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Church to present 'It's a Wonderful Life'

George and Mary Bailey, the despicable Mr. Potter and other familiar Bedford Falls residents will bring four "olde time" radio stage performances of "It's a Wonderful Life" to Centenary United Methodist Church Thursday through Dec. 9.

The church will host a cast of area actors and church members to bring Frank Capra's film classic to the stage.

The story follows George Bailey from a teenager with big dreams to a man who wishes he was never born. Clarence the Angel, a guardian angel trying to earn his wings, shows how Bedford Falls and everyone George knows would suffer if he had never been born. Those revelations lead to a triumph of faith and spirit.

Performed as a radio show, the cast reads from scripts and voices various characters, said director Martha McCartney.

"You can hear the excitement and terror in the voices," she said. The addition of special lighting, music and sound effects help bring the story to life. 

The cast will wear very simple 1930s- and 1940s-era dress, but the costumes are not really needed. "You can close your eyes and visualize," she said, explaining that listening to radio shows "for me, it is a part of my youth. It was how you got your news. There were only three TV stations and TV wasn't in every home. We're trying to keep the (olde time radio show) genre going."

This a family-friendly show. An entire family is in the cast and members of the church family have embraced the play too, McCartney said. 

Mandee and Blake Thomas are Mary and George Bailey and their children, Julianne (JuJu) is Zuzu and Jake is Petey Bailey and Young George Bailey. Blake's mother, Marsha Thomas, plays Cousin Tilly, she said. Victor Leary is Mr. Potter, Phil Jones is Uncle Billy and Helen Riley is the Superintendent of Angels and announcer. Clarence the Angel is played by head Pastor Robert Gorrell and the bank examiner is played by associate Pastor Brandon Dollarhite. 

The Lawton Constitution

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