Welcome to the 20th anniversary of our holiday tradition It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! Frank Capra’s story resonates with audiences as strongly today as its 1947 premiere. Likewise, our staged production draws passionate returning patrons and creates new fans annually. Over the years, we’ve delighted 60,000+ people and featured the work of 40+ Ensemble Members and Artistic Affiliates.

The story’s themes are timeless and universal. We feel comforted by the annual reminders – to value kindness, to support our communities, to uplift others, to caution against greed, and to protect those struggling with despair. This story also reminds us of the fragility of life. Capra’s brilliant sentiment – “Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” – hits our souls deeper this year.

As Americans, we’ve experienced much in this 21st century so far: 9/11 attacks; formation of Wikipedia, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, & Homeland Security; four presidents – including the first Black president; four vice-presidents – including the first female, Black & South Asian American vice-president; stock markets plunge, recession, & housing collapse; increased weather-related disasters; Pluto’s planetary classification & reclassification; Higgs boson discovered; increased mass shootings; wars in Afghanistan & Iraq; reckoning with our country’s formation and systemic inequities; COVID-19.

If you feel exhausted by this abridged list, it’s understandable.

And yet, here you are – resilient and full of love to give. Here you are – survivor of both historic events and personal challenges. Here you are – reading this message and making plans for your future.

You are here.

Your gracious spirits and open hearts are equally important to this Chicago tradition. Your presence is a gift to the Blues family.

Remember, no one is a failure who has friends.

– Gwendolyn Whiteside

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