The current production at Bishop Hendricken High School is the traditional holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life." It is a series of 30 vignettes which tells the story of George Bailey, a good man who stumbles upon some difficult times and in a true act of desperation is given the chance to observe the value of his own life by his guardian angel, Clarence. George finds out "no man is a failure who has friends." For years the family run business, The Bailey Brothers Building and Loan had been an asset to the small community of Bedford Falls, offering loans to ordinary people of good character when the bank wouldn't consider them. However the Building and Loan has been a thorn in the side of nasty and mean Mr. Potter who wants to control all commerce in town. The defeat of this insidious creature is wonderful to behold and director Richie Sylvia molds his huge cast into these folks from the past. He mixes the dramatic and comic moments together beautifully insuring the audience leaps to their feet to cheer George Bailey's success at realizing that it is wonderful life after all.
Richie has a topnotch chorus singing in between some of the scenes. Peter Mancuso is fabulous as the older George. He shows the inner warmth and caring of the character in his concern for his family. Peter captures the hearts of the audience with his sincerity. He also handles the comic moments with ease. The younger George played by Brendan Lawrence displays his acting skills and tugs at your heartstrings when he saves the local druggist, Mr. Gower well played by Matt Beune from accidentally poisoning a young boy with the wrong medication.
Another winning performance is by Dylan Silveira as Clarence the Angel who finally wins his wings by saving George's life. His lovable and whimsical character saves the day and endears himself to the audience beautifully. Julianna Fielding plays George's true love,Mary Hatch Bailey, George's wife and Sophie Gregory is very good as Violet, the neighbor girl who has her eye on George. The Bailey's four children are well played by Brendan Lawrence, Dearmid Harkin, Cassandra and Charlotte Beune. Catrina Fielding and Jillian Devanney play the girls at alternate shows. George's heroic brother Harry is wonderfully portrayed by Kevin Madoin while Michael Villaneuva shines as the forgetful Uncle Billy who misplaces the money. The evil and dasterdly Mr. Potter is marvelously played by Joey Ianuccelli. He is so despicable and horrible and delivers a very convincing performance. The second act is very poignant when all of George's friends chip him to help him out of his financial problem and "Auld Lang Syne" brings a tear to your eye at the close of the show. So for a fun filled Christmas show that isn't a "Christmas Carol", be sure to catch "It's A Wonderful Life" at Hendricken High School.