This Thanksgiving weekend, the Sunrise Theater will present a community radio play production of It's A Wonderful Life. Adapted from Frank Capra’s holiday classic, the story is about a man who spent his life giving to the people of his hometown. When his world falls apart, he’s given the rare chance of seeing what life would be like if he had never been born.
Performances are Saturday, Nov. 30. at 2 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m. The Sunrise play features the style of an old-fashioned radio show, complete with costumed actors and live sound effects for vintage 1940’s radio charm. The play is sponsored by McClain Drug.
The ensemble cast showcases local, nonprofessional actors with Dustin Bonecutter as George Bailey, Jordan Cranford as Mary Hatch Bailey, and Eric Von Salzen as Clarence, the angel trying to earn his wings.
Dustin Bonecutter (George Bailey) moved to the Sandhills from Charlotte 11 years ago. He is a member of Southern Pines United Methodist Church and F3 Sandhills. The role is his first return to the stage in many years – something he says wanted to do before his daughters left home.
Jordan Cranford (Mary Bailey) is a Sandhills native and talented musician who performs throughout the region as a solo artist and in the duo project Flannel Weather. She says is happy to be cast as the good girl for a change.
Eric Von Salzen (Clarence) appeared in numerous plays while attending Harvard, but has spent the last 50 years limiting his dramatic endeavors to the courtrooms as a lawyer in Washington, D.C. He says Clarence is his dream role, and the role his wife Helen feels he was always meant to play.
Patrick Kelly (radio announcer and four other characters) is a veteran radio personality. His true passion is music; he’s an accomplished drummer and songwriter. Despite being from Detroit, he says he is a devoted Chicago Cubs fan.
Glenn Hussein (Henry Potter) is from the UK and is happy to be cast as the bad guy. Having previously played Clarence, he says was glad that the directors saw the devil in him during auditions.
Rebecca Mourouzis (Violet Bick) is a mother of three. Her husband encouraged her to audition for the first time since college. She says she’s never been very flirty or girly, so she’s having fun playing a character who is.
Nick Dokich (Joseph) has been active in the community theater scene in the Sandhills for 20 years. He says rehearsals at the Sunrise are like a class reunion, reconnecting with old community theater friends.
Sarah Archer (Young George and Janie) is 13 years old and loves to be surrounded by theater and musical theater. She has performed in musicals at Pinehurst Elementary School and West Pine Middle School.
Quinn Augustine (Young Mary & Zuzu) is an eighth-grader at West Pine Middle School, where she is a member of the Festival Choir.
Emma Spisak (Young Violet and Tommy) is a sixth-grader at West Pine Middle School. At age five she was inspired by her sister to participate in her first play as a mouse in “Cinderella Kids.”
Stephen Makie (Young Harry and Pete) is 12 years old and has performed in the last four shows with Missoula Children’s Theater and attended their summer camp this past summer.
Randy Merritt (Uncle Billy, Mr. Gower, Ernie) is a retired television news/sports director who relocated to Seven Lakes from Charlotte in 2006. Although he’s never acted before, he’s wanted to for 55 years.
Jamie Barnes (Matilda, Ruth, Mrs. Hatch, Sadie) is a world history teacher at Pinecrest High School where she also designs and choreographs the flags and rifle show for the marching band. “It’s A Wonderful Life” is a family tradition and she proudly says she has the entire movie memorized.
Loretta Aldridge (Rose, Charlie, Bridge Keeper) is a retired teacher of English, U.S. History and other humanities for 39 years in five states and Germany. She loves the history and intimate feel of the Sunrise and sees it as a wonderful treasure.
Michael Florence (Bert, Harry, Sam, Martini, Nick) lives in Seven Lakes and has announced for many local events. He loves theatrical illusions and the challenge of bringing so many characters to life in one show.
The play is being co-directed by Sunrise house managers Claire Sellers and Killian Poplyk.
Sellers holds a bachelor’s degree in stage directing and management from Greensboro College and was previously the executive intern with North Carolina Theatre Conference (NCTC). She has held various production roles at Triad Stage along with many theatrical credits in stage management, directing, house managing, and sound design.
Poplyk has bachelor’s degrees in both theater studies and media arts and entertainment from Elon University and a master’s degree in sound design from Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD). He’s worked in various technical roles for theater productions and has years of experience as both a stage and voice actor. When he’s not house managing for the Sunrise, he’s whipping up trailers for upcoming Sunrise events.
The theater is located at 250 NW Broad St., Southern Pines.
Tickets are $20 VIP and $15 reserved and can be purchased at www.sunrisetheater.com, at the Sunrise office, or by calling the office at (910) 692-3611.
The Sunrise Theater is a thriving entertainment center featuring first run and independent films, music concerts, local theater, and live broadcasts of the Met Opera and Bolshoi Ballet. The Sunrise Theater continues to be the cornerstone of theater arts and entertainment in the North Carolina Sandhills dedicated to serving the community.