A Wonderful Life

"A Wonderful Life: The Musical" runs through Dec. 23 at Theatre at the Center.

Photo by Michael Brosilow

A holiday favorite comes to life in a new rendition on stage in Munster.

"A Wonderful Life: The Musical" is currently bringing the festive spirit to audience members through Dec. 23.

The production, directed by Bill Pullinsi, is based on the Frank Capra film about a desperate George Bailey, who searches for life's meaning during the Yuletide season.

Fans of the 1946 Capra masterpiece will find a few differences in this theatrical production. The fact that it's a musical may, at first, jar some fans.

And those with a love for musicals definitely will anticipate hearing the score of this seasonal favorite. This score, with music by Joe Raposo and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, however, while featuring diverse musical styles, doesn't really contain any standout numbers. The tunes aren't really those one would leave humming or singing a few days after hearing them.

Aside from the nondescript score, the production stands out for the cast's acting skills. "A Wonderful Life: The Musical" stars David Sajewich as George Bailey and Allison Sill as his wife, Mary. Sajewich and Sill are strong talents who dramatically help make this heartwarming tale come to life.

Others in the cast who offer up skilled performances are James Harms, who stars as the gruff Mr. Potter, and David Perkovich as the charming and humorous "angel" Clarence. Both Harms and Perkovich have starred extensively on the Chicago theatrical scene.

Additional cast members include Jim Heatherly, Jason Richards, Neil Friedman, James Nedrud, Henry McGinniss, Caron Buinis and others.

Fans of the story also will be surprised with some of the character/name changes and plot switches. One of the charming aspects of this rendition is the cast singalong of a favorite holiday tune at the production's end.

FYI: "A Wonderful Life: The Musical" runs through Dec. 23 at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster. Tickets range from $40 to $44. A dinner/theater event will be held Dec. 7 and 15 in conjunction with the play. Dinner is at 5:30 p.m. with show at 7:30 p.m. A pre-show special holiday dinner buffet will be located across from the theater lobby. Cost is $58 (plus tax) for dinner and show. Call 219-836-3255 or visit TheatreAtTheCenter.com.

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Features reporter

Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.