Communication Arts faculty, Harper Alumni perform audio rendition of “It’s a Wonderful Life”


Harper Instructor Bill Lucio, who plays George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, practices a scene with his cast members on November October 20, 2021. Photo courtesy of Maham Khan.

Christmas is right around the corner, and the Harper College communication department is celebrating by performing a radio play rendition of the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” directed by professor Laura Colbert. 

The radio play will run on Dec. 12, from 8 to 10 p.m. Those interested in listening can purchase their tickets at the box office in Building J, room 135 or online from the Harper College website. 

Tickets cost $15 for Harper students, $20 for non-Harper students as well as Harper staff and seniors and $25 for general admission. One ticket per household is required for viewing. 

Leading up to the date and time of the play, those who purchased a ticket will receive a one-time link to stream the play. The play will not be available for streaming after the date and time mentioned above. 

The communication department decided to direct a radio play this year to reconnect both current and retired faculty members amidst an ongoing pandemic.

“The last 18 months have been difficult for everyone, and I think we’ve lost touch because we’ve had to disconnect as a result of the pandemic,” Colbert said. “It had been a really long time since we did a faculty project, and faculty projects are a great way for us to share our skills with our students and for us to put our money where our mouths are.”

“It’s a Wonderful Life” was originally released in theaters in 1946 and tells the story of George Bailey, who is contemplating suicide before an angel takes a look back at his life and shows him what the world would be like had he never existed.

The radio play reenacts this plotline, while also featuring original music composition and visual images that audience members can see when they are listening to the play.

When it came to directing a virtual play with these factors, Colbert said that it was not without its challenges.

“The actors were all on microphone, and I had to direct them because, inside my head, I knew what the sound cues were, where the music was going to be added, where the visual cues would be so it was tricky.”


Young cast members include children of Harper Faculty Margaret Bilos, Maham Khan and Brian Shelton, as they rehearse for Harper’s audio rendition of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ Photo courtesy of Maham Khan.

However, Colbert and the members of the cast enjoyed putting the show together.

“It was wonderful,” Colbert said. “I think more important than anything is just, as peers, having the chance to collaborate together, to come together, to work towards a common goal — that’s important not only for our students but for us as educators to make that commitment to each other and to our college, and so it was just a wonderful experience for all of us.”