It's A Wonderful Life

by  Tom Sharkey

Full Length Musical, Drama  /  9m, 4f

A musical adaptation of Frank Capra's masterpiece film.

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    9m, 4f
  • Duration

    Duration

    90 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Christmas/Holiday
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

It’s A Wonderful Life is a musical adaptation of Frank Capra’s masterpiece film. This is the saga of George Bailey, the Everyman from the small town of Bedford Falls, whose dreams of escape and adventure have been squashed by family obligations and civic duty, and whose guardian angel has to descend on Christmas Eve to save him from despair, and to remind him – by showing him what the world would have been like had he never been born – that he has had, after all, a wonderful life.
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Reviews

"Funny, moving and memorable! Thomas M. Sharkey did a wonderful thing when he took one of America's favorite holiday film classics and wrote music and lyrics for it. Frank Capra would be proud!" - Woodstock Herald

"Great! Memorable! It's even better the second time around!" - Quad City Times

"Charming! Endearing! It's a wonderful life and you just have to believe it!" - Northwestern

"Superb! A musical to remember!" - Norfolk Daily Press

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Church / Religious Groups

Cautions

  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1940s / WWII, 1930s
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: 1930s and 40s. In, around, and above Bedford Falls, a small, working-class town in Upstate New York.
  • Additional Features: Play w/ Music
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Small/Combo
  • Chorus Size: No Chorus

Casting

9m, 4f
GEORGE BAILEY - a dreamer, a plodder, a man among men, and - as he sees it - a failure
MARY HATCH BAILEY - the best thing that ever happened to George
CLARENCE ODDBODY - George's guardian angel
JOSEPH - Clarence's boss and mentor
UNCLE BILLY - a loving if sometimes foolish man
MOTHER BAILEY - lovable, wise, and strong
VIOLET BICK - a flirt, who loves George almost as much as Mary does
HENRY POTTER - the richest and meanest man in the county
HARRY BAILEY - the brother who lives the life George might have led
GOWER - an aging druggist
BERT - a cop
ERNIE - a cab driver
ZUZU - George and Mary's daughter
POTTER'S MAN - who is both valet and goon
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Cast Attributes

  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Expandable casting
  • Roles for Children
  • Room for Extras
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors

Casting Notes

The actor playing the never-seen JOSEPH will usually double as POTTER'S MAN. The actor playing POTTER will usually double in some of the anonymous crowd scenes. The play is thus well-served with only 13 actors: nine male and four female.

Resources

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

1 Piano/Conductor Score
14 Vocal Chorus Books

Reeds
Trumpets
Percussion

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Authors

Tom Sharkey

Tom Sharkey (1934-2008), author-composer-lyricist-producer, began his career at the age of 19 as a writer-editor for the Chicago Magazine and published two books before graduating from Chicago State University. He was Playwright-in-Residence at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; a winner of Golden Camera and Sil ...

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It's a Wonderful Life premiered durning the 1987 Christmas season at Howard Cobbs' Gaslight Dinner Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee. Subsequently it has played every Christmas season in theaters large and small across the country & around the world.

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