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NWA Audio Theater celebrates with Capra classic

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10 December, 2018 By Lara Jo Hightower

For many people, the 1946 Frank Capra classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life" is a Christmas tradition -- to the point where they can recite the actors' lines with them. After all, who doesn't get goosebumps when George Bailey says to Mary, "What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word, and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down." Or when Clarence the angel says, "Remember, George: No man is a failure who has friends."

Or -- of course -- when little Zuzu Bailey says, "Look, Daddy! Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!"

"I think this show is a beautiful statement of how people do things for others and care for others at Christmastime," says Northwest Arkansas Audio Theater director Karen Gossett. Actors working with the theater troupe -- which is dedicated to the somewhat lost art of radio drama -- will get to recite those iconic lines during its presentation of a radio adaptation of the movie next weekend. "It's fun to bring that out: 'What did George Bailey do with his life? What are you doing with yours?'"

Gossett has performed in four previous productions with the Audio Theater, but this is the first show she's directed for the troupe. She says the variety of roles she's been able to perform is an example of why she loves audio theater so much.

"I tend to play males, because my voice is deeper," she says with a laugh. "And men, a lot of times, have better parts than women! We just did 'Dracula', and I played Van Helsing. That was a lot of fun."

Gossett was a theater professional and educator in Texas prior to moving to Northwest Arkansas to live closer to her children. She says getting involved in radio theater has been a highlight of her relocation.

"It's so fun," she says. "It's very different from theater. I fell in love with it. I'm on the board; I'm vice president. I've been having fun promoting it, doing workshops. It was only in its first and second year when I joined, and they've done quite a lot over the past couple of years. It's about providing stories and story-telling and good, visual audio theater."

Part of the fun of watching a radio drama on stage is seeing the actors at work and watching them create sound effects, says Gossett.

But, for this particular show, it may be the message that shines through the brightest.

"In this day and age, I like the idea of showing people how they should care for each other, no matter who they are and what they do," says Gossett. "Let's have some peace and goodwill."


FAQ

NWA Audio Theater:

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13-15

WHERE — Arts Center of the Ozarks, 234 S. Main St., Springdale

COST — $5-$10

INFO — 751-5441


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