This Wonderful Life | The Edge Theater | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge James Leaming

James Leaming

Michael Brosilow

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 26 2017
Price: $29
americanbluestheater.com
American Blues Theater founding ensemble member James Leaming is brilliant in this one-man rendition of It's a Wonderful Life, the Christmastime classic about a small-town fella who learns the meaning of his life just as he's about to throw it away. Leaming serves as both storyteller and actor, playing all the parts as he recounts the familiar story of Frank Capra's 1946 film. (Steve Murray's witty script was developed more than a decade ago at Portland Center Stage in Oregon; this is the show's long-overdue Chicago premiere.) Leaming pokes fun at the old movie's hokier aspects while celebrating its enduring emotional power, and he deftly and delightfully mimics the iconic portrayals by James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Donna Reed, Henry Travers, and the rest of Capra's cast. Carmen Roman's staging supports Leaming's virtuosic performance with clever multimedia projections by Joe Huppert. —Albert Williams

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