MIDLAND, PA – This holiday season, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center will treat local theater audiences to a family-friendly live version of the treasured holiday film It’s A Wonderful Life, December 1 through December 17 in the Black Box Theater.
Originally scheduled for six performances, eight weekend, evening and matinee performances have been added due to the overwhelming demand.
Justin Fortunato, Lincoln Park Artistic Producing Director, calls the play a story of redemption that resonates with young and old.
“It’s a Wonderful Life has become the American ‘Christmas Carol,’ an inspirational take that families share as an anticipated annual event,” he said. “We invite everyone to experience the true spirit of the season with this unique opportunity to see one of the big screen’s most classic and cherished gems come to life.”
The play is adapted from the film It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra and starring actors Donna Reed and James Stewart. Premiering at the Globe Theatre in New York on December 20, 1946, and going into general release on January 7, 1947, the film was the first produced by Capra and Samuel J. Briskin’s independent motion picture production company Liberty Films.
The Boston Globe called the stage version “magic … a ‘wonderful’ night at the theater.” Broadway World said that “It’s a Wonderful Life” is “a fantastic show for all ages.”
It’s a Wonderful Life is based on Philip Van Doren Stern’s unpublished short story The Greatest Gift (1939), which came to the attention of Hollywood in 1943 after Van Doren Stern enclosed 200 copies of the story with his Christmas cards. The film’s eventual distributor RKO Radio Pictures optioned the story for $10,000 as a vehicle for actor Cary Grant, but, after three versions of the script were shelved, the rights to produce the film were sold to Capra and Liberty for the original option price.
“The holiday season is a time when we as a community can come together and share in meaningful experiences with the ones we love,” said Fortunato. “We are thrilled to provide two great productions that captivate the imagination through inventive and powerful storytelling for all ages.”
At Lincoln Park, the cast of 41 features Slippery Rock Dominic Skeele, a 12th grader at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School , as George Bailey, 12th grader Cassidy Spirk from Cranberry as Mary Hatch/Bailey, 12th grader from Chicora Cody Nagle as Clarence Odbody, 11th grader Paul Fulciniti from Burgettstown as Uncle Billy, 11th grader Zane Gagliardi from Butler as Harry Bailey, 12 th grader Zack Mitrecic from Beaver Falls as the villain Henry F, Potter, and 5th grader Madison Siget from Baden as Zuzu Bailey.
It’s a Wonderful Life is regarded as a classic American film – the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in its National Film Registry in 1990. The movie also tops the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 most inspiring films of all time “100 Years…100 Cheers” and remains near the top of AFI’s list of the 100 greatest American movies of all time “100 Years… 100 Movies” (#11 in 1998 and #20 in 2007). Film writers and historians attribute It’s a Wonderful Life’s high regard and continued popularity to the tradition during the 1970s and 80s of television and cable companies airing the movie repeatedly during the Christmas season.
Because of the popular demand, tickets are limited at $20 and $15 and are available by calling (724) 576-4644 (option 2 for the box office) or online at www.LincolnParkArts.org.
Performances dates and times:
Friday and Saturday, December 1 and 2 at 7:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3 at 2:00 pm
Thursday, December 7 at 7:30 pm
Friday and Saturday, December 8 and 9 at 7:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday, December 9 and 10 at 2:00 pm
Thursday, December 14 at 7:30 pm
Friday and Saturday, December 15 and 16 at 7:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday, December 16 and 17 at 2:00 pm
About Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center
The region’s premier arts-and-education destination, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center is located in a serene park setting in Midland (Beaver County) Pennsylvania. The Center is home to the renowned Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School and creates authentic real-world learning opportunities for young people by offering high-quality, professionally produced musicals, plays, concerts, dance and ballet performances, readings, and exhibits for patrons of all ages.
Its 2017 – 2018 Subscription Series includes Mary Poppins, James and the Giant Peach Jr., It’s A Wonderful Life, The Nutcracker, The Great Gatsby, Sleeping Beauty Dance Upon A Dream, Big Fish and Ragtime. More information is available at www.LincolnParkArts.org.