Need that warm glow in your life of peace on earth, good will to men?
You can find a giant serving of it at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre, this weekend and next, in their production of ''It's a Wonderful Life.'' The play is based on the beloved black and white feature film by the same name, which has become one of the most beloved films of all time. It has been adapted into a stage play by Joe Landry.
The story of George Bailey, the small town building and loan president who gives up all his dreams for himself in order to meet the needs of others, is presented here as a live radio production. The stage setting represents a radio broadcasting studio in 1946, the year in which the film was made. Five actors portray all the characters from the film, assisted by a sound effects technician, a background music pianist, and an on-stage stage manager.
The story moves quickly and interestingly, and the whole thing wraps up in just over 90 minutes, with no intermission. Because there are so many characters, all but the leading two parts of George and his wife, Mary are played in groups of three, four, or more, by the remaining cast members. Sometimes one actor is carrying on a complex discussion with himself, and yet they made all the roles so clearly defined, it was no problem to understand everything.
Handsome young Peter Cala was a welcome newcomer to the LBLTJ stage, in the role of George. Well-loved veteran actor Marsha Adams Cheney was his faithful Mary.
Daniel Pierce was Clarence, George's guardian angel, among many other parts. Paulette Ziemba was the sadder but wiser girl from town, along with a Bailey daughter, George's mother, and a number of other roles.
Adam Hughes was almost not recognizable as a slicked-back 1940s actor portraying the grasping Old Man Potter and many other roles. The entire cast projected well and carried the familiar plot smoothly and well.
Critic's bouquets also to Vince Joy Jr. as the stage manager, who played an occasional role, added to the sound effects, and kept his finger on the switch for that well-remembered ''applause'' sign. Also to Carol Svensen, whose keyboard masteries were clearly in evidence, and to sound man Steven Michael Cobb who got the biggest laugh of the evening, running around in high heeled shoes to represent a female character making some tracks.
Director Robert John Terreberry did a masterful job of filling the stage with business, yet clearly pinpointing the appropriate focus for every scene. Production designer for the entire production was Patricia Culliton.
They say that the town of Bedford Falls, which was the setting of ''It's a Wonderful Life,'' was based on Seneca Falls, not far away from us, in Central New York. There seems to be a special message for us in this play, and it's a beautiful preparation for the coming holiday season.
The play continues tonight, tomorrow afternoon, and Dec. 14, 15, and 16 at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown on East Second Street, Jamestown.