Narrows Community Theater is bringing back a classic.
Starting Friday, December 1, the Bay Ridge theater company is bringing “A Wonderful Life: The Musical” to locals.
With Frank Capra’s classic film as inspiration, the production is based on the musical created by Seldon Harnick and Joe Raposo.
Longtime director Leah Zepel will be in charge of telling the story of dreams, disillusionment and the power of love on a smaller scale and is excited to be doing so.
“I’m really excited and thrilled,” Zepel said, who has worked on Broadway shows. “It’s a story of family and tradition and finding value in things that aren’t always monetary so it’s a good story to tell during the holidays. It’s all about what makes life worthwhile. Sometimes we need to be reminded of it and that is the story of George Bailey.”
The timeless tale is expected to stay true to its original source material, according to the director.
“It’s pretty tight and specific. I love the movie and I don’t like to mess with things that are so beloved,” she said. “The script isn’t written in a traditional format. It’s almost a movie script. I directed it so that things sort of seamlessly transition so towards the middle to end of one scene, people come on stage and change on set to the new scene right in front of your face. You’re watching it evolve as the story progresses as opposed to a traditional play where there’s a scene and there’s a blackout.”
Zepel added that audiences can look forward to the talent, especially the show’s lead.
“The actor that plays George Bailey, Dalles Willie, is one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with and I’ve worked on Broadway and all over the world and have done this professionally for over 20 years. He is such a gift,” she said. “He brings so much heart to this show. He’s feeling the show so deeply. I can’t wait for audiences to be taken in during his more emotional moments.”
Zepel has also been impressed with the way the cast has come together.
“It’s an amazing thing when you do a community theater piece because you never know what you’re going to get. Our cast has blended together so beautifully and we have some performers that are more seasoned and some that are less seasoned, but what happens is the less seasoned actors rise to the top when they’ve seen everyone else,” Zepel explained. “We have a couple of teenagers that are killing it in their acting bits. They’re great dancers but the acting has been amazing. I think the overall show is going to be great.”
She also believes one exciting number in particular will be a show stealer.
“We have one big dance number, which is a Charleston number, which I’m super proud of,” the director stated. “I’m really excited with the job the cast is doing and I want to see the faces of the audience members when they see it because I think it’s a great and grand spectacle in a smaller, intimate show.”
The production is also expected to be top notch.
“It’s professional scale,” Zepel said. “We have a set designer who is award-winning and he’s done a beautiful job. It’s an intimate story and we wanted to keep it that way so we don’t have full-blown sets but the smaller sets are beautiful. The costumer has done an amazing job and we have a professional lighting designer and sound designer. It’s going to be a full production top to bottom. The heart and soul of American theater is community theater. It’s all done for the love. This is why I fell in love with theater.”
“A Wonderful Life: The Musical” premieres on Friday, December 1 at 8 p.m. at the theater on the Fort Hamilton Army Base, 101st Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway. Additional shows will take place on Saturday, December 2 at 8 p.m., Sunday, December 3 at 2 p.m., Saturday, December 9 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m and Sunday, December 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students under 21 and $15 for children under 12. ID is required. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.narrowscommunitytheater.com.