Holiday Classic Staged As 1940s Radio Broadcast

A treasured holiday classic comes to life anew at Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre. “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” will be staged for two weekends — today, and Dec. 2-3 and 8-9. Performances are at 7 p.m. with the exception of the Dec. 3 performance, which is at 3 p.m.

Presented as a 1940s radio broadcast, the play puts a fresh and inventive spin on a beloved tale that has warmed hearts for generations.

A talented ensemble of local actors tells the story of depressed idealist George Bailey, Clarence the Angel and a series of life-changing events that take place one Christmas Eve.

The play takes audiences back to a day before television, when radio was king and the human imagination reigned.

In the radio play genre, the actors perform an old-style radio show before a “studio” audience.

Just like in radio, actors play multiple parts and the sound effects are created live before your eyes.

“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” tells a well-loved story with a “special style and charm,” Oglebay Institute director of performing arts Tim Thompson said.

“This show is a great way to reconnect with a classic story. Audiences adore this story of love and redemption. We are thrilled to present it in a new and interesting way. The messages in the story resonate with all ages and still ring true today,” Thompson said.

Dave Henderson directs the show. Cast members include: Dana Applegate, Jon Coffield, Madison Farmer, Holden Farnsworth, Robert Gaudio, Luke Hladek, Charlie Ihlenfeld, Carol Lawrence, Zachary Michael, Jim Showalter, Pam Showalter, Justin Swoyer, Judy Tarowsky, Jim Weekly and David Yaeger.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at or by calling 304-242-7700. 

Tickets can also be purchased at the door, if available.