We picked up a review from a local paper, in case anyone is on the fence. This is excerpted from The Rossmoor News. (No, I'm not one of the ones guilty of "over-acting", lol.)
â€śA Christmas Carolâ€ť and â€śIt's a Wonderful Lifeâ€ť
By Charles Jarrett
A perfect Christmas show: â€śIt's a Wonderful Lifeâ€ť
There are two more delightful shows that are, without a question, fun-filled productions bound to set the mood for family and friends and holiday festivities. â€śA Christmas Carolâ€ť just opened at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, and â€śIt's a Wonderful Lifeâ€ť just opened at the Del Valle Theatre next to Rossmoor.
The Contra Costa Christian Theatre is presenting â€śIt's a Wonderful Life,â€ť a superb community theater production. This show is thoroughly enjoyable, with a mixture of some outstanding professional level acting by key actors and at the same time some amateur over-acting in some minor parts. But that is the nature of community theater.
â€śIt's a Wonderful Lifeâ€ť is about a small town and the self-sacrificing Bailey family who owned the town's only savings and loan business. It was this type of small savings and loan that made the American dream of homeownership possible for middle-class American families. After years of selfless leadership, George Bailey encounters a financial crisis that pushes him toward suicide on Christmas Eve. His guardian angel (second class), Clarence Odbody, comes down to earth, charged with aiding George in his hour of need and with finding a way to convince him not to take his life.
The play is similar to the movie, just with more limited staging and flashbacks. George's dream as a young man was to go to college and then to set off to see the world and to make it a better place to live by building bridges and skyscrapers. His father's death forced George to give up his education and run the savings and loan business.
George (John Goodson) battled his father's banking nemesis, Henry Potter, the banker who has stolen, foreclosed, usurped and cajoled his way into the driver's seat on just about every major business board, or found a way to control just about every enterprise in town. That is, until George and his father's savings institution began to make a difference, to provide homeownership opportunities where few existed previously.
George marries the lovely Mary Hatch, who has had eyes on the quiet, gentle, hardworking George, even though she could have married the wealthy young Sam Wainwright. They are blessed with four children, and live humbly in an old home they rescued from deterioration and abandonment.
George continues to employ his father's brother, Uncle Billy (Steve Dexter), even though he is poorly organized, forgetful and haphazard. Unfortunately for George and the savings and loan, Billy misplaces the weekly deposit just as a bank examiner is waiting to audit the books, all of this on Christmas Eve. George realizes that his company's only salvation appears to be in the death benefit available through his life insurance policy. Just as he is about to jump into the river to let fate take its course, his Guardian Angel, Clarence, shows up, and helps George see that he really did have a wonderful life. This is a wonderful story that you must go and see!
There are many fine actors. Some are really quite accomplished, quite professional. In addition to the ones I've already mentioned, Mr. Potter is played exceptionally well by Bill Dietz. Mary Hatch Bailey is played equally well by Lauren Galvin. I wish I had room to laud the many fine portrayals in this play. I must, however, laude Gary Mutz as the very sincere Clarence, and John Goodson for his spectacularly understated and defining portrayal as George Bailey.
Now's your chance to make sure that every generation in your family can share in this heartwarming message, by taking the family to see this production. This show plays through this weekend only, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with the remaining Sunday performance at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 21. The Del Valle Theatre is located in the Acalanes Adult Center next to Rossmoor.
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)