Published November 20, 2019 | By Adrienne Proctor
The Pollard Theatre’s new holiday tradition returns for the 2019 Christmas season. It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play tells the story of George Bailey, a business and family man who attempts to end his life on Christmas Eve. An unlikely visitor intervenes, and in turn shows George what life would be like had he never been born. It’s a Wonderful Life is the perfect Christmas movie, and it’s become a tradition in households everywhere to revisit it every holiday season. The live radio play adds a unique quality to the story. The actors utilize the radio show setup and rely heavily on voice work and the rarely seen Foley artistry for sound effects.
Pollard Theatre favorite and returning cast member Kara Chapman sat down with me to answer some questions about Holiday traditions and returning to play the beloved character Mary Hatch in the play:
AP: You’re returning to play Mary Hatch, George Bailey’s love interest in It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. What do you love about this character and role?
Kara Chapman: I always love playing roles that are based in decades past. I love 1940s hairstyles and costumes. What I love about Mary is that she’s the epitome of a mother figure. It’s nice and charming to think of a simpler time, especially at Christmas.
AP: Christmas in Guthrie is so special. They go all out at Christmas! What brings you back every year?
Chapman: There’s nothing better than The Pollard Theatre at Christmas time. It kicks off your holiday season and annual Christmas traditions. Guthrie is just enchanting, it’s like a Hallmark movie! I’ll do anything at the Pollard at Christmas. What brings me back to this play every year is watching it again and again, and seeing all the little details you missed the first time. This play is so nuanced and lovely. I really enjoy that feeling of transformation you get as you get deeper into the story. It’s not so much a radio play in the end. It slowly transforms you into the world of Bedford Falls.
AP: What is your favorite Christmas tradition in your family?
Chapman: I have four kids, and I always like to get them their own special ornament each year. It is usually something that represents their year, what they did, or a memory they made that year. It’s fun to watch them remember each one and by the time they’re 18, they’ll have 18 years’ worth of ornaments and memories to take with them.
It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play also stars Joshua McGowen as George Bailey, James A. Hughes as Freddie, Timothy Stewart as Harry, and Kris Schinske Wolfe as Lana Sherwood and Violet Bick. David Fletcher-Hall is Clarence the Angel, and the Foley artist is Jared Blount. Pollard Theatre’s Artistic Director W. Jerome Stevenson directs.