By Zech Wheeler
Globe Staff Writer
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
The holidays are traditionally a time of cheer. However, there are times when goodwill toward men stretches thin. Few stories better illustrate overcoming the holiday blues than "It's a Wonderful Life," playing for the first time at Stone's Throw Dinner Theatre.
"It's the first time we've ever offered 'It's a Wonderful Life,'" said Mark Sponaugle, assistant director. "We do a traditional Christmas show, and we had a rotation of other shows that we did, and we added this this year for something different."
Sponaugle said that "Wonderful Life" would draw in a more diverse crowd of children and adults, as opposed to some of the plays aimed toward children, such as "Best Christmas Pageant Ever."
"Our other shows that we have in our rotation have been 'Best Christmas Pageant Ever,' 'A Christmas Carol' and 'Miracle on 34th Street,'" Sponaugle said. "I suggested this one. I'm on the production committee, and I said 'Well, what's wrong with doing 'It's a Wonderful Life'? It's a great movie. Everyone loves Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. It would be different."
Sponaugle said the cast of 30 consists of residents of Webb City, Joplin, Carthage and other places in the region. The cast began rehearsing for the show in October, with auditions that began shortly after the Maple Leaf Parade.
Sponaugle directs the show alongside co-directors Betty Bell and Pam White. He said the story, set in post-war America, remains relevant.
"For me, I think the story of 'It's a Wonderful Life,' even though the movie and the play take place in the mid-1940s, that story line is still prevalent today," Sponaugle said. "It's important that everyone realizes that they do touch another person's life -- whether it's people they work with or their families -- they touch so many lives, and they don't even know it."
Want to go?
Stone's Throw Dinner Theatre will present "It's a Wonderful Life" at 7:30 p.m. today, Saturday and Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 15. Sunday matinees on Dec. 9 and 16 will be shown at 2 p.m. The theater is located at 3466 W. Old Route 66 Blvd. in Carthage. Dinner will be served during each show. Tickets cost $22 for adults. Details: 417-358-9665.