History of It's a Wonderful LifeWelcome to the American Blues family! For 12 years, our productions of It’s a Wonderful Life have delighted more than 25,000 Chicagoans.

Our Ensemble believes it is an honor and duty to serve our community.  We are proud to partner with the USO, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Anixter Center, and Misericordia. Proceeds from our “Pink Previews” performances will be donated to The Lynn Sage Foundation for breast cancer research.

During 2002 & 2003, our Ensemble and former Artistic Director, Damon Kiely, presented staged-readings of It’s a Wonderful Life. In 2004, we expanded the event to a fully-staged production of Joe Landry’s adaptation, directed by Ensemble member Marty Higginbotham. In the years that followed, Higginbotham created a live-radio experience for audience members and adapted a new version with our Ensemble. Dramaturgical research and attention to detail were paramount to our adaptations. Higginbotham’s directorial elements included adding audio grams, lobby refreshments of cookies and milk, dramatized scenes from Capra’s film, a pre-show, and singing holiday carols.  In our present iteration, you can also enjoy vintage projections and the “Soldier Spotlight” which has honored over 100 military personnel.

The following Ensemble members and Artistic Affiliates have been featured throughout the years: Dawn Bach, Sarah Burnham, Dara Cameron, Casey Campbell, Brian Claggett, Austin Cook, Ian Paul Custer, Tom Geraty, Cheryl Graeff, Marty Higginbotham, Jaclyn Holsey, Samantha C. Jones, James Joseph, Kevin R. Kelly, Zachary Kenney, Ed Kross, James Leaming, Michael Mahler, Kelli Marino, John Mohrlein, Editha Rosario, Sarah E. Ross, and John Sterchi.

Your gracious spirits and open hearts are equally important to this Chicago tradition.  Your presence is a gift to the Blues family.  We welcome you—our home is yours.


Gwendolyn Whiteside, Producing Artistic Director

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