Radio station to broadcast ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ with local cast

December 22, 2018

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is an undisputed classic. Despite having bombed in its 1946 release, the film was named the American Film Institute’s “most inspirational film of all time” 60 years later. And now it’s coming to Lake Havasu City radio.

A 90-minute rendition of the film will premiere Christmas Eve, presented by Havasu’s KNTR Radio station. The show started recording at the end of November, and according to producer Roger Galloway, it’s been a massive undertaking.

“It was really difficult to pull off,” Galloway said. “We’ve had people in and out of the studio to record it in segments, and out of sequence. There was a massive amount of sound effects, 25 characters with eight actors to play them. It’s not like stage-acting … actors have to rely totally on their voice, and not physical mannerisms.“

According to Galloway, however, the effort is worth it to do justice to the Frank Capra classic.

“It’s a perfect, classic show to do,” Galloway said. “But there are an enormous number of sound effects, and they have to be right. They’ve got to be layered properly or it won’t work.”

Galloway himself voiced two of the film’s opposing character archetypes, “Clarence” and “Mr. Potter.” The leading role of “George Bailey,” made famous by Jimmy Stewart, will be portrayed on KNTR’s production by Havasu actor Ricky Van Lent.

“I first saw the movie when I was 15,” Van Lent said. “It instantly became my favorite film. It’s a very endearing story, and it means a lot.”

Van Lent has acted in stage productions for the past 18 years, and for him, the role was a dream come true.

“It’s a role I’ve wanted to play since I first saw it,” Van Lent said. “I hoped there would be a stage production, but when I found out about this radio production, I had to do it. It’s a unique project, sort of embracing the golden age of radio.”

Van Lent has provided his voice acting talents to only one other radio program, a KTNR production of “War of the Worlds.” He has starred in more than 50 stage productions at GraceArts theater throughout his career.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” will premiere on KNTR radio Christmas Eve at 7 p.m., and at 7 a.m. on Christmas.

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