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a live radio play

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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 4-12, 2021                                                            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

Marianne Savell



Rick Fahey's On Boston Stages, December 7, 2021

PLYMOUTH – Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” wasn’t a success when the film first debuted in 1946. It never came close to earning back its $6.3 million production cost. It was only in later years it became an iconic holiday classic, a part of virtually every list of the top movies of all time. When playwright Joe Landry adapted the film for the stage – “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” – it became an instant hit. The 90-minute piece has seen more than 1,000 productions by regional theater companies since its 2007 debut.


The Americana Theatre Company production now onstage at the Plymouth Center for the Arts is fast, funny, skillfully acted and directed, and a warm blessing for the holiday season. In Landry’s adaptation, the premise is that five actors have come together to stage the live radio play, Landry has omitted a few details and scenes from the film to fit the show into a smaller 90-minute window, but the essence of the story is still there. Foley artist Johan Woods weaves his radio magic. Photo: Americana Theatre Company It is Christmas Eve 1946 in Studio A and its auditorium at radio station WPLY in Plymouth, complete with a lit applause sign to cue us audience members when it’s time to get loud.


Announcer/actor Freddie Fillmore (David Friday) introduces the cast, which includes Jake Laurent (Jesse M. Sullivan), Sally Applewhite (Trina Vargas), Lana Sherwood (Erin Friday) and Harry “Jazzbo” Heywood (Joshua Nicholson). “It’s a Wonderful Life” is, of course, the story of George Bailey, who dreams of escaping his small-town life In Bedford Falls and seeing the world, but finds himself chained to the fortunes of the family-owned Bailey Building & Loan, which provides residents the means to buy their own homes and remain free of the slums owned by the miserly Mr. Potter. When a misplaced deposit threatens the very existence of the business, George succumbs to despair and considers the notion that he is worth more to his family dead than alive. That requires the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence, to show him the difference he has made in the lives of many of the town’s residents.   


While the five actors play dozens of adult parts, the children’s roles are performed by a skilled, well-rehearsed and very professional group that includes Evelyn Humani as Young Mary, David Savastano as Young George and Pete, Lexi Friday as Young Violet and Janie, Jude Sullivan as Young Harry and Tommy, and Sadie Metrano as a charming Zuzu. In radio plays, the foley artist plays a key role in providing the sound effects that help move the story forward for listeners, and Johan Woods is an attentive and efficient technician. While every cast member is integral to the success of the production, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is going nowhere without the considerable skills of David Friday as Fillmore and Nicholson as Heywood. They portray dozens of characters, but many of their voice takes are distinctive and they give vivid life to the characters. That would include David Friday’s portrayals of the miserly Mr. Potter and the hapless Uncle Billy, and Nicholson’s work with Clarence the Guardian Angel, still second class and struggling after many years to win his wings; Harry Bailey; Bert the Cop; and Martini, the Italian-American bar owner.

Erin Friday as Lana Sherwood is also given a lot of work to do with various female roles, including the alluring Violet, the Bedford Falls siren who carries a torch for George through the years

Jesse M. Sullivan as Jake Laurents/George Bailey captures the innate decency and honor and sense of loyalty of George, his dreams stymied at every turn, while Trina Vargas embodies the sweetness and unlimited love and support of Mary Hatch Bailey, his wife whose application for sainthood is instantly approved when she gives up her $2,000 honeymoon jackpot to keep the Bailey Building & Loan open.

There’s even a funny but very skilled five-person harmony for an ad from Martini’s, a Plymouth restaurant and sponsor and coincidentally is named for the same bar portrayed in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”   Director Marianne Savell keeps things flowing at a brisk pace, despite the nature of the piece, which because of the staging can be static at times. The five adults and five children form a cohesive team in bringing out the best in each other, and the play itself. And, coincidentally, the holiday season itself.

The Americana Theatre Company production of Joe Landry’s “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.” Directed by Marianne Savell. Lighting design by Ciera Miller. Set and prop designs by David Friday. Artistic director/producer Jesse Sullivan. At the Plymouth Center for the Arts through Dec. 12. or call 508 591 0282,


Americana Theatre Company adds ‘Wonderful Life’ to holiday wonders

By Robert Knox Globe Correspondent,Updated December 2, 2021, 6:16 p.m

It’s not only the holiday season, it’s “a wonderful life,” according to a live radio play version of the holiday film classic.

Americana Theatre Company will perform its radio play adaptation of the classic 1940s film “It’s A Wonderful Life” at the Plymouth Center for the Arts, 11 North St. For its eight-day run, the company offers two daily curtain times on weekend dates, including Sunday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“It’s very intimate,” said director Marianne Savell of the play’s staging. “The setting is an old radio station. You’re like a guest audience seated in the studio for a live radio production from the 1940s.”

Inside that reproduced studio, eight actors take on 40 roles with microphones, sound effects, and an “applause” sign as the story of idealistic mortgage-lender George Bailey unfolds. The production includes a “foley artist,” who provides sound effects. Walking in snow for instance, the director said, is represented “by stepping on cornflakes in a pan.”

Savell said the resulting experience was interesting. “We don’t mimic the original performers,” she said. But “there are certain rhythms that you want to hear. The style of the era the 1940s, the way the actors portrayed their characters.” The result of reproducing a familiar cinematic work in a different medium, she said, has proved “very moving and very funny.”

The cast includes Americana company members Jesse M. Sullivan, David Friday, Joshua Nicholson, and Erin Friday, joined by guest artists Johan Woods and Ciera Miller. Many of the show’s cast members took part in the company’s earlier production of the play four years ago.

After two shows on Dec. 5, the curtain will rise next on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 8 and 9, at 7 p.m.; Dec. 10, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 11, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 12, at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are available at For COVID-19 protocols, see


KB designs of NE, 2017

Americana Theatre Company to present ‘It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play’

November 28, 2021  - Old Colony Memorial

PLYMOUTH — Americana Theatre Company will present its holiday season biennial tradition “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” on select dates from Dec. 4-12 at Plymouth Center for the Arts, 11 North St. 


“It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” is a radio play adaptation by Joe Landry, directed by Marianne Savell. Inside the WBFR radio studio, a small ensemble portrays more than 40 roles with microphones, sound effects and the “applause” sign gracing the stage as the story of George Bailey unfolds.   

Award-winning director, actor, teacher and theatre coach Marianne Savell is familiar with Americana audiences as the director of prior productions, including “Grease,” “The Three Musketeers,” “An Inspector Calls” and “Moonlight and Magnolias.” She has directed multiple premiere productions across the U.S., including the west coast premiere of “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play." 

“It’s A Wonderful Life’s” cast features company members from across the country including Jesse M. Sullivan, David Friday, Joshua Nicholson and Erin Friday. Returning guest performing artists include Johan Woods and Ciera Miller. Americana also welcomes Trina Vargas in the role of Mary. Five of ATC Studio Americana’s local students round out the cast, featuring Alexis Friday, Evelyn Humani, Sadie Metrano, David Savastano and Jude Sullivan. 

Tickets for “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” are $35 for adults and $30 for students and seniors. Performances are held at 8 p.m. Dec. 4, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 5, 7 p.m. Dec. 8-9, 8 p.m. Dec. 10, 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 11 and 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 12. For tickets, or more information about Americana Theatre Company, visit, or call 508-591-0282. Advance ticket purchases are recommended, as seating is limited to capacity. Plymouth Center for the Arts is handicap accessible, and paid public parking is available street side and in nearby public lots. 


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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.


Company Member  | Artistic Director  |  Jake Laurent  
George Bailey



Americana: Clue (Professor Plum),Boeing Boeing (Bernard), Man of La Mancha (Dr. Carrasco), Parfumerie (Mr.Horvath), It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (George Bailey), The Three Musketeers (Athos), Moonlight and Magnolias (Selznick), The Cottage (Richard /William), Redeeming Love (Michael Hosea), An Inspector Calls (Inspector). National Tours: Miss Saigon and The Scarlet Pimpernel (Coupeau/Fight Captain). NY credits include Scandalous People, NY Fridge (Clarence), Battleship Potempkin with the York Theatre Co. (Gregory), Moonlight and Magnolias (Ben Hecht), and Map to Buddha with Remote Theatre Co. (Jeff). Training: BFA in Musical Theatre from University of Hartford, The Hartt School.


Guest Artist  |  Sally Applewhite 
Mary Hatch



Trina is thrilled to be making her debut at the Americana Theatre with the holiday classic, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life!’ She is also happy to be back in MA, her home state - GO PATS! Feel free to visit her website: or follow her on instagram @misstrinavargas - she is always up to something in the entertainment world and you never know what’s next! Big thanks to God, family, and friends for your constant love and support. NEVER GIVE UP!

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Company Member  |  Managing Director  |  Freddie Filmore
Announcer, Gower, Potter, Billy, Joseph, Ernie, Old Man Collins, Ed, Pete, Man at Martini’s, Nick, Bridge keeper, Binky, Cop



As a company member David has enjoyed roles as Col. Mustard in Clue, Governor in Man of La Mancha, Mr. Sipos in Parfumerie, Vince Fontaine in Grease, Porthos in The Three Musketeers, Watson in Hound of the Baskervilles and many parts in It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. A graduate of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, David has performed on stage, television, radio and film, in NYC, New Jersey, Indiana, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and is happy to have settled down in Carver with his wonderful wife, Erin and 2 beautiful girls, Karly and Lexi. In the past, David has served as Technical Director for The Company of Pittsburgh and appeared in productions of Oklahoma!, Man of La Mancha, Passion, and many others. He can also be seen in the film Love the Coopers. “Autism awareness rocks!”

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Company Member  |  Educational Director  |  Lana Sherwood
Violet, Rose Bailey, Matilda, Ruth, Mrs. Hatch, Mrs. Thompson, Shultz, Sadie Vance



Erin is thrilled to serve on Americana Theatre Company’s executive team as the Director of Education. Erin has a degree in Elementary Education with a focus on Fine and Theatre Arts from Stonehill College. ATC credits include Mrs. Peacock (Clue), Berthe (Boeing Boeing), all of the female roles (It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play), Ilona Ritter (Parfumerie), Housekeeper (Man of La Mancha), Ms. Lynch (Grease), Woman 1 (Lucky Stiff). Regionally, she has performed with companies such as The Round Barn Theatre, The Comtra Theatre, McKeesport Little Theatre, Gemini Children’s Theater and others. Erin

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Returning Artist Harry "Jazbo" Haywood  
Harry, Bert, Clarence, Sam Wainwright, Martini, Dr. Campbell, Charlie, Man at the run on the bank, Mr. Welch, Sheriff, Horace the Teller

New Jersey


Joshua 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 ( 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.


Returning Artist Foley Artist


Johan s thrilled to be returning to Americana Theatre Company reprising his 2017 and 2019 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.

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Guest Artist Young George Pete


David (13) joined Americana Theatre Company in 1st grade and has performed in several productions with both their Junior and Professional groups since then. In addition to acting David is a talented multi-instrument musician, plays baseball and recently received the Presidential Academic Award for outstanding academic performance.


Guest Artist  |  Young Mary


Evelyn is excited to be playing the part of young Mary in It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play this year. Evelyn is 10 years old and attends 4th grade at Cold Spring Elementary School. Evelyn has been taking classes with Americana Studios for 3 years. Her most recent role was as Mama in the Studio’s production of Hansel & Gretel. Evelyn would like to thank her parents and aunts and uncles for their love and support. She wishes everyone a Merry Christmas.


Guest Artist  |   Young Violet Janey


Lexi is thrilled to be making her Americana Theatre Company debut as Young Violet/Janie in It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Lexi is 10 years old and in the 5th grade at Carver Elementary School. Lexi has been involved in various Studio Americana productions. Some of her favorite roles include The Princess in Rumpelstiltskin, The Coroner in The Wizard of Oz, Sneezy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Abu in Aladdin, Archimedes in Sword in the Stone, and many others. Lexi would like to thank her parents and grandparents for their support, and her sister, Karly, who has also been in Wonderful Life with ATC in years past. I hope you enjoy the show!


Guest Artist  |   Young Harry Tommy


Jude is so excited to join the cast of It’s a Wonderful Life for his professional debut. Jude has participated in Studio Americana’s Production of Treasure Island and Beauty and the Beast. He is 7 years old and currently in 2nd grade at Carver Elementary school. Jude would like to thank his family and Spiderman.

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Guest Artist  |   Zuzu


Sadie is thrilled to be making her professional debut! Sadie takes Dance (Jazz, Ballet, Tap and Hip Hop) and has been in Studio Americana shows Beauty and the Beast and Wizard of Oz. She is 8 years old, grade 3 at Carver Elementary School. She is so thankful for all of her family’s support!

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Returning Artist  |   Stage Manager  Lighting Designer
New York


Ciera is a recent graduate with a B.A in Theatre and a specialization in Tech and Design from William Jessup University. She is Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Curious Theatre Works. She lives in New York where she continues to stage manage, direct and produce. When she's not doing theatre, she is usually getting lost in the mountains and trying to find all the magic the world has to offer.

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