It’s Showtime! Award-Winning Director Regina Belt-Daniels Talks ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ at Elgin Theatre Company

By Rikki Lee Travolta

Regina Belt-Daniels is one of the top theatrical directors focused on Chicago’s northwest suburbs. In 2022, she won the Life and Times Heartstrings Award for her brilliant direction of “I Hate Hamlet” at Elgin Theatre Company.

I had the great fortune of being in the cast of “I Hate Hamlet.” It was, in all honesty, one of the most talented assemblies of actors I have had the joy of performing with. The talented players included David Gasior, Trace Gamache, Travis Greuel, Alison Thomas Hage, and Karen Mayberry Greuel.

Gina now returns to Elgin Theatre Company to direct “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.” In celebration, Gina joins “It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee” to discuss the new production that runs November 10 through November 19, 2023, at Elgin Art Showcase.

“It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee” started as a local radio show in 2017, and is now ranked as a worldwide top entertainment news podcast available on all major apps. The half-hour weekly interview program serves as a backstage pass to the world of entertainment including theater, film, television, music, dance, comedy, and literature.

Other recent episodes include interviews with film and television star Jesse Borrego, jazz songstress Susannah B, rockers Alex Grossi and Rudy Sarzo of the mega band Quiet Riot, and famed Sherlock Holmes author James Patrick Heatherly. Theatre-specific topics include recent conversations with Skokie Theatre managing director Wayne Mell, acclaimed costume designer Patty Halajian, and performers Kaity Paschetto and Tony Calzaretta.

To listen to the newest episode visit:

On this new episode soaked in seasonal cheer, Gina and I wax poetic about the history and virtues of the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” film starring Jimmy Stewart and the special differences that make this live radio play production so worth seeing.

As a part of the intrigue, the Elgin Theatre Company production of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” features an onstage foley artist and an award-worthy art deco set by acclaimed scenic designer Barry Norton.

Gina has a long and celebrated directing career. Based out of Chicago’s northwest suburbs, Gina’s resume includes recent productions with Crystal Lake’s three professional theater programs: Williams Street Rep. at the Raue Center, Right Center Left Production Company (RCLPC) which produces dinner theater, and The Black Box Theatre at McHenry County College which balances a slate of professional and educational productions.

The cast of “It’s a Wonderful Life” features the acting talents of John Mayhall, Jim Pierce, William Athow, Gordy Whiting, Audrey Gniech, Brian Rabinowitz, Paul Lockwood, Dwight Brown, Jami Johnson, Devon Ortiz, Shirley May Byrnes, Sebastian Rus, Teagan Nauman, and Rhys Read. Sign language interpretation is by Andrew Ross.

Tune in to “It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee” this week to hear my chit-chat with Regina Belt-Daniels, then make plans to attend “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” adapted by playwright Joe Landry.

All performances take place at Elgin Art Showcase, located at 164 Division Street, 8th Floor, in Elgin, IL. For ticket information to Elgin Theatre Company’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” from producer Richard Greiger go to ⁠⁠ or call Elgin Theatre Company at (847) 741-0532.

Peace. Love. Trust.

Rikki Lee Travolta

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