lab West, an associate artist with Taproot Theatre Company in Seattle, served on the Advisory Board of Provision Theater Company in Chicago and was the Producing Director of Actors Co-op Hollywood. Training: MFA Acting, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Guest Artist Central School of Speech and Drama, London. Marianne is a member of Actors Equity and SAG/Aftra and SDC (the stage directors union).
Returning Artist | Director
Theater: ‘Wonderful Life’ is wonderfully done in Plymouth
By Jim Dorman/For The Patriot Ledger
Posted Dec 9, 2019 at 1:13 PM
The Americana Theatre Company will present the uplifting classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” as a “Live Radio Play” through Dec. 15 at the Plymouth Center for Arts.
When Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” first appeared on the big screen in 1946, the most popular medium for home entertainment was commercial broadcast radio. The film’s stars, Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, even reprised their roles for live radio broadcasts twice in 1947 and once in 1951.
Now, the Americana Theatre Company’s presentation of “It’s a Wonderful Life - A Live Radio Play” allows us to enjoy this Christmas classic about the struggles of George Bailey and the Bailey Building and Loan Company while also recreating Christmas Eve, 1946 at Studio A of the fictitious radio station, WPLY in Plymouth. It helps us remember a time when families gathered in the living room to hear Hollywood’s biggest stars lend their voices, talent and appeal to live radio plays presented on shows like the Lux Radio Theater on NBC, the Academy Award Theater on CBS, and many others.
At the cozy Plymouth Center for the Arts, Americana recreates the look and feel of a live radio broadcast, including “On Air” and “Applause” signs, a realistic looking engineer’s booth, some delightfully corny live commercials for “Dux” soap cakes, and a few shamelessly funny plugs for Martini’s, a real Plymouth Bar and Grill and show sponsor that also finds its way into the plot. Johan Woods plays the ever present “Foley Artist” or sound effects man. He has a sound for every footstep, closed door, glass break and thunder clap. It’s quite realistic, and the nifty way he interacts with the other cast members when they are off mic, helps establish a feeling of ease and confidence, while giving us the insight of seeing what happens behind the scenes.
We are treated like a real studio audience and asked to respond accordingly with applause, laughs and sing-a-longs. As announcer Freddie Filmore (David Friday) introduces each star just prior to “air time,” the excitement builds and it feels like we are in the presence of movie stars, which is a credit to each performer, with kudos to Jennifer Martin (costumer), Jesse Sullivan (artistic director) and their uncredited hair and make-up stylists. The looks are flawlessly authentic, and every move, gesture, glance and aside is dialed in - a testament to their preparation and the leadership of director Marianne Savell.
Three of the actors are responsible for playing 33 parts in this play. Friday plays 13 characters including mean old Mr. Potter and the hapless Uncle Billy. Amelia Dobbs as Lana Sherwood has nine roles, including Mary Hatch’s nemesis Violet, and George’s mother, Rose Bailey. Joshua Nicholson as Harry “Jazzbo” Heywood, plays 11 roles including Clarence, George’s guardian angel. Each is an incredible character actor, able to switch easily from role to role and sometimes performing opposite themselves. And, they never seem to miss a beat, a line or a word as they swiftly move from one character to the next, assuming each voice and countenance - true professionals at their craft. Friday and Nicholson may remind you of versatile character actors from the ’40s and ’50s, while Dobbs recalls plucky and pretty actresses from that period as well. You might think of Gloria Grahame or Debbie Reynolds in their prime.
In addition to their off stage duties Sullivan (George Bailey) and Martin (Mary Hatch) have plenty to do in one role each. The pair craft a believable and somewhat steamy love story. Their chemistry is quite evident while George futilely tries to resist his feelings for her. Sullivan makes the role his own while including some nuances of Jimmy Stewart’s famous portrayal. Martin is the perfect girlfriend, wife and mother, but also expresses anger and fear when needed, especially when George desperately tries to get her to remember him during the climactic final sequence. It’s a powerful and somewhat scary scene.
All four children, Karly Friday as Young Mary/Janie, David Savastano as Young George /Pete, Violet Perry as Young Violet/Zuzu and Luca Bucci as Young Harry/Tommy, are so comfortable and expressive on stage. They were well prepared and seemed to be enjoying themselves, but beyond that, they were adorable and quite funny. A favorite moment involves tension between Young Violet and Young Mary over Young George. “You like every boy,” says Mary. “What’s wrong with that,” says Violet. Well done.
It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play: Presented by the Americana Theatre Company, through Dec. 15 at the Plymouth Center for the Arts, North Street, Plymouth. $30 seniors/students; $35 adults; americanatheatre.org
“It’s a Wonderful Life” works well on stage and screen, but seeing this fine troupe recreate the magic of radio is truly a pleasure.
If you go – arrive early and get situated. Seating is tight and it’s a 90-minute show without an intermission.
Americana Theatre Company is comprised of professionals who have worked from the highest quality regional theaters across the country from L.A. to NYC We are proud to present you actors of the highest professional caliber.
WINTER SEASON 2019
CAST & CREW
Company Member | Managing Director | Freddie Filmore
Full time company member and Managing Director, David has had a blast as Watson in Hound of the Baskervilles, Governor in Man of La Mancha, Mr. Sipos in Parfumerie, Vince Fontaine in Grease, Porthos in The Three Musketeers, and It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. A graduate of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, David has been rather nomadic, living and performing on stage, television, radio and film in NYC, Indiana, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, but is happy to settle down in Carver with his wonderful wife, Erin and 2 beautiful girls, Karly and Lexi. He has previously served as Technical Director for The Company Of Pittsburgh and appeared in productions of Oklahoma!, Man of La Mancha and can be seen in the film Love the Coopers. “Autism awareness rocks!”
Company Member | Artistic Director | Producer | Jake St. Laurant
Americana: Bernard (Boeing Boeing), Dr. Carrasco (Man of La Mancha), George Horvath (Parfumerie), George Bailey (It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play), Athos (The Three Musketeers), Selznick (Moonlight and Magnolias), Richard/William (The Cottage), Michael Hosea (Redeeming Love), Inspector (An Inspector Calls). National Tours: Miss Saigon, and Coupeau/Fight Captain (The Scarlet Pimpernel). NY credits include Scandalous People, Clarence (NY Fridge), Gregory (Battleship Potemkin with the York Theatre Co.), Ben Hecht (Moonlight and Magnolias), and Jeff (Map to Buddha with Remote Theatre Co.). Training: BFA in Musical Theatre from University of Hartford, The Hartt School.
Company Member | Associate Artistic Director | Sally Applewhite
Jennifer has enjoyed working from east to west with theatres such as Theatre for Humanity, NYC, Virginia Repertory Theatre, Virginia Musical Theatre, Richmond Shakespeare, The Round Barn Theatre, Sacramento Theatre Company, Capitol Stage and is a founding member of Americana Theatre Company. Americana: Amanda Prynne (Private Lives), Woman (The 39 Steps), Sylvia (The Cottage), Angel (Redeeming Love), Milady (The Three Musketeers), Marty (Grease), Amalia (Parfumerie), Dominique (Lucky Stiff), and most recently, Gabriela in Boeing Boeing. TV/FILM: Grace Tessla (The Last Client), Pitching cast for 26 episodes as Joy for the animated series Superbook! She is currently an Assistant Professor of Theatre and the show producer at William Jessup University in Rocklin, CA. Elly Award for Best Director of a Musical (Oklahoma! and Scrooge the Musical). MFA Acting (Regent University). jenniferjacksonmartin.com.
Returning Artist | Lana Sherwood
Amelia made her Americana debut in The Three Musketeers and is so excited to be back! She is a graduate of Coastal Carolina University and The Governor's School for the Arts. Amelia is now based out of New York City where she recently choreographed Peter and the Starcatcher with Theatre for Humanity . Regional: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (Ella), Legally Blonde (Margot), and A Midsummer Night''s Dream (Hippolyta). Thank you to her wonderful family! See what's next on her website ameliardobbs.com and follow @amelia.dobbs
Returning Artist | Harry “Jazzbo” Heywood
Josh is happy to be returning for more It's a Wonderful Life fun with Americana. He has been a professional VO artist for over a decade, doing everything from commercials to cartoons to audiobooks to video games to anything else that might need a voice. Most recently, he voiced some Pokémon and John Deere commercials for Australian TV. He also narrated and produced Purgatorio and The D.O.D.O. Files for the audiobook app Bound (getbound.io). He has worked with RadioTheatre NYC for many years, performing the likes of King Kong, The War of the Worlds, H.P. Lovecraft stories, Frankenstein, and the stories that inspired many of Alfred Hitchcock's films. Favorite Americana Theatre roles include Clown 1 in The 39 Steps and Rochefort in The Three Musketeers. Other favorite roles: Mr. Howell in Gilligan's Island: The Musical, The Baker in Into the Woods, Underling in The Drowsy Chaperone, and Bud Turpin in Dearly Departed. Joshua has recently married and now lives with his wife in New Jersey. JoshuaNicholson.com
Returning Artist | Foley Artist
Johan is thrilled to be returning to Americana Theatre Company reprising his 2017 role as Foley Artist. He has previously appeared in Parfumerie as the Detective with Americana Theatre Company, and From The Sea, To Somewhere Else with Bay Colony Shakespeare Company and the indie film Back 2 One with Lasit Studio. Johan lives in Plymouth and simply cannot get enough of, or stay away from, the stage in any capacity. Having taken classes by Americana Studio, he is excited to share the stage with this talented bunch. As always, couldn't be possible without the love and support of his wife, Heather.
Returning Artist | Young Violet/Zuzu
Violet is thrilled to be returning to the cast of It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play this holiday season! Violet is 7 years old and homeschooled by her family in Plymouth, MA. She first appeared on stage as Queen Beatrice at the age of 5 in Sleeping Beauty with Studio Americana. She has since appeared in multiple performances with both Studio Americana and Priscilla Beach Theatre. Violet would like to thank her mom, dad, and her brother Jasper for their love and encouragement.
Guest Artist | Young Mary
Karly Friday is thrilled to be reprising the role of Young Mary with Americana Theatre Company. Karly is a 6th grade, high honor student at Carver Middle High School. She participates in Student Government, Drama Club and Chorus in school and is an active member of Studio Americana. Some of Karly's favorite roles include Alice (Alice in Wonderland), Cinderella (Cinderella Kids), Jeter (Footloose), Tin Man (Wizard of Oz), and Mortimer (The Reluctant Dragon). Karly is excited to be performing alongside her dad and her Aunt Jennifer. She wants to thank her Mom, Dad, Lexi, Grandma and Grandpa for their love and support!!!
Guest Artist | Young George/Pete
David is in 5th grade at Carver Elementary School. David attends the Carver School of Rock where he plays piano, acoustic guitar and electric guitar as well as takes voice lessons. He has been in several performances including Gatekeeper (The Wizard of Oz), Jiminy Cricket (Pinocchio), Mowgli (The Jungle Book), Jack (Into the Woods Jr.), and most recently, Huntsman/Magic Mirror (Snow White). David has also participated in several musical showcases. He would like to thank his theatre coaches Erin and David Friday for introducing him to the stage; his mother and stepdad for their love and support and his grandparents for their encouragement and hours of line reading with him.
Guest Artist | Young Harry/Tommy
Luca is very excited to make his professional debut with Americana Theatre Company. Luca lives in Plymouth with his family and is a fourth grader at Sacred Heart Elementary School. He is passionate about animals and has a dog and two guinea pigs. Luca also loves the arts and cartooning. Luca first appeared on stage as Prince Eric with Studio Americana’s Little Mermaid when he was six. This summer he was cast as Ben Gunn in Studio Americana’s Treasure Island. Luca would like to thank his parents and family members for their love and support.
Stage Manager/Lighting Designer
Kate is thrilled to be back in Plymouth working with Americana, having previously stage-managed Man of La Mancha and 2017’s It’s a Wonderful Life! She has recently had the great privilege of working as an Assistant Stage Manager for Boston based theatre companies including White Snake Projects, Moonbox Productions, Boston Lyric Opera, and The Nora at Central Square. Previously, Ms. Johnson served for four years as the Resident Stage Manager at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, NY. Favorite stage management credits include: L’elisir d’amore, Peter and the Starcatcher, Ondine and Gianni Schicchi (Hubbard Hall); Stones in His Pockets, The Glass Menagerie and Two Rooms (The Winnipesaukee Playhouse); The Puppetmaster of Lodz (Berkshire Theatre Festival); Mengelberg & Mahler, Sea Marks, and Cymbeline (Shakespeare & Company).
Company Member | Educational Director
Past roles include Housekeeper (Man of LaMancha), Violet Bick (It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play), Landlady (Lucky Stiff), Ilona Pierce (Parfumerie), Ms. Lynch (Grease), Mary (It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play). Other favorite roles include Irene Molloy (Hello Dolly), Baker's Wife (Into the Woods), Urleen (Footloose), Bird Girl (Seussical), Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland), Audrey (Little Shop of Horrors), Reno Sweeney (Anything Goes), and Guinevere (Camelot). Erin wants to thank her parents for all their help and support during the crazy theater rehearsal period! Thanks Karly and Lexi for being the coolest kids and allowing mom and dad to do their thing! Thanks to David for sharing the stage, work, and life with me! Wouldn't want to do life with anyone else!!!