It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

I am delighted to have a part in Orange Community Players’ production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. A playwright took the movie and turned it into a vintage radio show. How fun is that!

It’s Christmas Eve, 1946.

I play Rose, George Bailey’s mother. I get to be the sweet Rose, who adores her son. And then I’m the Rose at the boardinghouse who doesn’t remember George once the angel declares George has never been born.

I play Matilda, the receptionist, who has one of the best lines in the play (which I’ll tell you when the play is over).  I play humble Mrs. Thompson during the run on the bank. And I get to be Sadie Vance, the state bank examiner. In that scene, I go up against my good friend Bernie Nord. We shoot each other daggers!

(In the photo below, I’m actually stepping in for a fellow actor during rehearsal.)

We’re using vintage microphones and sound effects just like those done in radio days. Our sound effects people, called “Foley Artists,” are part of the production and do a fabulous job. They can also sing and double as the very adorable Barrymore Sisters.


The rest of the cast and crew are just as adorable as the Barrymore Sisters, and our director, Lisa Woodward, is masterful at bringing out the best in the actors and the story.

Since I don’t have a super large speaking part, I’ve got lots of downtime on stage, officially called “business.”  I’m bringing my aunt’s forties purse.

Inside are photos of my mom and dad in the forties and a letter my dad sent my mom from the Pacific during World War Two. I’ve got an old compact in the purse too and lipstick and a nail file. Hopefully, these items will keep my busy onstage as I wait for my turn at the mic.


If you live near HIllsborough, do come to the show.  Here’s the scoop on tickets.  

And if you can’t come to the show, stay tuned for a post-production report.


I Go to the Afterworld and Learn a Lesson

The weekend before Halloween, I went to the afterworld.

I became a ghost in the Hillsborough Spirits Tour, a production put on by Orange Community Players and the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough. I played Mrs. Coffin, expert pie baker, sadly poisoned by my husband. Seems Mr. Coffin grew tired of my delicious pie over the years (and my unpleasant manner).

As I dressed for the tour that night, I had such fun putting on creepy makeup and  mussing up my hair. When I emerged from the bedroom as Mrs. Coffin, my real husband Cliff seemed a bit taken back by his now ghastly-looking wife. He was nice enough to snap my picture though (above).

My haunt was an old cottage on the grounds of the Hillsborough Visitors Center. I donned my apron and cap when I arrived and snapped a selfie.

Soon my ghostly husband appeared, played by my friend David Hecht, actor extraordinaire. David told me I looked wonderful, which was a nice compliment coming from a man who would soon poison me. I guess fellow ghosts learn to appreciate the ghostly pallor.

That night, we performed our skit every twenty minutes as the tour leaders brought groups by to watch.

I’m a fairly new actress, but I’ve learned that you really do become your character.

So what did I figure out when I was Mrs. Coffin? How can she help me live my best life right now?

It sounds simple, although it’s easier said than done: Solve you differences. Don’t act them out again and again like David and I did. Sure we had a blast, but it was pretend.


Repeatedly acting out the same arguments is a a waste of your good life in this world. Figure it out now. Or soon.

And in case I really do become a ghost someday, I want to be a kind, upbeat, and humble one. I don’t want to become a Mrs. Coffin.

Although I’d love to learn to make a really mean apple pie.



Showtime for Mattie the Maid! (Almost)

Three years ago, I made my theater debut as Jeri Neal McFeeley in the Dixie Swim Club. I had a blast! You can read about it here.

This year, I’m Matilda, a member of the housekeeping staff at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Neil Simon’s California Suite. Our director, Lisa Woodward, was kind enough to add the part for me and my fellow actress, Susan. You can see some of our props in the photos.

What we do with those props during the play is a whole different story (and our secret for now). If you live in the area, do come to the performance. These are the showtimes:

Here’s the link to the Orange Community Player’s website, where you can buy advance tickets. (You only really need advance tickets for the Saturday night dinner theater.)

I haven’t gotten my costume yet, but my guess is that it will look something like this:

I’ve always hated making beds, but so far, making beds as Mattie the Maid is tons of fun. Just as long as I don’t trip and really break a leg…



Downsizing: Let the Show Go On!


The downsizing continues at our house!

I’ve donated items to our local relief agency. I’ve provided auction items for the Burwell School, an historic school here in Hillsborough. I’ve sent vintage clothing to the Theater Development Fund in New York. The fund supplies costumes to theater groups across the United States. I’ve taken cartons of books to our library’s book sale.

And here’s my latest project!

Orange Community Players is putting on Arsenic and Old Lace at the end of February. They needed fuddy duddy antiques for the set. (That’s my choice of words). The set’s creator, Bob Sharp, called. “Barbara, we thought of you. Do you have furniture we could borrow?”

Did I! Bob came and picked out chairs, an old dresser to serve as a sideboard, and a Victorian settee.These are pieces I don’t plan to move to the new house. Then it hit me: Someone in the show, helping with the show, or attending the show might want to buy a piece of my furniture. So I offered Bob a deal. They help sell my furniture (word of mouth and a note in the program), and the money will go right to Orange Community Players.


I  did a Facebook post of the furniture leaving my driveway. We’ve got a sale of the needlepoint chairs! Thank you, Robin.

We’ll see if the rest of the pieces sell. Hope so! But no matter what, it’s going to be fun to sit in the audience and admire antiques that have served me loyally over the years. I just hope soon, they’ll serve someone else who will love them too.


The Theater Development Fund accepts donations of clothing for their wardrobe collection. Email them, and if you have items they want, they’ll pay the postage. Read more here.