If you are in the mood to get into the holiday spirit early, take advantage of ‘‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’’ to be performed in November by a stellar cast at Rend Lake College.
The play is now in rehearsal and students and community members alike are working hard to bring the family classic to the RLC Theatre stage. Performances will be held November 6-9. Thursday through Saturday performances will begin at 7 p.m. and the Sunday show is a matinee beginning at 2 p.m.
‘‘It’s a Wonderful Life’’ features Rend Lake College freshman John Major, recruited out of Hillsboro for his golfing skills, as the unforgettable George Bailey and local talent Jessica Neuman (Benton) as the sweet Mary Hatch (Bailey).
Tracey Webb, director of the performance, said the classic tale revolves around Bailey and the unlikely angel, Clarence Odbody (played by Tom Herman of Benton), who attempts to prevent Bailey from leaping to his death by showing him moments from his own life which have impacted the lives of others.
‘’Hopefully, you’ll believe in angels,’’ Webb said.
As the one who picks what plays to perform, Webb said she tries to choose plays that contain positive messages. ‘’Most people do like happy endings,’’ she said.
Webb added there are several gifted actors and actresses in the upcoming performance, with Major and Neuman diving head-first into their roles as the Baileys. ‘’I’m very excited about it. We’ve got good talent here,’’ she said.
Among those she singled out was RLC Art Associate Professor Therese Howard, who is about to finish her second master’s degree in the field of technical theater. She designed the sets for ‘’It’s a Wonderful Life.’’
Neuman said she is excited about the performance, which she described as both ‘’a lot of fun’’ and ‘’a lot of work.’’ Kathleen Boyles (Mt. Vernon), who plays Miss Carter, a bank examiner, said the play is set in the time of the Great Depression and sends people a message of hope.
Tickets are available for $9 each. For tickets or more information, contact Webb at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1295. Seating is reserved.
The cast -- listed by the character’s order of appearance -- includes: John Major (Hillsboro) - George Bailey; Tom Herman (Benton) - Clarence Odbody; Matt Lappin (Sesser) - Mr. Gower; Lawrence O’Neill (Carbondale) - Young George; Jordan Crotser (Thompsonville) - Harry Bailey; Julie Pearson (Mt. Vernon) - Mother Bailey; Janice Briley (Sesser) - Aunt Tilly; Aisha Mitchell (Sesser) - Violet Peterson; Tyler Whitecotton (Mt. Vernon) - Ernie; Kurtis Blank (Wayne City) - Bert;
Jim Ford (Benton) - Uncle Billy; Jessica Neuman (Benton) - Mary Hatch (Bailey); Keith Pearson (Mt. Vernon) - Henry F. Potter; Britannie Graham (Mt. Vernon) - Mr. Potter’s secretary; Mary Swofford (Mt. Vernon) - Mrs. Hatch; Doug Robbins (Sesser) - Sam Wainwright; Chrissy Lane (Wayne City) - Sam’s girlfriend; Kellyn Tennyson (Dahlgren) - Sam’s other girlfriend; Nicole Morris (Ewing) - Miss Andrews; Brenda Butler (West Frankfort) - Mrs. Thompson; Butch Farmer (Bonnie) - Mr. Martini; Emily Mestel (Mt. Vernon) - Mrs. Martini; Kathleen Boyles (Mt. Vernon) - Miss Carter;
Kyle Bernard (Belle Rive) - newspaper boy; Lawrence O’Neill (Carbondale) - Pete Bailey; Luke O’Neill (Carbondale) - Tommy Bailey; Lacey DePasquale (Ewing) - Zuzu Bailey; James Baine (Benton) - Mr. Welch; Maggie O’Neill (Carbondale) - Janie Bailey; Alexx Brewer (Texico) - Mr. Potter’s goon; and Sarah Drone (Scheller), Derick Hamilton (Mt. Vernon), Abby Morgan (Mt. Vernon), Danielle Reynolds (Benton), Shawna Smith (Christopher) and Jayme Stanford (Mt. Vernon) - townspeople.