It's A Wonderful Life
A New Musical Adaptation of Frank Capra's Classic Film and Winner of Seven 2013 PAMTA Awards
Book by Janet Mouser
Music and Lyrics by Michael Allen Harrison, Alan Berg and Julianne R. Johnson-Weiss
Directed by Tony Award Winner, Corey Brunish
Choreographed by Valarie Grudier-Edwards
Musical Direction by Jon Quesenberry
Performances November 21 through December 22, 2013 at Brunish Theatre at the Portland'5 Centers for the Arts.
A new musical adaptation of Frank Capra's classic film, It's A Wonderful Life. Nominated for numerous PAMTA’s, winner of seven and loved by audiences, Stumptown Stages’ original musical based on a holiday classic is back for it’s second season! This tale, of an angel who shows a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman what life would have been like if he never existed, is sure to warm the heart and bring holiday joy! Be sure to join us for this new Portland holiday tradition!
Sponsored by the Hedinger Family Foundation.
Click here for full cast and production information.
By Janet Mouser
Many American film classics have been adapted for the stage and It’s A Wonderful Life has had various straight play and musical adaptations, a radio version and even has an entire town that devotes a festival to Bedford Falls! It’s A Wonderful Life in itself, is another version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, brushed by Thornton Wilder’s Our Town with a bit of a fall into Dante’s Devine Comedy. You can’t keep a good story down, especially when it speaks strongly to so many hearts. Many enjoy Frank Capra’s film version every holiday season.
We certainly felt the “music” in the story, in its characters and in its time. With Portland’s talented composer, Michael Allen Harrison, Alan Berg and Julianne R. Johnson Weiss, leading George Bailey, our protagonist, musically through the highs and lows of his life journey, we knew we could create a musical adaptation that could be a beautifully shared experience with a live theatre audience performed by a talented cast and musicians.
Hollywood films have found their way to the stage, some successfully, others not. While researching the background of the film script I found that the likes of Dorothy Parker, Dalton Trumbo, and Clifford Odets all contributed pieces of the Capra film script—without credit. I like to think that this stellar team was watching over me as I adapted it for the stage. The challenge with It’s A Wonderful Life has been to encourage the audience’s imaginations while keeping the integrity of a beloved story intact, its pieces familiar. Important too, has been moving the show forward with music, dance, lighting, scenery and the structure of the scenes. I have been thankful, throughout this process to have the wonderful Stumptown creative team helping make the script come to life on the stage.
Theater truly is a collaborative process and always, no matter the ups or downs, and exciting one! With community and friendship both being important themes in this show, characters such a Bert and Ernie (You wondered where Sesame Street got those names!) and Clarence, our beloved angel second-class, stepped up to tell the story. We hope you will enjoy Stumptown Stages musical adaptation of It’s A Wonderful Life as much as I have enjoyed the journey in bringing this classic story to the Portland stage.