REVIEW: ‘It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play’

It’s a Wonderful Life is a heartwarming Christmas classic: A tender movie that avoids being cloying most of the time on its way to causing your heart to sink. It’s hard to go wrong with it.

But also hard to improve upon, as playwright Joe Landry proves in his “Live Radio Play” version, now at WaterTower Theatre. All the elements are there: An aw-shucks dumpling of a George Bailey (Matthew Laurence-Moore), a slimy Mr. Potter (B.J. Cleveland, in one of many impersonations), ZuZu remarking that an angel got its wings. We recognize them all from the movie.

And that’s exactly what’s wrong with this play — it’s not a play. Nor is it the movie. It’s little more than a staged reading, and it begs you to ask: How come?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

GIVEAWAY: Win tickets to see WTT’s “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” Thursday

WaterTower Theatre’s new production of the jukebox musical Smokey Joe’s Cafe officially opens tonight, and you can see it this week … for free! We have two pairs of tickets to give away for Thursday’s performance. It starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Addison Theatre Centre, and we have the tickets here for ya. Simply email Lifestyle@dallasvoice.com by 11 a.m. tomorrow, and on Tuesday around noon, I’ll randomly pick the winners. Then all you have to do is stop by the Voice offices before Thursday and enjoy a night of the music of Leiber and Stoler.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: “Fortune” from MBS

I’ll have a review of WaterTower Theatre’s new production of the Pulitzer-winning August: Osage County later this week, but in the meantime, our friends at TheaterJones have checked out another show playing at the Addison Theatre Centre, MBS Productions’ Fortune, now at the Stone Cottage Theatre and running through April 14. Check out the review here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones