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L.I. performers recording ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ for radio


Remember when families would sit together near a roaring fire, stir hot coco with candy canes and listen to stories on a radio not much smaller than the family’s car?

You and yours can recreate that experience this Christmas Eve or Christmas Day by tuning into Long Island’s only NPR station to hear Long Island actors perform the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” adopted by Joe Landry.

The hour-long radio show will first air at 7 p.m. on Dec. 24 and again at 10 a.m. on Christmas Morning on 88.3 WPPB-FM. Or, you can listen online here.

The actors, among several others, include Gene Casey of Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks, and Cindy Clifford, the longtime co-host of 97.5 WALK-FM Patchogue’s WALK Breakfast Club with Mark and Cindy.

Clifford is playing Violet, the town flirt, and Mary’s busybody mother.

“Having seen the movie as many times as the next gal, or more, I jumped at the chance to be part of bringing it to life as a radio play,” Clifford said. “It’s particularly interesting in this age of all screens all the time to reduce a story to the pure sound of voices and sounds, challenging imaginations to get to work.

“And if you listen closely, you’ll hear a few voices choking up with emotion. You’ll just have imagine us wiping away tears — but trust me, we will be.”

The singer Casey plays the booming voice of Joseph up in heaven.

The performance is being directed by WPPB morning show host Bonnie Grice.

The gang is actually recording the show in front of a live audience at 6 p.m. on Dec. 20 at the Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead. Tickets are $15 or $30 for VIP.

Also on Christmas Eve, WPPB-FM is airing an 8 p.m. radio broadcast of “A Christmas Carol” that was recorded in 2010. That plays again at 11 a.m. on Christmas Day.

Photo: ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ rehearsals last week at the Suffolk Theater. (courtesy)

About the author: Michael White

Michael White is a Bellport resident, longtime newspaper reporter and editor, and the owner of Email him your story ideas or tips: