On Sunday, December 13, a spectacular cast including Pete Davidson, Ellie Kemper, Ed Asner, Maude Apatow, Carol Kane, Vanessa Williams, Chris Williams, Mia Farrow, Ed Begley Jr., Diedrich Bader, BD Wong, Bill Pullman and Richard Kind performed a live table read of the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” directed by Victor Nelli, Jr.
In addition, Jeff Frost, President of Sony Pictures Television Studios, was presented a special honor by Norman Lear, Ralph Macchio, Freddie Highmore, and Michael Chiklis. Karolyn Grimes, the original “Zuzu” in the film, made a guest appearance. The event, hosted by Tom Bergeron, was hugely successful in raising funds to assist special needs families at The Ed Asner Family Center. Numerous fans from all over the world have requested a recording of the event.
“We quickly reached out to the cast and they all agreed that releasing a recorded version of the evening was a fantastic idea, so that scores of families can have access to this magical night to provide hope, light and love during this difficult time,” said Matt Asner, Co-Founder of The Center.
“So many people feel alone right now and this story is so incredibly powerful and encouraging. This intimate, honest and heartfelt reading of the film will help to bring everyone the joy they so desperately need, while raising funds for families with special needs,” said Navah Asner, Co-Founder of The Center. “I am very proud that six autistic adults played shoulder to shoulder with the famous actors in this table read.”
The online event combined the talents of Film Producer Renee Frigo of Oak Street Pictures and Event Producer Dan Kough of Paradigm Shift Worldwide to create a truly unique viewer experience. The addition of Pete Davidson to the cast received national attention, with many questioning the initial casting choice.
“When Pete Davidson came on board in the role of George Bailey, Dan Kough and I immediately knew we had something special,” said Frigo. “Watching Pete’s transformative performance was inspiring. The entire cast delivered in every way imaginable. It was like giving a backstage pass for a live recording of a TV show.”
During the Q&A portion, a fan asked Davidson about his history with the film version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The fact that Davidson’s father died as a hero on 9/11 added meaning to his deeply personal performance.
“This was my dad’s favorite movie, so I grew up watching it religiously. It is also one of my favorite movies of all time. Jimmy Stewart is hard shoes to fill but I did my best. It was a lot of fun and a really great time!” said Pete Davidson.
For a minimum donation of $10, the recording will be available for a limited time starting Friday, December 18, through Thursday, December 31, at midnight. Oak Street Pictures, whose founder is also a board member of The Ed Asner Family Center, has subsidized the cost of the recorded version to make it affordable for all.
To make a donation and register for the “It’s a Wonderful Life” table read, visit www.teafc.org.