Review: It’s A Wonderful Life at Cheyenne’s Atlas Theatre

Cheyenne Little Theatre Players are performing the Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life every weekend at the Atlas Theatre from November 30 to December 16, 2018.

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George Bailey (Blake Dorris) wanted nothing more than to get out of the podunk town in which he was born and raised, Bedford Falls. But he was thwarted at every turn…not so much because he couldn‘t get out, but because he wouldn’t when he had his chances because his family needed him, or the town needed him.

He’s spent the last several years fulfilling his father’s legacy and standing up for the poverty-stricken townspeople against the wealthy Henry F. Potter’s machinations…but on this particular Christmas Eve, everything has started crashing down around his ears and Bailey can see only one way out to save his family.

But Angel-in-Training Second Class Clarence Odbody thinks there’s a better way…

George Bailey is ready to leave Bedford Falls to see the world...

George Bailey is ready to leave Bedford Falls to see the world… Paul SAndler (Mr. Gower), Blake Dorris (George Bailey), Dale Williams (Uncle Billy) and Leslie Swidecki (Aunt Tilly)

Director Nancy Stange has assembled a wonderful cast for the CLTP’s production of It’s A Wonderful Life. Adapted from the classic Frank Capra movie starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, it’s a feel-good slice of Americana that’s just right for the holidays or indeed, any time of year.

The play opens with George Bailey and Angel 2nd Class Clarence standing on top of a bridge…a bridge from which George Bailey is gathering his nerve to jump. The bridge always remains in our thoughts because while George descends to join the action, Clarence is there, observing and sometimes cheering on the action below.

Freya Butterfield is a joy as Clarence, eager to gain angel’s wings but also to save George and defeat the monstrous Mr. Potter, played by John Lyttle with matter-of-fact, business-like evil.

Dale Williams amuses as the innocent and ultimately incompetent Uncle Billy, Jonathan Quinlan plays a variety of roles with aplomb including that of Sam Wainwright, a childhood friend of George’s who earned a fortune when he left Bedford Falls, and as George’s brother, the war hero Harry Bailey.

Blake Dorris as George Bailey and Jocelyn Petersen as Mary Hatch (and the future Mrs. Bailey) have a good chemistry together, but ultimately the show does belong to Dorris, especially during the last few anxiety-ridden scenes where he finds out just what would have happened to his family and friends if he gets his wish to never have been born at all.

It’s a Wonderful Life is perhaps a bittersweet story – but it’s an uplifting one as well.

The savings & loan manages to stay open right til 6 pm, and the town is saved!

The savings & loan manages to stay open right til 6 pm, and the town is saved! Lesle Swidecki (Aunt Tilly), Dale Williams (Uncle Billy), Jocelyn Petersen (Mary Hatch) and Blake Dorris (George Bailey)

The Cast

George Bailey Blake Dorris
Clarence Odbody Freya Butterfield
Henry F. Potter John Lyttle
Mary Hatch Jocelyn Peterson
Mr. Gower/Goon Paul Sandler
Violet Peterson Serenity Jones
Mother Bailey Jamie Hilbert
Mrs. Thompson Rebecca Fredrickson
Aunt Tilly Leslie Swidecki
Uncle Billy/Mr. Welch Dale Williams
Bert Katie Craver
Ernie Anabelle Xanthos
Miss Andrews Jessica Williams
Mr. Potter’s Secretary Sequoia Nelson
Mrs. Hatch/ Miss Carter Andi Jaspersen
Mrs. Martini Raven Coward-Long
Martini’s children Rain Long, Rionne Nelson, Cian Turner
Sam Wainwright/Harry Bailey/Mr. Martini Jonathan Quinlan
Tommy Bailey Kai Jasperson
Zuzu Bailey Khloe Wilson
Janie Bailey Jonathan Quinland
Pete Bailey Phoenix Turner
Young George/ Newspaper boy Cameron Sutton

Production Team

Director Nancy Stange
Assistant Director Hannah Cooper
Stage Manager Heidi Teasley
Mentor Director/Fight Choreographer Justin Batson
Set Designer Jeff Tish
Costume Designer Connie Skoetsch
Seamstresses Connie Skoetsch, Paige Bredenkamp, Karen Jensen, Becky Ward, Jessica Williams and Sharon McMurry
Lighting Designer Travis Kirchhefer
Lighitng Operator Julia Van Dyke
Sound Designer/Sound Operator Keefe Van Dyke
Set Construction Cast, Crew, Maria Thompson, Jeff Tish, John Lyttle, the Nelson/Turner family
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