Arts and Entertainment

It's A Wonderful Life: Thespians present a new version of the classic tale

Toby Nichols and Jill Bulow rehearse “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  - Casey Gripp Photo
Toby Nichols and Jill Bulow rehearse “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
— image credit: Casey Gripp Photo

For many, it’s a holiday tradition — to gather the family in front of the tube and fall into the flickering, black-and-white magic spell that is Frank Capra’s great American film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

The 1946 movie starring Jimmy Stewart tells the story of George Bailey, a kind-hearted businessman caught in a spiral of disillusionment and debt until he is saved by a bumbling, elderly angel who helps him realize the difference he has made in the world.

It’s a tale that been made even more potent by the recent recession, and now Islanders can treat themselves to a staged version of the story, when Drama Dock presents a reader’s theater radio version of the film, opening this weekend at the Blue Heron Arts Center.

The play will unfold as actors gather around microphones to enact the scenes. They’ll be dressed in period garb, and sound effects will help bring the story to life. Original music by noted Island composer Jason Staczek will add to the proceedings.

Director Elise Morrill has assembled a cast of veteran Island thespians to play the iconic roles.

Toby Nichols has been tapped to take on the role of George, and Jill Bulow will fill the role of his wife Mary. Younger versions of George and Mary will be played by Max Lopuszynski and Maya Krah. Spreading their wings in the roles of the angels will be Lois Watkins and Greg Ericksen. Gordon Millar will play Henry Potter, the mill owner, banker and slumlord whose character is the antithesis of George — he’s a man whose greedy ways bring misery to everyone he meets.

Of course, those who love the film know that it has a happy ending, and according to the show’s producer, Elizabeth Ripley, audiences can expect a charming evening, filled with a beautiful message.

“It’s a celebration of the value of each and every one of us in our community,” she said.


“It’s a Wonderful Life” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, 22, 26, 27 and 28 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 23 and 30. All shows are at the Blue Heron. Tickets, $7.50 to $20, are on sale at the Blue Heron, the Vashon Bookshop and online at




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