Just like the movie it is based on, the It's a Wonderful Life table read may be on its way to becoming a holiday tradition. The virtual event, hosted by The Ed Asner Family Center (TEAFC) with Turner Classic Movies and Whatnot, is a charitable benefit now in its third year.
Created by the late Ed Asner, TEAFC promotes mental health and enrichment programs to children with special needs and their families.
"As the parents of autistic children, Matt and I saw a desperate need to create a safe and welcoming community for Special Needs families," explains Navah Asner, co-founder of The Ed Asner Family Center. "The Center provides arts and vocational enrichment and critical mental health services to these individuals and their families, creating a unique space to learn, interact and thrive. In that spirit, I’m thrilled to announce that we have developed an incredible, interactive and inclusive adult day care program that combines job training, life skills and expressive arts to foster self-confidence, independence and purpose."
Here is everything we know about the It’s a Wonderful Life table read.
It’s a Wonderful Life table read date
This year's It's a Wonderful Life table read takes place live one-night only virtual event on Sunday, December 11, at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT.
It's a Wonderful Life plot
Even if you've never seen the 1946 movie, there's a good chance that you are still familiar with the basic plot of It’s a Wonderful Life.
George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) plays a depressed businessman who begins to wonder if his family and friends wouldn't be better off without him one Christmas Eve. So, an angel (the excellently named, Clarence Odbody) comes down to show him what things would be like if he had never been born.
It's a premise that has been aped since by many TV series and movies, including Married … with Children, The Big Bang Theory and plenty more.
It's a Wonderful Life table read cast
Like year's past, an all-star cast of current actors and others are going to be taking on the iconic roles of George Bailey, Mary, Clarence and Mr. Potter.
Headlining the cast of the live read is Brendan Fraser. Best known for his roles in popular '90s movies like The Mummy, George of the Jungle and more, Fraser is having a career resurgence in 2022 with his movie The Whale, which many predict could result in the actor's first Oscar nomination. While no announcement has been made on who is playing who for the table read, it's pretty safe to assume that Fraser is playing the role of George Bailey.
Here are the other confirmed cast members for the table read:
- Seth Rogen
- Fred Armisen
- JK Simmons
- Jean Smart
- Ken Jeong
- Jim Beaver
- Brent Spiner
- Phil Lamarr
- Ben Mankiewicz
- Christina Applegate as Mary Bailey
- James Cromwell as Pa Bailey
- Sue Ann Pien as Violet
- Chelsea Darnell
- Dwayne Cox
- Max Gadson
- Spencer Harte
- Lucas Salusky
- Hannah Schindler
Tom Bergeron is hosting the event, which in addition to the table read features musical performances, a live interactive auction and live Q&A with the cast.
As part of the event, Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann are being recognized as honorees.
The Ed Asner Center has also announced that Jennifer Hudson is going to perform during the event, with what is being called "a surprise holiday classic tune during this year's musical intermission."
How to watch the It’s a Wonderful Life table read
To watch the It's a Wonderful Life table read, you must purchase a ticket for the event. Tickets require a minimum $30 donation (you can provide more if you wish) and are available to get online right now. The number of tickets available is limited.
How to watch It's a Wonderful Life
Whether you are inspired by the table read or just want to revisit this all-time classic, you can stream It's a Wonderful Life right now on Prime Video in the US and UK; it's also available for free (with ads) on Amazon Freevee in the UK.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.