Somewhere in the celestial skies, Jimmy Stewart is smiling and with good reason. The Sherman Community Players’ current production of “It’s A Wonderful Life” brings to the Finley Playhouse stage the very same touching story and characters that turned the 1946 movie starring the late Stewart into a beloved holiday classic.
For anyone who doesn’t know the plot of the story, here it is in brief. A young George Bailey sacrifices his own dreams of travel and career to take over his father’s building and loan business. He marries the girl next door and they have children. His honesty and kind heart earn him the respect of all in his small town with the exception of the greedy banker, Mr. Potter. When the evil Potter finds what he thinks is a sure fire way to destroy George’s business, it’s up to George’s guardian angel, Clarence, to keep the despairing George from jumping off the highest bridge he can find on Christmas eve.
I commend all of the cast members for a very good performance and also the wardrobe folks for great costuming. However, there were a few standouts that need some special recognition.
Jason Taylor plays the role of the lovable George Bailey. To say he took the stage would be putting it mildly. He completely owned his role and dominated (in a good way) the stage! He couldn’t have possibly been any more convincing than he was! I was sitting close enough that I even saw him actually crying in several of the play’s more emotional scenes. Talk about getting into a part. Had I not realized it was only a play, I’d have probably been donating money to his cause at the end, just like the other cast members.
The horrible Mr. Potter is portrayed to a tee by Burl Proctor. I know he’s a good man in real life, but he plays the role of a cruel, greedy scumbag so well that I’m not sure I can even shake his hand without cringing.
I think everybody needs a guardian angel like Clarence and an Uncle Billy if they could be as they were portrayed by Jerry Gundersheimer and Bruce Butler. Good job, guys!
Again, the entire cast did admirably, and the volunteers obviously did a superb job on the set, costuming and music.
Whether you’re already in the holiday spirit or need a little shove, don’t miss out on It’s A Wonderful Life. The performances will run through Dec. 16. For times and ticket information, contact the SCP box office at 903-892-8818.