Story District stages true stories inspired by ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ theme at Union Stage

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Story District's 'It's a Wonderful Life' (Part 1)

Seventy six years after its release, “It’s a Wonderful Life” remains a holiday classic.

This Saturday, Story District hosts local true stories inspired by the film at Union Stage.

“All of our shows have six to eight people telling true stories on a common theme,” artistic executive director Amy Saidman told WTOP. “I wanted something that could cover a lot of different angles on the holiday season. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a long movie, but you have a lot about community, transformation, self-reflection, family and just the holiday spirit.”

You’ll hear true stories from seven local residents: Ginny Simmons; Christian Richardson; Derek Hills; Hilary Landfried; Mike Kane; Dorothy Matlis; and Maurice Lethbridge.

“Most folks are not writers, not artists, maybe have never been on stage in any capacity,” Saidman said. “We put out a theme, anybody in the general public can pitch their story idea, if we like their idea, then we work with people for several weeks [or] months to get them ready for a stage story. We don’t call them monologues because we ask people to be real.”

Their stories range from their own Bedford Falls hometowns to their own nasty Mr. Potters.

“Ginny’s story is about the neighborhood villain when she was growing up, Hilary overcomes her fear of talking to strangers, Mike accidentally told his daughter that Santa wasn’t real, and then a couple of moving stories about the support of community and family getting our storytellers through some pretty profound life changes,” Saidman said.

Story District is celebrating its 25th anniversary season with similar shows year-round, but the “It’s a Wonderful Life” show is the perfect way to feel community during the holidays.

“You will definitely laugh and probably cry,” Saidman said.

Click to find more information and tickets.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Story District's 'It's a Wonderful Life' (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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