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Kelliher School and Kelliher Community Theatre collaborate to produce It's a Wonderful Life

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Bemidji,Minnesota 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
Kelliher School and Kelliher Community Theatre collaborate to produce It's a Wonderful Life
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The Kelliher School District and Kelliher Community Theatre are excited to announce this year's Christmas production. It's A Wonderful Life will hit the stage, Dec. 3-4 at the Kelliher Old School Center.


It's A Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra and based on the short story The Greatest Gift written by Philip Van Doren Stern. The stage production stars Tim Lutz, Kelliher School Superintendent, as George Bailey whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about an intervention by his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody, portrayed by Ryan Stomberg of Blackduck.

Clarence gives George a magnificent gift in that he shows him what the world would be like without him.

"Clarence's role in George Bailey's life is actually quite simple. He just shows George what was right in front of his face the whole time," Stomberg said. "He shows George just how truly blessed he is."

Lutz also serves as producer and is quite content with the number of students working in the play.

"Having so many students engaged in an activity like a community play is a great achievement, " he said. "It is great to see them be a part of something larger than themselves and their participation is positively impacting their attitudes and behavior in school."

Cassie Vollhaber, a junior at Kelliher High School plays Violet, the god daughter of George Bailey.

"This play shows how important a person can be," Vollhaber said. "It shows us that each person makes an impact."

Bridget Stomberg, Artistic Director, indicated that the production has been a blessing for the community and for the school.

"In addition to the 24 students performing or helping on the crew, we have about 20 members of four different communities. That's a huge number for such a small area," Stomberg said. "One of the most powerful impacts that we can have in an area is when we introduce a circumstance of team camaraderie. And we have created a wonderful energy that will last forever for some of these students."

One such student is Tim Franks, a senior at Kelliher. He serves as Student Stage Crew Coordinator.

"Being in the play makes me feel like I have purpose. I'm not just waiting around for something to happen. People want me there and they would miss me if I was gone," he said.

This, according to B. Stomberg, is the purpose of theatre and the central theme of the play.

"We all need to know that our presence matters in this world and just as Clarence points out, 'No man is failure who has friends'," she said.

There will be artwork from local and regional artists displayed in the lobby and during intermission musicians will perform chamber music.

Preshow music performed by local community members will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and students and can be purchased at the door. Preschool and under are free. The Kelliher FCCLA will serve cider, cookies and bars during intermission.

Pioneer staff reports