Gateway musical brings classic holiday film to the stage

It's A Wonderful Life will hit the stage from Dec. 6 to 31

Have you ever wondered what the world would have looked like if you weren’t born?

George Bailey had the chance to try this and found out that the world is not as wonderful as the one with him.

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Bailey is the main character of Gateway Theatre’s new production, It’s A Wonderful Life, a brand new musical adaption from the classic American Christmas film of the same name released in 1946.

It’s a story about a man who feels like his life has been wasted and gets to a crisis point where he considers committing suicide. An angel shows up and gives him an opportunity to see what the world would have looked like if he hadn’t been there.

“It reminds him of all the lives he has touched and how he has changed all those lives for the better,” said Greg Armstrong-Morris, who plays the role of the Angel.

“It also reminds the audience of how important we are to each other and how important community is. It’s a very nice show to watch during Christmas time.”

The director and writer of the show, Peter Jorgensen, adapted the original story into a musical, using the music from the 1920s through to the 1940s when the story was set, bringing the audience back to in time.

“The music is gorgeous, the script is great, and the people are fantastic. I’ve had a fantastic time working on the show,” said Armstrong-Morris.

Compared to other shows he was part of, Armstrong-Morris said what makes this show special is the “heart in the story and how warm and positive the story is.

“It’s such an open-hearted show. It just pours out to the audience, this love, for one and another,” he said.

Performing a classic story that’s familiar to many can be challenging, but Armstrong said the musical will create a very different experience for audiences who have watched the film

“We’ve had the chance to find out our own versions of those characters and make our own, while staying true to the story, and all the music we use makes a big difference,” he said.

“I think they will come in with those memories of the movie and then this story is going to carry them to another place.”

Armstrong-Morris said when the audience watches a show in the theatre, they are in the same space where the story is being told, which is very different from the experience of watching a film.

“It just lifts you right into it, you become very much a part of it and the story becomes very very present for you. You really have no choice but to get actively involved as part of the story,” he said.

It’s A Wonderful Life is produced by Gateway Theatre with the support of Patrick Street Productions. It will hit the stage from Dec. 6 to 31. This will be the first time the theatre adaption is performed in the Lower Mainland, after touring other cities in Canada.

For more information, check www.gatewaytheatre.com.

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