Local ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ production holds valor

Joe Conrad (left) and Jacob Crawford (center) and other local actors perform a scene from the stage adaption of “It’s A Wonderful Life” on Saturday, Nov. 30 at Mount Pleasant’s Broadway Theater, 216 E. Broadway St.


The past weekend brought in the Christmas spirit for Mount Pleasant when a local production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” was performed at the Broadway Theater.

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” the stage adaption of Frank Capra’s 1946 classic film, premiered Nov. 30 and will be performed again Dec. 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 2 p.m.

“It went really well last weekend,” said senior Jacob Crawford, who plays the main role of George Bailey. “We had a huge crowd Saturday. It was a little dead Sunday.”

Play director Mark Carpenter said that he has been wanting to do this show for a long time. After checking the local area, he found that there had been no productions of “It’s a Wonderful Life” in recent history and decided to do something that, while new to the area, had a solid and familiar audience.

“It’s a holiday show, you can’t be disappointed in it,” house manager Phil Mikus said.

Although acting in a production may seem effortless to an audience, the result requires hard work and weeks of rehearsals.

Mount Pleasant junior Katie Crane said that her role as Mary Hatch-Bailey required four nights a week of rehearsals for the past three weeks to overcome initial memorization struggles. This rehearsing was intensified by the lack of official crew.

The production team was challenged with a time constraint including approximately 49 scene changes without a stage crew.

“For the most part actors make the scene changes,” Carpenter said of the unusual practice, arguing that it was necessary with a small backstage cramped with more than 23 actors.

Another challenge for the production was the commitment of a few actors.

“There were a few flaky people who didn’t show up for practice. That was a big bump in the road for us,” said Crane.

To make up for an absent actor, the director decided to have actors play double roles with new costumes. This was clearly noticeable with  the roles of George and Mary’s mothers.

Despite the obstacles, Crawford and Crane said that the best part of the production was making new friends and a continued flare for acting.

Passionate actors can intrigue an audience and Crawford said that he would encourage fresh faces to see the production because seeing a live performance is a unique experience. Crane said that this particular production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” carries value as well.

“I think the show has a good message too,” Crane said. “No matter how bad you feel about yourself, you’re never alone, you always have your friends who love you.