Thespian brings Bedford Falls to life on south metro stage

Christopher Willard will perform in one-man show ‘This Wonderful Life’


Local actor/director/playwright Christopher Willard has, like many of us, loved Frank Capra’s 1946 fantasy film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” as it screens each holiday season.

The warm, charming tale of George Bailey, his guardian angel Clarence Odbody and Bailey’s love for Bedford Falls, his hometown, as well as for Mary Hatch, is part of our cultural fabric.

“I’ve been carrying that script around in my pocket,” said Willard, who previously developed a very funny one-man show, “Fully Committed.”

He arrived in Colorado in 1996 and has been prominent in the theater community since.

He has directed at Littleton’s Town Hall Arts Center, spent a number of years at Arvada Center, developing its children’s theater program, and recently left a spot as director of Breckenridge Backstage Theatre.

In the spring, he will direct a production of Neil Simon’s delight, “The Odd Couple,” at Parker’s PACE Center.

And for one night only, he will present his one-man reimagining of the Capra classic, which he has titled “This Wonderful Life,” for familes (he suggests 6 and over) at the historic Schoolhouse in Parker at 7 p.m. on Dec. 18. His production company is called Alliance Stage.

“In my humble estimation, the world needs the story of George Bailey and Bedford Falls now more than ever … I’ll be running sound and light from the stage,” he says of the production, which will also appear at several metro-area churches and at Mizel Arts Center. “This production is about a guy who loves ‘This Wonderful Life’ so much, he wants to do it all!”

We chatted a bit about his development of what he calls: “a trunk show — it fits in the back of my SUV and is ready in half an hour.”

I was reminded of the traveling players who are often depicted in Shakespeare’s plays, carrying their art from town to town … We will look forward to this production and future opportunities to appreciate Willard’s talents.


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