REVIEW: It’s A Wonderful Life at Mile Square Theatre… and a Wonderful Performance, Too!!!

REVIEW: It’s A Wonderful Life at Mile Square Theatre… and a Wonderful Performance, Too!!!

by Margaretha Heidel
photos by Joe Epstein/

At this time of year, we feel the crush of the season as we try to squeeze in all things Holiday. Sometimes you have to choose—do you go to this great holiday party, or do you go take some time for yourself while supporting local theatre…

At Mile Square Theatre, you can do both!

It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is currently running through December 23rd. You can see this delightful 90 minute Radio Play and then go to the party! Whether you know the classic 1946 Frank Capra movie (starring Jimmy Stewart) or not, the slice of humanity this one serves has all the calories you would expect and more—worth squeezing in I would say!

This story is about the everyman, the one who works hard and does the right thing—always. He is generous to others and somehow doesn’t find fulfillment of his dreams. In George’s case, his dreams seem to elude him at every turn—or are they looking right at him? I am not giving anything away to say that George is in a very dark place at the top of the show. You see, George is at his wit’s end and he’s on a bridge, ready to throw it all away. But then, we get to experience the most wonderful of theatrical functions—the flashback—and with an amazing Angel 2nd class named Clarence (courtesy of the wonderfully versatile and nuanced Tim Nicolai).

Mile Square Theatre production of It’s A Wonderful Life, directed by Joseph Discher, starring John Keller as Jake Laurents (George Bailey); Michael Daly as Freddie Filmore (Potter, Billy Bailey); Maggie Weston as Sally Applewhite (Mary Hatch Bailey); Joelle Zazz as Lana Sherwood (Violet, Zuzu); Tim Nicolai as Harry “Jazzbo” Heywood (Clarence, Harry Bailey); and Hannah Mount as the Foley Artist. 11/28/2018 Hoboken,NJ photo by Joe Epstein/

This is my fourth time seeing this Radio Play production at Mile Square Theatre and it never fails to grab your heartstrings—no matter the cast. All are top-notch and never let us lose sight of the time and place we are in (special nod to our sound effects gal Hannah Mount who kept us ‘in the moment’ with all of the creative sound effects used during radio days). This year we have some new faces and a wonderful new addition in the way of Michael Daly who plays the evil Mr. Potter and others, well, not nearly as evil! A character actor with a long bio, his deeply rooted voice adds a new dimension to the despicable louse Potter, who at every opportunity takes advantage of the good nature of George Bailey and Bedford Falls in general. We need this guy—with all the sugar and spice and holiday flavor wrapped up in the story, you need a total creep to make you appreciate it even more. Well done Mr. Daly!

Tim Nicolai (Clarence) also plays George’s brother Harry and others. There is a wonderful way about him, nuanced and subtly played. H is really likeable and I enjoyed him immensely. Joelle Zazz does right by her set of characters, expertly played with great presence.

John Keller who played George, seemed to warm into the character as the show went on and we got more and more of the highs that the character found, especially at the end. Maggie Weston as Mary was the perfect warm and loving partner- lovely, fresh and positive. Certainly the luckiest girl alive to snag a catch like George! Took him to the end to realize what he had… (Men!)

It’s a Wonderful Life plays through the 23rd, and it’s easily the finest Holiday choice for you and yours—a toast to the Season, and all the good humanity we find in our world.

It’s a Wonderful Life: a live radio play
presented by Mile Square Theatre
1400 Clinton Street, Hoboken
Performances through December 23
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays @ 8pm, and Saturdays and Sundays @ 3pm

CLICK HERE for tickets (performances are selling out…)


Authored by: hMAG