Theater Students Assemble Upcoming Production of It’s A Wonderful Life

by Andrea Palmieri

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Stephanie Maestre and Noah Levin get into character for rehearsals during Musical Theater. Levin and Maestre were elected as George Bailey and Violet Peterson for the cast of It's a Wonderful Life. Photo by Andrea Palmieri
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Stephanie Maestre and Noah Levin get into character for rehearsals during Musical Theater. Levin and Maestre were elected as George Bailey and Violet Peterson for the cast of It’s a Wonderful Life. Photo by Andrea Palmieri

Winter at West Broward is never complete without a production from the Drama department. This year the talented students of Musical Theater and Drama Club are bringing in the holiday spirit with the Christmas classic, It’s A Wonderful Life. 

   The Drama Club and musical theater class ended the 2018-2019 school year with one of their most successful productions yet, My Fair Lady. This year, they are hoping for an even more substantial turnout for their upcoming play on Dec. 12 to 14. 

   “The play is a beautiful holiday classic, fit for a family-friendly evening,” said musical theater and drama instructor Amy Nesmith. “The cast will be bringing an unexpected twist for the audience by incorporating music into the show while still retaining the original content of the script.”

   It’s A Wonderful Life is a story about a man named George Bailey losing hope on Christmas day when a guardian angel, Clarance, appears and shows him the positive impact he has had on others. It is displayed in flashbacks of the protagonist’s significant moments throughout his life. The stage show was adapted by James W. Rodgers from the film by Frank Capra and the book by Peter Van Doren Stern. The students intend on giving the show an uplifting and enjoyable Christmas feeling.

   “Our showtime schedule is a little earlier than usual on December 14 to hopefully bring in a younger audience as well as the parents of our cast members,” said Nesmith.

   Seniors Isabella Pinilla, Xavier Salazar and Anthony Mejias, will play as Mother Bailey, Mr. Gower, and Uncle Billy. These are all major supporting roles in the play as well as in the protagonist’s life, leading him into his major accomplishments shown throughout the show.

   “As funny as it sounds, we like to avoid drama in Drama. It’s a sort of unspoken rule in theater not to audition with a specific role in mind,” said Mejias. “If it’s a younger character that I feel like I can relate to, I like to put myself in their shoes and think about what it would be like to experience their life through a first person perspective,” said Mejias.

   Other actors like Salazar, playing Mr. Gower, prefer to watch unrelated performances including comedies and improv to help get into the mindset of an entertainer. Pinilla feels most comfortable getting ready for a part by constructing a series of questions unrelated to the show and trying to answer them as the character she is set to play. Setting aside the differences in how they each prepare for a role, the three actors agreed that the stage is where they feel most comfortable.

   “Some of us can struggle with social situations, and can be shy at times. When on the stage, we can really come into our comfort zone and show the world who we truly are,” said Salazar.

   The teacher, actors and tech alike show great excitement for It’s A Wonderful Life, expressing that the hard work and dedication being put into the production is something that everyone should be able to look forward to, along with a possible surprise referred to by Nesmith.

   “Tech may find a way to make it snow at West Broward on the days of the production,” said Nesmith. “We’ll try our best to make a miracle happen.”

   The cast and production team are expecting a larger and more varied audience for what they consider one of their most unique shows so far. They are preparing group musical performances while also focusing on realistic set designs to match the scenery from the movie.

   “We’re going to be putting a lot of work into the sets for this production,” said senior Riley Nieves from tech. “It’s always hard work but this year will definitely be some of the best sets we’ve ever had.”

   This performance is expected to be one of, if not, their most successful yet. Tech plans to make the sets larger and more varied for the background to create as emmersive a show as possible. Preparation is starting early and the students are working hard to make it as memorable for the audience as it will be for the cast and production team.