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'It's a Wonderful Life' starts Nov. 9 in Hudson

Mr. Potter (Mike Norman, River Falls, right) confronts George Bailey (Bruce Bell-Myers, Stillwater, second from left), as his wife Mary (Shannon Cooper, Hudson) and his guardian angel, Clarence (Tom Monn, Woodbury), look on in a rehearsal scene from The Phipps production, "It's A Wonderful Life." Submitted photo.

Gorden Hedahl directs "It's a Wonderful Life," by James W. Rogers, based on the film by Frank Capra and the story by Philip Van Doren Stern, at The Phipps Center for the Arts. The show will be performed Nov. 9 through Dec. 2.

Hedahl wants the audience to experience a live version of the heartwarming and uniquely American holiday story of George Bailey, Mary, Clarence, Mr. Potter, and the citizens of Bedford Falls as they face the trials and joys of life from the Great Depression through World War II. "There is something special and immediate about being part of the audience in a live presentation. We aren't imitating the original performances (I specifically asked the actors to avoid watching the film once they were cast), and we can't call 'cut' to change sets or costumes, so one house becomes several and costume changes are planned to keep the story flowing."

The director illustrates the difference between the stage and screen versions, "You get to see the characters brought to life and built from beginning to end by our actors, and you are part of a special event that will be slightly different every performance."

Hedahl hopes this production will remind audience members that this is, indeed, a wonderful life; and that the audience's time in the supportive and caring community of Bedford Falls will bring them a few moments of peace and happiness for the holiday season.

Performances will be given Nov. 9-Dec. 2 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sundays, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for students of all ages, with a $2 discount for the opening weekend, and a $2 discount for seniors on the Sunday matinees. Discounts are also available by purchasing season tickets. Reservations may be made by contacting The Phipps ticket office at (715) 386-8409 or online at The Phipps