Have you ever experienced the lack of holiday spirit during the holidays? The missing of Christmas magic in the midst of the Christmas season?
That giddy, feel good magic of Christmas past is something I was lacking this year. My calendar showed Christmas was coming, the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers were everywhere; yet, somehow, it just did not feel like Christmas to me. Thankfully, I found a dose of Holiday cheer at Brigham’s Playhouse.
It’s a Wonderful Life is one of my favorite stories. Not only for its Christmas message but its message of love, hope, and community. While it is set at Christmastime, the story is one that offers the viewer optimism and gratitude for any day of the year.
Brigham’s Playhouse has been a reliable source of entertainment and recharge for me this year. This little gem of a theater offers the community quality productions with every show. Often, I am so busy it feels like taking time out for enjoyment is taking up time I should be doing something else. However, every show I have attended has allowed me to walk out of the theater feeling inspired, lighter and more refreshed than when I entered. I have come to recognize the time spent there as beneficial to my mind and soul.
The evening was perfectly set, there was a bitter cold wind blowing as we arrived which made the warmth of the theater especially appreciated to get into. Inside, the warmth of smiles from staff and a packed house eliminated the chills completely. I continually find a welcome sense of community celebration at Brigham’s Playhouse. Even with people I have never met, I feel a connection in the experience. You can sincerely feel the difference at Brigham’s Playhouse.
I enjoy the interaction before the shows at Brigham’s Playhouse. Generally, Jamie Young, Executive Producer, greets the crowd, thanks sponsors and does some prize drawings. It is a great way in which to solidify the audience and offers a unique family feel. In addition, the comfort level seems to melt away the outside world further. By the time the show starts, you find yourself present in the moment. On this night, Dale Hoopes took the reigns in this role and was a natural. He was entertaining and engaging allowing the audience to come together as we prepared to watch the show.
From the introduction, the charm pulled me completely into the story. Steve Campbell was the perfect Clarence. His portrayal was innocent and serious, at the same time. I could feel his concern over both George Bailey and equally his desire to do an outstanding job as a guardian angel. In fact, he was so dead on believable, I will likely use his performance to measure all future characterizations of the role.
Dale Hoopes, played the part of George Bailey. His timing and delivery was remarkable. The emotion and conflict of his character was believably felt. Being such a well loved story and having revered Jimmy Stewart’s portrayal of this role has made it a little difficult to watch others play it without being a little disappointed. Hoopes eliminated my concerns and minds criticism–he delivered with authority and made me feel I was watching George Bailey interact with his community. I could sense the turmoil he was going through and found myself empathetic for his situation.
George Warren played such an impressive Potter I could not help but hate the character but love the performance. I found myself loathing him and having to restrain myself from yelling out at him. Playing the bad guy is not always the easiest and generally there is some redeeming quality to be found. Not with Potter–he was rotten to the core!
Several others contributed significantly to making the show an extraordinary experience. The charisma and ability to work strongly together shows through the effortless interactions of the cast. Many familiar Brigham’s Playhouse faces along with many new ones demonstrated the dynamics behind the scenes in coming together in such a flawless manner. There truly is a stellar working relationship that exists in the cast obvious in each production. The period perfect costumes and a well created set offered the right illusion of watching something out of the 1940’s.
However, It’s a Wonderful Life offers a timeless message. It settles well as much today as it did nearly 70 years ago. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons I enjoy Brigham’s Playhouse so much and why it is such a loved experience. The productions have bearing on current life and allow me to walk away with things to contemplate. I enjoy the thoughts afterwards as much as the productions themselves.
There are only a few productions left for It’s a Wonderful Life. And, they have been selling out or nearing it on most every showing. But, if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you jump at it and see it before it ends.
While you are at it, consider looking over the lineup coming for 2017. There are many exceptional productions to look forward to–I know I am.
Performances run Thursday through Saturday at 7 pm, with a matinee performance at 2 pm on Saturdays through December 31. Tickets are available at their website,www.brighamsplayhouse.com, or by visiting or calling their Playhouse box office.
For more information about Brigham’s Playhouse, please visitwww.brighamsplayhouse.com or call 435.251.8000. Box Office hours are Tuesday-Friday 2 pm-7 pm; and Saturday 12 pm-7 pm.
25 North 300 West
Washington, UT 84780
About Brigham’s Playhouse:
Brigham’s Playhouse believes in the power of live theatre and its ability to provide audiences and performing artists with life-changing experiences. They are located at CottonTown Village in Washington, Utah (just across from Star Nursery on Telegraph Rd., next to Red Barn). This is the third season for the Playhouse, which was founded in 2014 by the Young and Knapp families.