Correction 12/22/20, 3 p.m.: A previous version of this post referenced American Stage’s 2017 live production of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” instead of the current rebroadcast. The Gabber apologizes for the error. The article has also been updated to reflect current show availability.
It just isn’t the holiday season until Scrooge makes an appearance. St. Pete has not one but two Ebenezers this month, along with George and Mary Bailey to make sure the most wonderful time of year is especially wonderful.
Bells are ringing and angels are getting their wings over at American Stage, where a radio play adaptation of the classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” runs until December 27. Adapted by Joe Landry, the holiday classic comes to life as a 1940’s radio broadcast. View through American Stage’s new streaming partner site, Broadway On Demand.
With the help of an ensemble that brings dozens of characters to the stage, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as, one fateful Christmas Eve, he considers a world in which he’d never been born. Visit americanstage.org.
The St. Petersburg City Theatre wrapped its annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” the theatrical adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ novella about the miserly, bitter old Scrooge who, after being visited by a series of ghosts on Christmas Eve, is transformed into a kinder, gentler man. SPCT is streaming the performance for free, but the community theater asks for donations in lieu of ticket purchase. Visit spcitytheatre.org.
If you’re reading this on Christmas Eve, there’s still time to get tickets for freeFall’s last performance of the legendary Dickens antihero. Artistic Director Eric Davis brought the show back after the audience favorite took a hiatus.
“When freeFall moved into our permanent home at 6099 Central Avenue in 2011,” Matthew McGee, freeFall’s Outreach/Marketing Manager, says. “Eric wanted to produce an annual production of A Christmas Carol. And we did for about four years.”
The company decided to give the popular play a rest after that and staged some slightly less obvious, but very successful holiday shows, including “The Little Prince,” “Every Christmas Story Ever Told,” “Peter Pan,” “Peter and The Starcatcher” and last season’s smash hit “The Lion in Winter.”
“Over the years, we continued to receive messages, emails and comments about how much our audiences missed ‘A Christmas Carol,’” McGee said.
Conceived as a drive-in concert and performed on freeFall’s outdoor stage, much in the style of it’s recent production of “War of the Worlds,” four singers, separated by plexiglass, perform the score by Keith Ferguson and Bruce Greer. Sound is transmitted through freeFall’s radio station to people’s cars, and Davis created an animated multimedia presentation using the drawings of renowned illustrator PJ Lynch, who gave the theater the rights for free. McGee, an award-winning actor himself, narrates the story, playing all the voices, from Scrooge to Tiny Tim.