By: Michelle Kinsey—
Muncie, Indiana— “No man is a failure who has friends.”
That simple, angelic statement from “It’s a Wonderful Life” is exactly why Muncie Civic Theatre chose it as this year’s holiday production.
“What this story portrays so beautifully and timelessly is that it is the power of the relationships that George has that really makes his life worth living,” said Laura Williamson, director of the production and Civic’s Executive Director.
“When he realizes that, we all get to share in that experience. It is the people in our lives that are the most important thing, and not our jobs. Not the things we normally say define us. This time of year, this is such a beautiful reminder.”
Muncie Civic Theatre will present “It’s a Wonderful Life” on the main stage Dec. 7-9, 13-16, and 20-22. Performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday matinees will begin at 2:30 p.m. The Sensory Friendly Performance will be 2:30 p.m. Dec. 8.
Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for groups of 10 or more, and $13 for students and children. For tickets or more information, call 288-PLAY or go to www.munciecivic.org.
Based on the classic Frank Capra film, “It’s a Wonderful Life” follows George Bailey, who has given up hope until his guardian angel forces him to confront a world in which he doesn’t exist.
Live music was added to this production to honor the original film, released in 1946. It will underscore about 75 percent of the show, Williamson noted.
The story takes place in the fictional town of Bedford Falls, but two weeks into the rehearsals, Williamson noticed several similarities to a place very close to home.
“It is, in many ways, like Muncie,” she said. “Both are small towns with big hearts.”
But like Bailey, many young people feel this “is a nice place to grow up but not a place to make your life,” she added. “We see first-hand here that it’s not difficult to get professional people to work here, but it is sometimes difficult to get them to live in Muncie, to truly make Muncie their home.”
She said she hopes the production inspires a “greater awareness of the importance of the town you live in and your neighbors.”
Perhaps the set design will help. Williamson chose historic photos of Muncie buildings in the 1940s as the setting of Bedford Falls – The Hotel Roberts, the Boyce Block (where Muncie Civic Theatre is located), St. Lawrence Church and more.
She said the recent restoration efforts at the theater and the Boyce Block “opened my eyes to the great pride we should have in our town, in our historic buildings, in our history.”
And our community members. The cast, Williamson noted, is a great mix of community members of all ages, some returning to the stage after some time away and some newcomers, including Jim Needham, Jason Newman (Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie) and Scott Smalstig (Meridian Health Services), who will appear on stage for the first time with his daughter, Athena.
The production is made possible through support by:
Dennis, Wenger, and Abrell: Attorneys at Law
The Jar Community Church
Adolescent and Pediatric Dentistry: Dr. Michael Musal
University Dermatology Clinic
Wilhoite Family Dental