'It's a Wonderful Life' has music, familiar story

Bob Greer is a Dove Award-winning musician and composer, so it fits that the music he wrote for the stage adaptation of It's a Wonderful Life has biblical themes.

Pat Williams noticed that when researching the role of Mr. Potter, which he plays in It's A Wonderful Life: The Musical. The show makes its South Carolina premiere Friday at Aiken Community Playhouse.

"My research led me to Matthew 4, and I realized Potter's song is reminiscent of the Temptation of Christ," he said. "Mr. Potter is the devil incarnate."

Just the opposite is true of the show's hero, George Bailey.

"George is a good guy -- the kind I aspire to be," said Shawn Maratea, who plays Bedford Falls' favorite native son.

"George always does what's right, even if it's not right for him."

Director Danny Lee said the musical adaptation stays very close to the 1946 Frank Capra film, often following the screenplay word for word. The music is reminiscent of old Broadway, he said.

Despite its dark themes of a story that follows a man from happy-go-lucky to the brink of suicide, the show has a great message, Mr. Maratea said.

"It shows how everybody touches everybody else," he said. "Your life is not yours alone."

George's wife, Mary, is played by Juli Davis, who is used to playing strong female roles.

"Mary is a very old-timey wife, more reserved than most," she said.

Mrs. Davis said the role is different from what she's used to playing, even though she and Mr. Maratea have the familiarity of onstage romance.

"We were Rizzo and Kenickie in Grease, and that was completely different," she said.

Reach Dustin Turner at (706) 828-2903 or dustin.turner@augustachronicle.com.

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