October 26, 2020, Santa Rosa, CA – The Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) Theatre Arts department celebrates the holidays with an online, musical interpretation of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Adaptor and lyricist John Shillington will direct the production inspired by Frank Capra’s 1946 film. Featuring an original score by the award-winning local artist Janis Dunson Wilson, this show is being presented as an antidote to our tumultuous times. “It’s a Wonderful Life,” debuts on YouTube Live, November 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Despite years of hard work and self-sacrifice, George Bailey is faced with financial ruin. He stands on a bridge contemplating suicide and wishes he had never been born. Guardian angel in training, Clarence, overhears George’s cry, grants the wish, and opens George’s eyes to all that would have been in a life without him.
“2020 has been a difficult year,” said director John Shillington, “and it’s easy to forget that it’s a wonderful life in spite of it all; politics, riots, Covid. This show is a fabulous reminder.”
The SRJC Theatre Arts department had originally planned to stage “It’s a Wonderful Life” in the newly remodeled Burbank Theatre. When they learned that school would be online this fall, they adapted and moved forward.
“We are excited to be doing a musical on Zoom,” said Shillington. “We’ve never seen anybody attempt it. We are boldly going where few have gone before.”
The musical numbers will be prerecorded and acting scenes will be done live, with each cast and crew member working individually from their homes. The production will have cohesive backgrounds created by scenic designer Peter Crompton. Costume design is by student Kira Catanzaro, and hair and makeup designs are by student Britt Kruljac. Digital direction is by Emily Hansen.
“I was looking for motivation in my life after losing so much these past few months,” said Alexx Valdez, who plays George’s angel. “Clarence is a role that exhibits all the best of what I strive to be. He believes in those around him and he does whatever he can to bring out the best in them. By playing him, I found my own guardian angel. Through him, I am finding my sparkle again.”
Kaela Mariano, a student at Technology High School plays the role of Violet. “At auditions, I was going for the role because her style of music is so different from the rest of the musical,” she said. “I knew the lyrics could only belong to her. Her jazz singing intrigues and inspires me. She is such a lively and unique character.”
- November 27, 28 at 7:30 p.m.
- December 4, 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for online performances will be sold as online donations at https://theatrearts.santarosa.edu.
Patrons will receive an email with the Online Performance Access Code and Instructions on the day of the show. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the SRJC campus is closed through spring 2021. The Box Office Manager is available during Box Office Hours: Wednesday through Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (707) 527-4307. Available by email one hour before curtain to field log-on questions. SRJCBoxOffice@santarosa.edu.
Noah Sternhill as George, Maryanne Boaz as Mary, and Alexx Valdez as Clarence. Photo by Thomas Chown. Photos available upon request.