“The show must go on!” has been a saying in theater for many years, and drama students at Ridgefield High School are proving the statement is true. They’re taking their next theater production completely online with a plan to livestream It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play in December.
The radio play is an adaptation of the classic movie It’s A Wonderful Life. When idealistic George Bailey wishes he had never been born, his guardian angel helps him realize how many lives he has impacted. Author Joe Landry restages the Christmas story with the excitement of a live 1940’s radio broadcast. Kaitlyn Etter, drama teacher at Ridgefield High School, is excited about the production. “The story is so wonderful and hopeful—something we can all use right about now.”
Switching gears from stage production to online production has created a lot of changes for Etter and her students, from Zoom rehearsals to the technical hurdles of livestreaming. “The students are excited about overcoming the challenges and getting creative! The production is taking a lot of inventiveness, initiative, and enthusiasm on the part of our students and department. One step at a time, but one of my favorite things about theatre is how it teaches us to adapt and think creatively.”
It’s a full-scale production, with a large cast and crew. There are 21 students in the cast of actors, including lead actors Peter Schafer, Cameron McGravey, Sophia Miller, Avari Harrison, Anna Vande Krol, Dallin Casper, and Elle Lutz. Many of them will be playing multiple characters in the show.
There are 22 students serving on the technical crew, including lead crew members Kaitlyn St. John, Jay Stengele, Ani Gallman, Donnie St. John, LeeAnne Krause, and Caige Sothern. Art and history teacher Aziza Mansuri is also assisting with the show. The crew will help solve the challenges involved in taking the production online and creating a radio-style atmosphere. Part of the fun will be creating original, live Foley effects (the sound effects that bring a production to life, like footsteps and doors closing) in real time with the production.
Etter and her students are looking forward to the streaming event. “We are excited to bring joy, hope, and some fun 1940’s style Americana right into people’s homes!”
It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play will be streaming December 12th and 13th. Information on the production will be on Ridgefield High School social media accounts and website. On Instagram, follow @ridgefield.theatre and on Facebook, follow Ridgefield PAC. There will also be online updates for the play and other events at RHS Theatre.