Now in its seventh incarnation, Pasadena Theatre Company's It's a Wonderful Life has become a local holiday tradition rivaling Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
Having directed all of the company's productions of this stage adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film, Sharon Steele, president of the company, finds several reasons for the show's continuing popularity with audiences and performers.
"We skipped last year after doing the show for six consecutive years, and now we're back to this story that endures because it deals with World War II-era patriotism and family values," she said.
Returning cast members "have become like a family who look forward to sharing George Bailey's story for another year. New players include Mark Tyler in the role of George Bailey, who really looks the part. We have all new kids because the originals grew up."
Among the returning cast members are Marty Hayes, for the seventh year playing Clarence Oddbody, the angel who has to earn his wings; and Anthony Anzalone, playing Mr. Gower, the pharmacist. Chuck Dick returns as Mr. Potter, the richest and stingiest man in town, and Douglas Kotula will again play Harry Bailey.
It's a Wonderful Life will be presented in the Humanities Recital Hall at Anne Arundel Community College at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 12. Tickets may be purchased at the door or reserved by calling 410-975-0200.
A number of seasonal events are offered this month:
Starting tomorrow and on weekends through Dec. 12: Merely Players will present Little Women at Chesapeake Art Center's Studio Theater. Information for this and all Chesapeake Arts Center events: 410-636-6597.
Saturday and Sunday: Dance Academy of Severna Park in "Holiday Treasures Featuring The Nutcracker" at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Chesapeake Arts Center's Main Theatre. Tickets are $20 for members, $12 for nonmembers and $8 for children 12 and younger.
Sunday: Annapolis Opera will present "Mozart by Candlelight" at First Presbyterian Church in Annapolis. 410-267- 8135.
Through Dec. 26: Chesapeake Music Hall will present "Yuletide Cheers" alternating with A Christmas Carol. Reservations: 800-406-0306.
Tuesday: The Naval Academy Women's Glee Club will present its annual Christmas concert at 7:30 p.m. at Mahan Hall. No tickets are needed.
Dec. 9 to 19: For the 23rd season, Colonial Players will present its musical version of A Christmas Carol. The show usually sells out. 410-268-7373.
Dec. 9: The Annapolis Chorale will present a preview of its "Celebration of Christmas" concert at 7:30 p.m. at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. The concert includes the chorale, chamber orchestra, youth chorus and guest soloist Amy Cofield, a soprano. Actor John Astin will read. Reservations: 410-263-1906.
Dec. 10: Seamus Kennedy's "Celtic Christmas" will be presented at 8 p.m. at Chesapeake Arts Center's Main Theatre.
Dec. 11 and 12: Handel's Messiah will be presented in the Naval Academy's Main Chapel at 8 p.m. Dec. 11 and 2 p.m. Dec. 12. Tickets: 410-293-8497.
Dec. 11, 12 and 19: Ballet Theatre of Maryland will offer five performances of a new version of The Nutcracker, choreographed by Artistic Director Dianna Cuatto at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. There will be a preview performance with recorded music at 2 p.m. Dec. 11. The Annapolis Chorale and Chamber Orchestra will perform at 8 p.m. Dec. 11 and 2 p.m. Dec. 12. There will also be performances at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 19 with recorded music. A Sugar Plum Fairy party will be at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 19, free to those with tickets to the Dec. 19 shows. A family discount is available for these performances by calling Ballet Theatre of Maryland at 410-263-8289. For regular tickets: 410-263-5544.
Dec. 12: The Arundel Vocal Arts Society will offer a Christmas concert at 2 p.m. at Calvary Methodist Church on Rowe Boulevard. The society's "New Traditions" concert will be the first directed by interim conductor Betty-Ann Lynerd. 410-268- 3131.
Dec. 12: Maryland Youth Symphony Orchestra will perform at 3 p.m. at Chesapeake Arts Center's Main Theatre.
Dec. 16 to 19: Children's Theatre of Annapolis will present Guys and Dolls at Anne Arundel College's Pascal Center for Performing Arts. Friday and Saturday performances will be at 7:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. shows will be presented Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's afternoon show will be signed for the hearing impaired. Tickets: 410-757-2281.
Dec. 17: Annapolis Symphony Orchestra will offer "Holiday Pops: Bright and Shining" with Boston Brass at 8 p.m. at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Tickets: 410-263-0907.