It’s A Wonderful Life

(Left to right) El Bilodeau, Matthew Bilodeau, Ben Roman and Callie Kraemer, rehearse their lines for It’s a Wonderful Life. Submitted photo.

The next production by Rogue Theater, Door County’s newest community theater group, will appropriately be a play about a community. It’s A Wonderful Life, the favorite Christmas story of so many people, will be presented in a radio show format Dec. 12-14 and Dec .19-21 with a large cast and all the appropriate sound effects.

Stuart Champeau, Rogue’s co-founder, will play the role of George Bailey, made famous by Jimmy Stewart in the classic 1946 movie directed by Frank Capra.

“Our casting call brought a huge response,” Champeau said. “I think one reason so many people wanted to be a part of it is that, living in Door County, it’s the kind of life we could experience here. About half the people in the cast have never acted before and we think this is great, because we see outreach as a big part of our function as a community theater.”

The 24-member cast, ranging in age from four through adult, lends its voices to 57 characters. In addition to Champeau, the cast includes Karen Newbern, Chris Milton, Keri Grimsley, Dan Sallinen, Alex Sanchez, Orie Milton, Bill Utley, Carla Byrnes, Nicole Champeny, Mizu MCarthy, Josh Augostson, Timmy Ward, Callie Kraemer, Ben Roman, Sam Parenteau, Daniel Sallinen, Jr., Leaf Champeny, El Bilodeau, Matthew Bilodeau and Zeno McCarthy.

Lola DeVillers, Rogue’s co-founder, is in charge of music cues and commercials. JoJo Kerwin and Fox Champeny work on sound and commercials. Since it is radio, commercials are a part of the show. As in past Rogue productions, they will be presented by cast members and sponsored by local businesses.

“These are so important in a radio-type show,” DeVillers said. “Speaking parts aren’t memorized, but the cues for lines and sound effects have to be spot-on. Those were the first things to be put in place before rehearsals began on Dec. 1.”

The show is directed by Henry Timm, who directed the same show at Third Avenue Playhouse in 2007.

The Depot PAC celebrated its first anniversary on Nov. 22 by inviting onto the stage, after a performance of Policy, everyone who had performed at The Depot during its first year. Twenty of the 35-plus actors were present.

“That’s over 35 people we brought to the stage in this community, during our first year,” Champeau said. “We are proud of that.”

It’s A Wonderful Life will be presented at 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday and 4 pm on Sunday at The Depot Performing Arts Center, Sturgeon Bay’s old train station, at 341 N. 3rd Ave. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children. Children under six are free. Reservations can be made by calling The Depot at 920.818.0816.