It’s a Wonderful Life on Amelia Island
I have always admired people who could act. If I had the opportunity to be something other than myself, one wish would be to experience the life of an actress because having no fear of center stage is something I find profoundly impressive. For me, the mere thought of being under that kind of microscope brings butterflies to my stomach. But this blog isn’t about my relentless fears. It’s about talented stage performers and the wonderful holiday spirit on Amelia Island.
Recently I had the pleasure of attending my first Amelia Community Theater production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Best known by the 1946 film starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, this touching story is about George Bailey from Bedford Falls, NY, a community man who gives up his dreams to help others, and whose consideration of suicide on Christmas Eve brings forth an intervention from his Guardian Angel, Clarence Odbody. Clarence helps George see the impact his life has had on others in this classic holiday film. The movie was nominated for five Oscars and has been recognized as one of the top 100 best American films ever made by the American Film Institute.
To say the least, the film’s accomplishments raise the bar for anyone wishing to reenact it. A challenge the Amelia Community Theater took on whole-heartedly and enthusiastically. Everything from the thoughtfully created sets and costumes made it clear this small local theater takes their roles seriously. But, first and foremost, the cast featuring Kartwright Asnip as the beloved George Bailey stole the spotlight.
For a small stage and a newcomer to Amelia Island, his portrayal of George Bailey was enchanting. His ability to capture all of George’s emotions, ranging from pure joy to pure anger and anguish was skillfully executed. At one point I was so moved by the story, tears welled in my eyes.
Kartwright, who not only shines as an actor, keeps himself busy with work and future goals. Recently completing the nine-month Chick-fil-a Impact 360 program, he has been working at the Ocean Club and Omni Amelia Island Plantation’s Sunrise Café for the past seven months. In January he will be on his way to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Whether acting is included in his college curriculum or he joins the community theater on his school breaks, I believe he should keep acting on his agenda.
Not to say the entire cast did not do a superbly amazing job. From Susan Joline who played Mary Bailey, to Ken Hunter who played Uncle Billy and to Heather Van Wagner starring as Violet Peterson, all members contributed to the show’s success. The experience was truly exceptional and one of many perfect ways to ring in the holidays on Amelia Island – from the Amelia Island Bed and Breakfast Holiday Cookie Tour to festive carriage rides through downtown to the annual Holiday Celebration at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation – there is an array of celebratory and cheerful ways to relish the holiday spirit on this barrier Florida island. If you missed Omni’s annual Holiday Celebration, watch the video and if you’re looking for a great Christmas play, I suggest catching the production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” by the Amelia Community Theatre this weekend! Happy Holidays!