P O W E L L, W y o. - The community of Powell is taking time out from the global economic crisis and world turmoil to indulge in a few hours of feel-good fun with a stage presentation of "It's a Wonderful Life" Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5 and 6.
More than 40 Powell community members and Northwest College students from Wyoming, Montana and South America will stage the classic holiday favorite at 7:30 p.m. both nights in the Nelson Performing Arts Center Auditorium.
Because the Friday performance kicks off Powell's Country Christmas celebration, a few extra-special components will be added to opening night. Early arrivers will be greeted by NWC choirs caroling in front of the Nelson Performing Arts Center from 6:45-7:15 p.m., and during intermission hot cocoa and cookies will be served in the lobby.
The stage play for "It's a Wonderful Life," written by James W. Rodgers, is based on the film by Frank Capra and the story by Philip Van Doren Stern. The Powell production is directed by Fred Ebert, a visiting instructor in speech communications and forensics.
"This is our opportunity to bring the story back to life with the people in our community," Ebert said. "As a community production (sponsored by the NWC Persuaders), we have people from all walks of life as actors, stage hands, costumers and associates involved in the production. The numbers keep growing. I feel truly honored to work with such a fine group of students, townsfolk and children.
"At this time of year and at this time in our lives with all of the economic turmoil, strife and change in the world, it's important to remember those things that are most dear to us. I think this play helps. I look forward to seeing everyone at the production."
Nelson Fees of Cody plays the part of George Bailey, the Bedford Falls hero who contemplates suicide when he thinks his life has been a failure. Fees reprises the role Jimmy Stewart played in the 1946 film version. Clarence Odbody, an angel second class trying to earn his wings by saving Bailey, is played by Thain Bertin of Colstrip, Mont.
With Clarence's guidance, Bailey gets a chance to see what life in Bedford Falls would be like if he hadn't been born. As he travels back in time observing a dark and unhappy alternative, he realizes "It's a Wonderful Life" after all, a notion that's confirmed when the townsfolk band together later to help save Bailey's business from bankruptcy.
Admission to "It's a Wonderful Life" is $5.