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New life for ‘Life’ on PBS

Radio play of classic xmas movie in the works

KCET and the Jimmy Hawkins Co. are co-producing a radio play adaptation of the beloved 1946 Frank Capra classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” that will be taped for national airing on PBS stations in December. Heading the cast of “Merry Christmas, George Bailey” will be Bill Pullman as George Bailey, Nathan Lane as Clarence, Minnie Driver as Violet Bick and Martin Landau as the villainous Mr. Potter.

The live perf of the special is skedded for Dec. 8 at the Pasadena Playhouse as a benefit for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. KCET will air the special Christmas night at 8 p.m.

Based on a Lux Radio script performed in 1947, the special will also feature Hal Holbrook as George Bailey’s father, Sally Field as his mother, Joe Mantegna as Nick, and Christian Slater as both Harry Bailey and Sam Wainwright.

Nostalgic production will suggest an authentic old-time radio studio, with the stars standing before vintage microphones. The requisite sound effects, including footsteps, snowstorms and slamming doors, will be created on stage.

Tix for the Pasadena Playhouse show (entitled “It’s a Wonderful Life — The Radio Play”) are $150 each, with packages available for $2,500 and $5,000. For info, call the Pediatric AIDS Foundation office at (310) 395-9051.