11 ImageThere’s something about tradition that causes us to feel at home, even if we’re not in a city that is our original home. The Gilbert Theater understands how important tradition is to the community of Fayetteville and honors this by performing the production of “It’s A Wonderful Life” during the Christmas season. George Bailey’s story has been told on their stage for years, and it’s a production the community of Fayetteville not only anticipates but holds very dear. This year, the show opens Nov. 29 and runs through Dec. 22.

This classic film is a timeless story and, according to the play’s director, Nicki Hart, “The Gilbert transforms this beloved film into a beloved stage play. We make it unique, because of our stage and our theater. Our production goes hand-in-hand with the heartfelt quality that our actors bring to the performances every year.”

Hart points out that even though there was a large turn out during the audition process, she had to be mindful of who play the characters of George Bailey and Mary Hatch because as the two main characters, they carry the show. “The audience will see them have moments in their lives of happiness and joy, but also serious struggles. We watch George, who is loved by the town of Bedford Falls, go through such a struggle that he desperately tries to fix his problems himself. He feels the only way out of his problems is to end his own life. But the audience sees that when he calls on a greater force, who shows up in the form of an angel names Clarence, he inadvertently realizes he really does have a wonderful life.”

For returning audiences, they will see a lot of similar qualities from previous years’ performances. However, Assistant Director John Doerner, has the vision to express new ideas within this familiar story line to bring a newness and uniqueness to the production.

In fact, audiences of all ages can look forward to spending a few hours being transported to the town of Bedford Falls by way of the Gilbert Theater. They can look forward to experiencing a wide array of emotions as they watch the actors bring their characters to life in a way that is heartwarming. The story provides a reminder that family isn’t always those we are related to. That prayers matter and miracles happen. And that no matter what we are facing, when we change our perspective, we can truly see that we have a wonderful life.

The Gilbert Theater is located at 116 Green St. Performances for “It’s A Wonderful Life” are Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1, 6, 7, 8 and Dec. 20, 21, and 22. Times are 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. There are two student matinees – Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. and Dec. 9 at 10 a.m.. Tickets can be purchased at www.gilberttheater.com. Prices are $16 and $14 for students, military, first responders and seniors. Groups of 10 or more are $10. 

“It’s a Wonderful Life” opens at Gilbert Theater Nov. 29. Pictured above: Laurel Flom as Mary Hatch Bailey, Justin Toyer as George Bailey, Abigayle Hodges as Zuzu Bailey.


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