Mosaic Stage performing live radio version of holiday classic

Wil Petty Staff Writer

December 12, 2013

The Mosaic Stage Company is presenting “It’s a Wonderful Life” this weekend, but with a special twist.

Instead of performing the show a traditional way, the company decided to make it in the form of a live radio show. The production will be complete with jingle advertisements of local businesses and audience participation.

“(The play) is based off the movie, but it is in the setting of a 1940s radio hall with a live audience,” said Whitney Ward, who is directing the play. “The actors who are playing the characters will be actors themselves.”

“It’s a Wonderful Life” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13 and Saturday, Dec. 14. Two additional shows will take place at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15 at the Ashe Civic Center.

The play focuses on George Bailey (played by Barry Aldridge) on Christmas Eve when he is depressed. Clarence, an angel (played by Jim Williams) comes to Earth to help Bailey to earn his wings.

The role of Mary Hatch, Bailey’s wife, will be played by Melissa Halsey Caudill.

Ward said that some of the actors in the production play more than one character, with some playing as many as nine different roles.

With the advertisements, Ward said the group went out to local businesses to ask if they wanted personalized jingles to play during the show.

“We are going to have local jingles,” she said. “During parts where there would be a commercial for the radio show, our actors will go up and sing a jingle about a local business.”

As part of the production, the audience is expected to participate as well.

“The host will tell the audience that it is a live show and there is audience participation,” Ward said. “It is a highly interactive show.”

This will be Ward’s directing debut. Ward said the experience has been exciting for her.

“It has been a learning process, but I was really lucky to have an amazing cast,” she said. “They are all seasoned actors, so they taught me as I directed them. It has become like a family for me.”

Tickets will cost $10 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the door, through the Ashe County Arts Council and online at