"It Could Have Been A Wonderful Life" is a hilarious send-up of all things show biz. Fred Raker, Phil Resnick's alter ego and a former writer for the "Tonight Show," is considered by insiders to be one of the finest impressionists performing today. During the course of the play, Fred skillfully inhabits the body and soul of two dozen characters including Woody Allen, Jackie Mason and a host of others both famous and not yet famous. Some enjoy the play simply for its comic pleasures. Others appreciate the serious undertone of a show that explores questions of identity and values in Hollywood.
What it's about: Failed stand-up comedian Phil Resnick leaves Hollywood for Syracuse, New York and a job at the local public TV station. While hosting a senior talent show - "Star Search: The Next Generation" -- Phil finds the success that eluded him in California. But a comedian friend's stardom in the network show "What's Up With That, America?" causes Phil to think he's a failure again.
"Fred Raker's 25-in-one-man show charts the despair of aspiring Jewish comedian Phil Resnick, who winds up pigeonholed on public television while the life he could have had goes to an Anglo American-ized colleague, the host of TV's What's Up with That, America? The crisis provokes a little divine intervention by Phil's guardian angel, Jack Benny. Based on Raker's own brush with stardom as well as the Capra classic, this very funny solo performance cleverly weaves Jewish identity and self-doubt into nothing less than a wonderful 75 minutes. A gifted mimic and comedy writer, Raker has created characterizations that are a treat from beginning to end. Director Kimberly Richards, with fine comic instincts of her own, seems a perfect collaborator. And while the premise plays with the "foreignness" of a Jewish version of the all-American Christmas movie, there are only a few lines that might escape the goyim in the audience. In fact, the familiar Yiddishisms coming from the likes of Benny, Woody Allen, Jackie Mason – those who've made Jewish humor a national inheritance – amply demonstrate the catholic appeal of this self-styled "Hanukkah classic." - San Francisco Bay Guardian