Or It Could Have Been Awful

For thousands of people around the country, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the eggnog-induced rerun of It's a Wonderful Life. But those of us wishing to put a little space between ourselves and Frank Capra's feel-good tale of Christian salvation need look no further than Fred Raker's Hanukkah-slanted solo show. Set in Hollywood, revolving around a Jewish family, and featuring 25 characters (including Woody Allen, Jackie Mason, and Jack Benny in the guise of a guardian angel), It Could Have Been a Wonderful Life gives its perky predecessor a pre-yuletide kick in the tuchus. The production follows the misguided journey of aspiring Jewish comedian Phil Resnick from California to Syracuse, N.Y., as he struggles to come to terms with other peoples' success and his own failures. A meditation -- like the 1946 film version -- on the benefits of hindsight, It Could Have Been a Wonderful Life demonstrates that there are few things more Jewish (or more festive) than the past conditional tense. (If you'd rather see a more straightforward stage adaptation of the movie, try Actors Theatre's "live radio play" version.)
Dec. 8-24, 8 p.m.

 
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