Inside “It’s A Wonderful Life”

A Q&A with director Jacob Janssen


A still from TAP’s 2022 production of A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play. Submitted.

Q: Why should patrons see It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play? 

A:  You may have seen It’s A Wonderful Life, but you’ve probably never seen it – or rather, heard it – as a radio play. The story and characters are the same, but by translating the film to a live radio production, you get to experience it in a new way. It feels like a whole new story.

Q: What should play-goers look out for? 

A: Most of the actors are playing more than one role; watching how they switch seamlessly between characters is a lot of fun. Also, since this is a 1940s radio play, you get to experience all of the sound and music effects created right in front of you, which adds an additional level of artistry to the performance.

Q: What are the biggest challenges of directing this play? 

A: It’s A Wonderful Life is one of the most well-known and beloved holiday films of all time, so our audience will come with all sorts of expectations about the show. Making sure that we honor the story is our primary task, which means we dive deep into the characters and what makes them tick. 

Q: What’s it like directing a cast that has all performed together before? 

A: We spend a lot of time laughing.

Q: What do you think audiences will take away from this show? A: I hope they will learn what George Bailey learns – that we all owe each other more than we are owed.