A Wonderful Life: VSU presents holiday classic

Dec. 7—VALDOSTA — Rachel Vuong has a busy Saturday.

She plays multiple roles in a Valdosta State University Theatre & Dance play Saturday afternoon.

Once the curtain closes, she will rush across campus to graduate. She estimates she has a few minutes to change from performer to graduating VSU senior.

It's a Wonderful Life.

VSU Theatre does something very different with its latest production: It presents "It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" during graduation weekend so the well-known story runs closer to Christmas. Because it is graduation weekend, the show schedule is different than the usual VSU Theatre run. "It's a Wonderful Life" opens Friday night, has a Saturday matinee and concludes Sunday with an afternoon matinee followed by an evening showing.

Audiences will settle into Sawyer Theatre while the stage is transformed into a 1940s radio hall, a play where "famous stars" present the well-known story of George Bailey who questions the worth of his life on Christmas Eve.

The VSU Theatre show synopsis: "It's Christmas Eve in 1947, and inside a small-town radio studio a live broadcast brings to life Frank Capra's timeless film, as adapted by Joe Landry, in all of its feel-good glory. Revisit Bedford Falls, fall in love again with George and Mary Bailey and discover the magic of an angel named Clarence. Be a part of the live studio audience and join the cast and crew as they take you on a journey through one man's life, as he is brought to the brink of despair only to be shown that his life of sacrifice and service is both important and full of joy. It's the perfect holiday outing for the entire family and, who knows, an angel might even get his wings."

Dr. Melissa Rynn Porterfield, show director, said there are moments of character interaction with the audience as if the audience is really settling into a radio studio for the show.

But this is no "Noises Off," where the audience sees the play behind the play as the actors interact with each other as actors as well as their play characters. This is a radio show based on the beloved holiday movie.

And for cast member Rachel Vuong, the show is a prelude to graduating and starting a new, wonderful life.

THE CAST: I'Yahna Thomas, Sabrina Martin, Jaden Jackson, Marcus McGhee, Lilibeth Mason, Gabriel Rodriquez, Rachel Vuong, Trey Harrell, Cody Ortega, Dorian Chancey, Jeremiah McClain, Emily Brooks, Melba Miller, Andy Nguyen, Shelby Hughes, Aysia Williams, Eriana Jones, Anna Ramsey, Anna Noelle Robinson.

DIRECTION, PRODUCTION: Dr. Melissa Rynn Porterfield, director; K'Nyia Bumpers, sound designer & technical director; Chalise Ludlow, costume designer; Morgan E. Boesch, stage manager; Ruth A. Brandvik, scenic, projections & lighting designer.

VSU Theatre & Dance presents "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9; 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10; 1:30 p.m. & 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, Sawyer Theatre, VSU Fine Arts Building, corner of Oak and Brookwood. More information: Call (229) 333-5973 or visit www.valdosta.edu/comarts.