ATC's Season 26 designs are by Designscout. For more info, see

Nine Wonderful Years!

it's a wonderful life: the radio play

Bedford Falls 1948

ATC transforms its intimate space into an actual 1940's radio station to tell Capra's classic story of one man's effect on his community. Complete with audiograms and commercial breaks, audiences may be recorded live for broadcast on WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. Free milk and cookies are served after every performane. Don't miss what the Chicago Tribune calls "the one holiday show I relish going back to each year."

Begins November 26
Through December 26
Thursday Friday Saturday at 8 PM
Saturday and Sunday at 3 PM



design bios

Jason W. Gerace (Director) is the Artistic Associate of American Theater Company, and happy to be back directing It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play. Also at ATC, Jason has assistant directed Yeast Nation and Speech & Debate under the direction of PJ Paparelli; Associate Directed the World Premiere of Welcome to Arroyo’s, by Kristoffer Diaz; produced and directed in the 2009 Big Shoulders Festival, produced the first 10X10 Festival, and curated The Silver Project, a festival of new plays by national and Chicago playwrights celebrating ATC’s 25th season, presented during the 2010 TCG National Conference. Other Chicago credits include assistant directing Awake & Sing! At Northlight, under the direction of Amy Morton, The Overwhelming at Next Theater and The North Plan at Steppenwolf under the direction of Kimberly Senior and Sex with Strangers under the direction of Jessica Thebus at Steppenwolf. Regional directing credits include Hamlet (Oklahoma Summer Shakespeare), A Christmas Carol (Oklahoma City Theatre Co.) The Miracle Worker (Theatrikos), Antigone and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theatre for Young People). Jason originally hails from Anchorage, Alaska and holds an MFA in Directing from The University of Oklahoma. He is married to a truly amazing woman, who makes everything he does possible to begin with. They are expecting their first child in May. He is an associate member of SDC.

Tom Burch+ (Scenic Designer) is pleased to return to ATC where he also designed Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Other Chicago credits include Gas for Less, Talking Pictures (Goodman); abridgments of Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, Shrew, and others (Chicago Shakespeare); Souvenir, Mauritius, Red Herring and others (Northlight); Comedy of Errors (Court); Scorched (Silk Road); No Exit and Frankenstein (The Hypocrites), as well as shows at Lifeline, Strawdog, Next, House and many others. Regional work includes shows at Arizona Theatre Company, Cleveland Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Peninsula Players, and others. He's the recipient of 3 Jeff nominations (1 win) and 3 After Dark Awards. Current and upcoming projects include the New York run of Mistakes Were Made (off-Broadway, Barrow Street Theatre), A Civil War Christmas (Northlight), Pirates of Penzance (Hypocrites) and Sense and Sensibility (Northlight). He teaches at University of Chicago, and his work can be seen online at

Katherine Stebbins (Costume Design) is happy to be back designing costumes for It's A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play with ATC for the second time. This past summer she taught high school students and designed costumes for the Cherubs program at Northwestern University. Her greatest design accomplishment of the year, however, was costuming Collaboraction's Sketchbook X. Katherine will be working with Collaboraction again on their "best of Sketchbook" project, Reverb. In the meantime, she may also be seen hanging around Chicago Shakespeare Theater assisting the costume designer on their Short Shakespeare play, Macbeth.

Mac Vaughey (Lighting Design) is a Chicago-based lighting designer. Recent credits include work with Teatro Luna, Porchlight Music Theatre, Collaboraction, The Next Theatre Company, Walkabout Theatre, Steppenwolf, Teatro Vista, and Chicago Shakespeare. Mr. Vaughey is the resident lighting designer at the 16th Street Theatre in Berwyn and an associate artist with Teatro Luna and Premiere Theatre and Performance. Mr. Vaughey is also the Master Electrician here at American Theatre Company as well as Timeline Theatre, The Next Theatre Company and Light Opera Works. Additionally, Mr. Vaughey is the Business Manager and Development Director for Studio BE, a non-profit performing arts training and development center in the Lakeview neighborhood.

Stephanie Farina (Sound Designer) is currently the sound engineer in the Owen Theatre at The Goodman Theatre. Her credits there include A2 for Ain't Misbehavin’, Turn of the Century, A Christmas Carol, and Animal Crackers; sound engineer for Esperanza Rising, El Grito Del Bronz, Hephaestus, and The Seagull. In addition, Stephanie has engineered for The House Theatre of Chicago’s The Attempter and The Rose and the Rime and the American Theatre Company’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Her design credits include Assistant Designer for The American Theatre Company’s Distracted, and Sound Designer for The Silver Project. As well as Assistant Designer for Raven Theatre’s Twelve Angry Men, and Lookingglass Theatre’s Trust and Hephaestus.

Erin Diener* (Production Stage Manager) is excited to be back with ATC on their production of It's A Wonderful Life. Her recent stage managing credits include The Mystery of Irma Vep and On Golden Pond with Buffalo Theatre Ensemble and The Emperor's New Clothes with Chicago Shakespeare. Her other stage management credits include Dancing at Lughnasa and Mojo Mickybo with Seanachai Theatre Company where she is also a company member, The Overwhelming, Dying City and Well with Next Theatre Company; Love’s Labours Lost and Henry V with Lakeside Shakespeare; and Amelia Earhart: Jungle Princess with The New Colony. Prior to joining Actor’s Equity in October of 2008, Erin, a well rounded member of the theatre industry, has taken on a variety of positions all over the city and with summer stock from box office to carpentry overhire and assistant stage managing. She would like to thank her family for all of their love and support! She hopes you enjoy the show and thanks you for continuing to support live theatre.



cast bios

Christopher McLinden* (George Bailey) is very excited to join the cast of It’s A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play. Previous credits include Speaking in Tongues (Cake Prod./New York Theater Workshop); Sir Andrew in Twelfth Night and Pisanio in Cymbline (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival); Speak American (City Theatre of Pittsburgh); Tim Mcveigh in Celebrity Row (American Theater Company); Last of The Boys and Diary of Anne Frank (Steppenwolf Theater Company); The Lion in Winter, Seagull and Duchess of Malfi (Writer’s Theatre); Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Vincent in Brixton (Appletree Theatre - After Dark Award-Outstanding Performance); Midsummer Night’s Dream (First Folio Shakespere); Lady From the Sea (Greasy Joan & Co.); The Vortex (Boxer Rebellion Ensemble); The Old Lady Shows Her Medals, Man of Destiny and You Never Can Tell (Shaw Chicago). He holds a BFA from Northern Illinois University and has also studied at the Moscow Art Theatre. Chris is an Artistic Associate of Theatre Y, an international theater company based in Chicago. Mom and Pop, you want a shock? I think you’re great.

Alan Wilder* (Mr. Potter/Clarence/Others) has been an ensemble member of Steppenwolf Theatre since 1976 and has appeared in over 60 productions there. He was most recently seen at Steppenwolf in To Kill A Mockingbird, A Separate Peace, Fake, The Tempest and The Seafarer. On screen, he most recently appeared in Public Enemies and Gifted Hands. On Facebook Queen Elizabeth has made Alan a friend and bestowed upon him a Cyber-Knighthood.

Joseph Anthony Foronda* (Mr. Bailey/Uncle Billy/Joseph/Others) was last seen in Yeast Nation at ATC. He also recently appeared as Chief Sitting Bull in Annie Get Your Gun with Patti Lupone, George Hearn and Patrick Cassidy at the Ravinia Festival. Chicago credits include: Miss Saigon, The King & I (Drury Lane Oakbrook); Aladdin, Pacific Overtures, Sunday in the Park with George (Chicago Shakespeare); The Romance of Magno Rubio (Victory Gardens); Durango, Silk Road Cabaret (Silk Road Theatre Project); A Year with Frog & Toad (Chicago Children’s Theatre); La Posada Magica (Teatro Vista); Let the Eagle Fly (Latino Theatre Festival @ the Goodman): and Urinetown: The Musical (Mercury Theater). Broadway: Miss Saigon; SHOGUN: The Musical; Pacific Overtures 2004 Revival. Regional credits include: Flower Drum Song (AMTSan Jose); Les Miserables (Weston Playhouse); Miss Saigon (TUTS); The Fantsticks (East West Playhouse); Making Tracks (San Jose Rep). Love to family and friends!

Mary Winn Heider (Mary Hatch/Mrs. Bailey) is thrilled to return to ATC and It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play. She has worked as a performer and teaching artist in Chicago for just over six years, and has also been seen as Nola in The Attempters with The House Theater Company and Sonya in Dead Letters with Big Theater. Mary Winn was a part of Redmoon’s Hunchback over the last few years, appearing in Chicago at Redmoon Central and Rockefeller Chapel, in Washington DC at the Shakespeare Theater of DC, and in New York at The New Victory Theater; she has also appeared as various doorknobs, villains, aliens, ballerinas and robots with Barrel of Monkeys, where she is a company member.

Tyler Ravelson (Harry Bailey/Ernie/Others) is proud to make his American Theatre Company debut in It's A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play. He just returned from the Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Florida where he played Juror #5 in Twelve Angry Men, directed by Frank Galati. Recent Chicago credits include Casey in The House Theatre's Girls Vs. Boys, Kent in Talk Radio at State Theatre of Chicago, and Willie Bounce in the original cast of The Hundred Dresses at Chicago Children's Theatre. In 2009, he earned his BFA in Musical Theatre at The Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University. Try to spot him in Ron Howard's The Dilemma this January! Love to M, D, K, N, and you too.

Maggie Graham (Violet/Mrs. Hatch/Others) a Kentucky native, is still enamored with life in the big city. She is thrilled to be involved in this production having been a lifelong fan of the movie. When the protagonist, George is surrounded by his four children, she cannot help but think of her pop (also a George) whom she loves very much. Besides romping around on stage, Maggie enjoys running, ballet class, fact-finding and cheer. For Mom, Dad, the girls and Nick.

Rick Kubes (Foley Artist) is proud to be returning to his second year of It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play at ATC. Previous to that he also appeared in ATC's production of Sam Shepard's Angel City. Rick is an actor, musician, circus performer, and foley artist who has worked extensively with Lookingglass, Actors Gymnasium, Redmoon, Theatre Zarko, Silver Guy Entertainment, and his current national touring 30 piece band Mucca Pazza. Rick just completed his third run over 3 years of Lookingglass's Hephaestus at the Goodman Theatre with the previous two runs at Lookingglass, with another extended run getting set for 2011. Other Chicago acting credits include: Words on Fire at Steppenwolf, Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet at Chicago Shakespeare, Suddenly Last Summer at Eclipse Theatre, Iktu Blas at Theatre Zarko, The Golden Truffle at Redmoon, The Queen's Project at Local Infinities, All the Time in the World and numerous other circus shows at The Actor's Gymnasium. Some film and television credits include: Since You've Been Gone, My Best Friend's Wedding, Hoffa, The Untouchables, and most recently Mucca Pazza appeared on The Conan O'Brian Show and an episode of HBO's Weeds. Performing all around the country with a most recent Halloween performance at The White House and The Lincoln Center highlights a few unreal experiences Rick has had, only reaffirming that it truly is A Wonderful Life!

Chris Amos (Announcer/Others) is thrilled and grateful to take part in his first production with ATC. He recently returned from his third consecutive season at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, where he has played such roles as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Trinculo in The Tempest, and the Duke of Buckingham in The Three Musketeers. Other favorite roles include Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Duke Vincentio in Measure for Measure, and Miles Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Chris earned his MFA in Acting from the Theatre Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and holds BAs in Theatre and Music from Oklahoma State University. He currently lives in Chicago, where he acts and does voiceover work. Thanks to his family for their unwavering support, and to Pamela for her unwavering unwaveringness.

Cheryl Parkes (Pianist) is returning for her third year as the pianist for It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play. This makes her happy. Cheryl holds a Bachelors of Music in composition from DePaul University. A pianist for 20 years, she is an experienced chamber musician, accompanist, and freelance performer in Chicago. Cheryl has performed in such productions as Bingo the Musical at the Apollo Theatre and Babes in Hollywood and The Wiz at the Jedlicka Performing Arts Center at Morton College. You can also see her performing throughout the city as an original member of the chamber music project, Classical Revolution Chicago, as well as the pianist in the instrumental rock quartet, Cruciforms. In addition to her performing experience, Cheryl is an award-winning composer at the state and national levels. She is currently the Director of Music at St. James United Methodist Church in Hyde Park and also works for the DePaul University Community Music Division as its Performance Coordinator.

Female Understudy and Station Manager Tyler Meredith

Announcer Understudy and Station Manager Nick Ferrin

* denotes Actors' Equity Association Member


Letter from PJ

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the ninth year of American Theater Company’s holiday production of It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play directed by our Artistic Associate, Jason Gerace.

The story of George Bailey is the quintessential American tale. Through the trials and tribulations of this passionate idealist, he discovers his true worth lies in the lives he has affected around him. George is equal parts dreamer, hard-worker, cynic and do-gooder. I think these are all essential American qualities. We dream big. We work hard. We question what doesn’t seem right. And we help those in need. That is why we produce It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play every year. It’s far more than holiday entertainment: it’s a meditation on being an American.

This year, we are thrilled to welcome a few new performers to the show. In addition to the talents of Maggie Graham, Chris Amos, and Tyler Ravelson (who you will see later this season in The Original Grease), we welcome back a few actors to the ATC stage. Joe Foronda played Jan-the-Elder in Season 25’s Yeast Nation (the triumph of life) by the writers of Urinetown. Christopher McLinden terrorized audiences as Timothy McVeigh in Season 24’s Celebrity Row directed by David Cromer. We are excited to see these iconic roles interpreted in new ways in this year’s production.

We are proud to partner again with WBEZ Chicago Public Radio to broadcast It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play to thousands of listeners throughout the holiday season. In addition, we will present an “unplugged” version of the show for the residents of Wentworth Gardens, one of the City of Chicago’s public housing developments in the South Side. ATC has been commissioned by the Chicago Community Trust to develop a documentary theatre piece that explores the history of public housing. Through our interviews in the field, we discovered the incredible journey that the residents of Wentworth Gardens had taken to save their homes from demolition. ATC is honored to celebrate their success with a story of the power of community.

In February, ATC will premiere The Big Meal by Dan LeFranc, the New York Times 2010 Outstanding Playwright. The Big Meal recreates hundreds of dinner moments in five generations of a modern family. You will not want to miss this hilarious and breathtaking exploration of family in America.

Have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy this year’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play. We are glad you are here!

Your Artistic Director,




One of Chris Jones' (Chicago Tribune) top-10 most anticipated shows of the season He says "the combination of this material and the nostalgic haze of the vintage wireless makes that bell ring every time. "