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October 28. 2013 12:46AM

For Pinkerton, it's a wonderful play


Members of the Pinkerton Players rehearse a scene from the stage adaptation of It's A Wonderful Life recently at the Stockbridge Theatre. (Hunter McGee)

DERRY — The Christmas classic "It's A Wonderful Life" will be performed in a stage adaptation next month at Pinkerton Academy.

It will mark the first time the saga of George Bailey is performed by a New Hampshire high school, said director Ann West. Only a few other high schools in New England are performing the stage adaptation that has become extremely popular in recent years in other areas of the country, she said.

"It's been very popular in the Midwest and California," said West as she directed a recent rehearsal. "Obviously this year it's growing, it's starting, but we are the first."

West said she chose to bring "It's a Wonderful Life" to the stage as the high school prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary in January. West said the stage adaptation will work well as a holiday favorite.Rehearsals have been going on for weeks as the Pinkerton Players try to hone their skills in time for the opening curtain next month. West praised their efforts.

"It's an amazing group of kids," she said. "They are wonderful. They keep me young."

"It's a Wonderful Life" is the story of George Bailey, who is from the small town of Bedford Falls. It's Christmas Eve and Bailey has fallen into despair as he feels life passing him by while he stays trapped in the small town. A guardian angel named Clarence comes down to earth to save him by showing him what would have happened had he never been born.

Pinkerton Player Matt McGinnis, who has the lead role, said he isn't sure yet whether he will try to play George Bailey as Hollywood legend Jimmy Stewart did on the silver screen.

"It's really fun to take on because it's so well known," said McGinnis, a senior. "The fact that people are going to be like, hmmm, 'I wonder if he's going to do it like Jimmy Stewart.' There are some similarities to it, but I think I'm going to bring something new to him. He's a fun guy to play."The role of Clarence is played by Solon Rawson, who portrayed the stage manager in the Pinkerton Players' performance last year of "Our Town." Rawson, a junior, said his role as Clarence is more challenging in some ways than the role of the stage manager."He (the stage manager) doesn't have a lot of conversations with other people," Rawson said. "It's mainly just him talking directly to the audience. Whereas here, I actually have a character that communicates with other people in the play, and he's got an actual conflict going on for him — trying to earn his wings."

Performances of "It's a Wonderful Life" are scheduled for Nov. 14, 15 and 16 at 7 p.m.; and Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. at the Stockbridge Theatre.

For ticket information, call the theatre box office at 437-5210.


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