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'It's a Wonderful Life' begins Friday at The Phipps

Little Zuzu hears a bell ringing, indicating an angel has earned his wings, as the Bailey family gathers to celebrate Christmas. Members of the Bailey family are, from left, Pete (Rowan Bell-Myers, Stillwater), Zuzu (Isabel Isaac, Hudson), father George Bailey (Bruce Bell-Myers, Stillwater), mother Mary (Shannon Cooper, Hudson), Janie (Delaney McDowell, Stillwater), and Tommy (Donald Haines, Hudson). submitted photo

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

This timeless story of dreams, disillusionment, and the power of love is an uplifting chronicle of the importance of the individual. George Bailey (Bruce Bell-Myers, Stillwater) puts his dreams on hold to take over the family business. One Christmas eve, feeling despondent and alone, his guardian angel, Clarence (Tom Monn, Woodbury), appears to show George how many lives he has touched and how different the world would be had he never been born.

Director Gorden Hedahl notes that the movie became a classic largely because of a clerical error. As the rights for the film passed from one company to another, the copyright was not properly renewed in the early '70s, and the film entered the public domain. PBS and local television stations found that they could use the film to inexpensively counter big network holiday specials. To the surprise of many programmers, a new generation discovered the film and the audience for the film grew over the years. Capra and Jimmy Stewart, who both considered "It's a Wonderful Life" to be among their favorite films, were delighted by the renewed recognition. In 1984 Capra said, "The film has a life of its own now...I'm like a parent whose kid grows up to be president."

One of today's most beloved Christmas stories, "It's A Wonderful Life" celebrates the faith of the season and the virtues of hard work, fair play, and the love and support of family.

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. The performance on Nov. 10 is sold out.

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