This December, Albany Civic Theater (ACT) brings to the stage the classic Christmas story It’s a Wonderful Life. The story follows a small-town boy, George Bailey, who sacrifices all of his big dreams to care for his family and friends through the roaring 20s, the Great Depression, and World War II. We watch as George falls in love with his childhood sweetheart Mary Bailey (née Hatch), takes over the family business, and fights against the cruel Mr. Potter, who is trying to buy out the town—all while dreaming of exploring the world. After a terrible accident at work, George is left wondering if his life has any meaning, when the very peculiar angel Clarence comes down to show George the great value his life has (all in an effort to earn his wings).
The iconic characters George and Mary Bailey are portrayed by Josh and Holly Mitchell, who are married off stage, and bring the character’s love to life. Much like the Baileys, their first home together was on Sycamore Street. Their son Quentin Mitchell, 6, portrays the young Tommy Bailey, making it a family affair. When asked if he liked acting with his parents, Quentin said, “It’s easy enough, because my real mom is playing my mom, and my real dad is playing my dad.”
From the town miser Mr. Potter (Eric Czernowski) to the lovable Italian bar owner Giuseppe Martini (Jason Howell), Albany Civic Theater brings to life the diverse town of Bedford Falls, New York. The show has a simple set, but a large cast of 45, and characters ranging from young children to senior citizens. Actors and crew have been working hard with rehearsals for over two months. Curtis Allen, 13, who plays the young George Bailey, said “It’s a lot of pressure to be playing such a beloved character; however, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.” Playing a character that grows up is a unique experience for any actor, but McKenna Mills, 12, who portrays the young Mary Hatch said, “It’s fun, because you get to see what your character will turn out to be like.”
Directed by Corvallisite Jackie Tasker, this show is a must-see to ring in the holiday season. A show for the whole family, performances will run Friday, Dec. 6, Saturday, Dec. 7, and Thursdays to Saturdays, Dec. 12 to 14 and Dec. 19 to 21 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets can be reserved in advance through Sid Stevens Jewelers in Albany and Winestyles in Corvallis, or can be purchased at the door. Tickets are $12 general admission or $9 for juniors or seniors. Advance reservations are suggested.