TATC WonderfulLife PotterBilly

Theatre at the Center’s Production of “A Wonderful Life: The Musical” is Delightful!

**** Highly Recommended ***** If you’re looking for a holiday-themed play for your family, one of the best choices anywhere would be Theatre at the Center’s delightful production of “A Wonderful Life: The Musical”. All of your favorite characters from the movie are here – and they’re singing! What can I say? It’s just not Christmas without George Bailey! “Wonderful Life: The Musical” gets 4 Holiday Spotlights!

Did you know? The first professional production of “Wonderful Life: The Musical” took place in 1988, right here in Indiana – at the Wagon Wheel Playhouse in Warsaw!

In heaven, the head angel, Joseph (Rick Rapp), gives Angel Second Class Clarence (David Perkovich), an opportunity to earn his wings by saving George Bailey. After showing Clarence key scenes in George’s life, Joseph sends him on his way.

You know the story – George Bailey (David Sajewich), who had big dreams, ended up staying in ‘good old’ Bedford Falls working at the Building and Loan and married to Mary Hatch (Allison Sill). The Building and Loan is apparently the only thing standing between a peaceful, prosperous Bedford Falls and the greedy schemes of Henry Potter (James Harms).

When Uncle Billy (Jim Heatherly) mislays an $8,000 deposit – which is surreptitiously snatched up by ‘Old Man Potter’ – George loses his cool, and pitches a fit. He yells at Uncle Billy, runs home and yells at Mary and his kids, then tries to throw himself in front of a train.

I guess I should mention that there are some things in the musical that are different from the movie and/or the play. George doesn’t rescue his brother from a frozen pond. He doesn’t stop Mr. Gower from making up a poisoned prescription. As a matter of fact, Mr. Gower doesn’t even appear in the musical. Harry (Henry McGinniss) and his date win the Charleston contest. Clarence actually pushes George out of the way of a speeding train.

Special moments in “A Wonderful Life: The Musical”:
• Clarence is too cute for words as he sings “Wings” with a chorus of angels.
• Jim Harms – who is actually a sweet man – playing the evil Potter
• The ensemble dancing the Charleston
• Tommy (Julian Solis) and Beth (Kylie Sullivan) playing and singing “Christmas Gifts”
• Zuzu (Liliana Rene) quoting teacher saying that when a bell rings, an angel gets his wings
• The entire cast singing “Auld Lang Syne” at the very end

“A Wonderful Life: The Musical” runs through December 23rd at Theatre at the Center, The Center for Visual & Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster. Parking is free. Running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes, with an intermission. Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 pm; Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 3:00 and 7:30 pm; Sundays at 2:30 pm; with performances on select Tuesday afternoons, Thursday and Sunday evenings. Dinner/Theatre packages are available December 7th and 15th. Tickets range from $40-$44. FYI (219) 836-3255 or www.theatreatthecenter.com.

Read all of my reviews at www.spotlightonlake.com.