We thought it was an entertaining production (with a spectacular set, great 1940s costuming and strong student performances)… and so did WFRV critic-at-large Warren Gerds. In his review of Thursday night’s UW-Green Bay Theatre, Dance and Music production of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Show,” Gerds summarized the evening as “something special at the Weidner.” The second and final show is tonight (7:30, Nov. 20) in Cofrin Family Hall. See review.
We’ve got tickets (do you?) for the opening night performance of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play” on the Weidner Center mainstage. It’s 7:30 tonight (Thursday, Nov. 19) in Cofrin Family Hall. If you have trouble envisioning what a “radio play” will look like, we have a sneak preview online, with a photo from the final dress rehearsal, and earlier snapshots showing the stage crew applying finishing touches. Set designer extraordinaire Prof. Jeff Entwistle and company have clearly outdone themselves (yet again). For a preview, and details on the production.
Prof. Laura Riddle is a huge old-time radio fan… which came through in a highly descriptive and entertaining interview Wednesday afternoon on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Central Time” program. She talks about the exacting challenge of synching up music, actors and sound effects — and indicated that a lot of the show’s fun will come from watching the “tech crew” scramble to simulate script details such as “Harry falls through the ice,” for example, by twisting stalks of celery (which sounds like ice breaking). A listenable seven-minute segment, can be heard here.
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Theatre and Dance and Music presents the beloved holiday classic It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.
The performances of It’s A Wonderful Life will take place Thursday and Friday, Nov. 19-20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cofrin Family Hall at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, UW-Green Bay, 2420 Nicolet Drive.
Frank Capra’s classic holiday film was adapted for the stage by Joe Landry in 2006 and quickly became an anticipated annual event in cities across the country. Performed as a live radio broadcast set on Christmas Eve, 1946, audiences are transported to the days of Old Time Radio. An ensemble of 11 actors play dozens of characters, perform commercial jingles and create sound effects to tell the story of Bedford Falls’ George Bailey as he is given a great gift by Clarence Oddbody one fateful Christmas Eve.
Production Director and Professor of Theatre, Laura Riddle, is excited to bring It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play to the Weidner Center on the UW-Green Bay campus as a part of the University’s 50th Anniversary celebration. “I have always been a fan of Old Time Radio and tune in to Wisconsin Public Radio every Sunday night to hear rebroadcasts of old radio shows, stories told in a way that invite the listeners to imagine the action in great detail through enhanced underscoring and sound effects. Our production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play treats the audience to a look “behind-the scenes” for a live radio broadcast. The audience sees actors changing characters using only their voices and sound effects are created live at a Foley table using objects from corn flakes to water basins.”
All elements are performed live and include a live band playing popular music and holiday songs from the 1940’s. It’s a Wonderful Life is a collaboration of UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance and UW-Green Bay Music. The original score by Kevin Connors has been custom tailored for the UWGB production by Nick Schommer and Kelsie Holtzheimer, UW-Green Bay Music students who have composed new arrangements and original compositions.
It’s a Wonderful Life directorial/production team: Laura Riddle (Director), Courtney Sherman (Musical Director), Denise Carlson-Gardner (Choreographer), Nick Schommer and Kelsie Holtzheimer (original compositions and arrangements) Jeffrey Paul Entwistle (Scenic Designer), Kaoime E. Malloy (Costume/Make Up Designer), R. Michael Ingraham (Lighting Designer, Technical Designer), Dana Mehlhorn (Sound Designer), Jeff Chesebro and Paul Heim (Foley Designers), David Cook (Assistant Technical Director) Bri Wolfe (Stage Manager).
It’s a Wonderful Life cast: Emily Ahrens (Roscoe, IL), Selena Deer (New Berlin, WI), Max Frost (De Pere, WI), Ashley Gutting (Ashwaubenon, WI), Nick Schommer (Jackson, WI), Millie Haushalter (Brillion, WI), Adam Rosenow (Shawano, WI), Talor Sohr (Green Bay, WI), Kit Honkanen (Green Bay, WI), Daniel Taddy (Sturgeon Bay, WI), Tyler Wood (Pulaski, WI)
It’s a Wonderful Life orchestra: Courtney Sherman (Conductor), Laura Cortright, flute (Green Bay, WI), Keton Jennings, sax (Poynette, WI), Gatlin Grimm, trumpet (Green Bay, WI), Joe Russett, trombone (Green Bay, WI), Collin Catalano, upright bass; Bobby Magers, drums (Green Bay, WI), Kyle Sweeney, piano (Fox Point, WI), Ryan Dummer, piano (Green Bay, WI)
It’s a Wonderful Life crew: Matthew Beecher (Assistant Stage Manager) (Milwaukee, WI), Erin Pagenkopf (Assistant Stage Manager) (Sussex, WI), Jake Gerlikovski (Master Electrician) (Green Bay, WI), David Cook (Scene Shop Supervisor), Elizabeth Galba (Costume Shop Supervisor) (Cascade, WI), Cody Von Ruden (Wardrobe Head, Makeup Crew) (Cashton, WI), Katy Kluever (Menasha, WI) and Cody Galligan (Campbellsport, WI) (Wardrobe Crew), Zeb Burks (Sound Technician) (Ettrick, WI), Scene Shop Practicum Students (Carpenters and Costume Technicians), (Electricians and Paint Crew).
Tickets for It’s A Wonderful Life range from $25 to $35. Special pricing for UWGB students is $20. To purchase tickets.
UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance Prof. Jeff Entwistle traded his tie and buttoned up shirt for more comfortable attire that he and his students have come to identify as “either paint clothes or eventual paint clothes.” A chuckle from the audience was the first of many during Entwistle’s fun and impassioned reflection on “Why We All Need Theatre in Our Lives and in Our Future” as part of the Last Lecture Series.
Friday (Oct. 23) is “Swap Your Logo” day at The Phoenix Bookstore. Bring to the store any gently used clothing item and get 20 percent off of one item in the store. There is no limit. Donations will go to the Campus Cupboard project or Goodwill. Other Phoenix Friday promotions:
• 10% off at A’viand’s MAC Hall cart for those wearing Phoenix gear
• The Cheapseats movie at 6:30 and 9:05 p.m. is Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck”
• More than 325 students, faculty and staff will take part in Make a Difference Day work
• The Mauthe Center hosts “Cardboard Box City” to fight poverty, homelessness
• Music’s Wind Ensemble & Symphonic Band perform at 7:30 p.m.
• The student production Theophilus North continues at the Weidner through Saturday
• Women’s volleyball hosts Cleveland State at 7 p.m. at the Kress
Veteran critic Warren Gerds of WeAreGreenBay.com took in opening night of the Theatre and Dance program’s production of “Theophilus North” on Thursday and loved it. Based on characters by Wisconsin native Thornton Wilder, the play chronicles the adventures of a young free spirit dropped into the somewhat dysfunctional lives of the wealthy 1920s residents of tiny Newport, Rhode Island. The cast, playwright and director John Mariano draw plenty of praise. The show continues today and Saturday, Oct. 16-17, and Oct. 21-24, in the Jean Weidner Theatre. To read the full review.
Friday, Oct. 16, is an extra special Phoenix Friday, with the start of Alumni Days 50th Anniversary Edition. The Phoenix Bookstore will remain open until 6 p.m. with a 20 percent discount storewide (excluding textbooks and gift cards). Aviand’s is offering 10 percent off at the Garden Café for showing your Phoenix spirit/apparel. Playing at Cheapseats this Friday is the children’s comedy “Minions.” Theatre and Dance presents “Theophilus North,” and there’s the BlueWhale Reunion, and more.
It’s a busy night at the Weidner, as the Theatre and Dance program presents the Matthew Burnett adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s “Theophilus North” Thursday, Oct. 15 through Oct. 24 in the Jean Weidner Theatre.
Prof. Jeff Entwistle is the second speaker in UW-Green Bay’s special 50th Anniversary Last Lecture Series. The veteran faculty member will address the topic “We All Need Theatre in Our Lives and in Our Future” in his talk at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, in the University Union’s Christie Theatre. Entwistle says inspiration for his speech will come from three major ideas — the emotional connection of theatre, the fact that in the theatre an audience can observe even the worst of human behavior without fear for their safety, and the real probability of a serious decrease in in-person human interaction as society moves ever deeper into the digital age.