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BHS Winter play returns with "It's A Wonderful Life"

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The Buffalo High School Theater Co. begins their winter performance

The Buffalo High School Theater Co. begins their winter performance with “The Guardian School,” a short performance that serves as an introduction of sorts to the main play. The piece was written entirely by students and faculty in the theater company.

Buffalo High School’s Theater Dept. hosted their annual winter production featuring this year’s performance of “It’s A Wonderful Life” and the short preview piece "The Guardian School” on the first weekend of December. The shorter piece was written by a small group of theater kids and Mrs. Blaney to go with the larger play in order to include more actors on stage. Preparation for the performance was challenged by the constant cycle of kids out on quarantine throughout the semester but the show was still able to be held in front of a small, COVID-19 friendly audience. 

Laurel Rozema hugs angel Elizabeth Farris

Laurel Rozema hugs angel Elizabeth Farris backstage in anticipation of the first live show on Thursday night. Laurel is in charge of the curtains for the performances and Elizabeth performed as an angel in “The Guardian School” and as Miss Carter in the main show.

Shyan Green applies contouring makeup

Shyan Green applies contouring makeup on the cheeks and jaw line of administrative angel Jonathan Markovsky before the start of the show on Thursday night. In preview of the main show, an BHS Theater Co. original segment titled “The Guardian School” was included increase the number of available acting positions.

Administrative angel Jonathan Markovsky teaches

Administrative angel Jonathan Markovsky teaches from atop his ladder during a class at The Guardian School during the first live performance for the winter theater show on Thursday night.

The “Big Guy,” played by Aiden O’Neill, combs his hair

The “Big Guy,” played by Aiden O’Neill, combs his hair while asking administrative angel Sylas Mirabal about Clarence’s likelihood of success in the coming play. This conversation served as the transition between “The Guardian School” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Vivi Ostheimer and Charles Wonka wish George well

Aunt Tilly, played by Vivi Ostheimer, laughs arm in arm with Uncle Billy, played by Charles Wonka, as they wish George well as he prepares to leave town - or so he hoped.

Clarence Odbody, portrayed by Vivyan Gripp, looks up to the sky

Clarence Odbody, portrayed by Vivyan Gripp, looks up to the sky as he explains why he came in person to meet with George Bailey on Thursday night. Vivyan portrayed Clarence in both the main play and in “The Guardian School.”

George Bailey, played by John Wonka, takes aim

George Bailey, played by John Wonka, takes aim before throwing a rock to break a window in what will eventually become his home on Thursday night. In the play, they say that if you break the window a wish will come true and while George’s wish doesn’t come true, Mary’s does.

Mary Hatch, played by Payton Redden, refuses to tell George Bailey

Mary Hatch, played by Payton Redden, refuses to tell George Bailey what she wished for when she broke a window with her thrown rock. Her wish is later revealed in the play to have been to live in the house they were throwing rocks at.

Henrietta Potter, played by Danica Boyce, leans over the arm of her wheelchair

Henrietta Potter, played by Danica Boyce, leans over the arm of her wheelchair as she waits for George Bailey’s next outburst over her commentary on Bailey’s father and business.

Uncle Billy, played by Charles Wonka, comes to George

Uncle Billy, played by Charles Wonka, comes to George in a panic over the town folks’ desire to withdraw their money from the bank. Throughout the story, Uncle Billy delivers bad news to George.

A group of towns folk gather near the bank

From left, Mrs. Thompson, played by Madison Billings, Mr. Welch, played by Carly Norman, Ernie, played by Aiden O’Neill, Ms. Andrews played by Kaitlyn Conda and Violet Peterson, played by Olivia Rhoads, line up at the bank in hopes of withdrawing their money on Thursday night.

George Bailey hands out a personal loan in cash

George Bailey hands out a personal loan in cash to the townsfolk in line rather than touch the little bit of money physically available in the bank. The big wad of cash was a prop that the theater company specifically talked about getting ready earlier in the week during dress rehearsals.

Flavors of feet

Flavors of feet at Buffalo High School's "It's a Wonderful Life"

Carly Norman checks her script during the intermission of the performance

Carly Norman checks her script during the intermission of the performance on Thursday night. A handful of full scripts were kept bound in the back where actors could check in if needed with their lines.

"Extra! Extra!” shouted Zoie Bonczkowski, the newspaper girl,

"Extra! Extra!” shouted Zoie Bonczkowski, the newspaper girl, as she awed over the cover of a newspaper featuring local hero Harry Bailey for earning the Congressional Medal of Honor. Zoie played two roles in the main play: the newspaper girl and Pete Bailey.

Mr. Welch, played by Carly Norman, drunkenly stumbles

Mr. Welch, played by Carly Norman, drunkenly stumbles around with friends while trying to figure out who George Bailey is. The drunken group was part of the glance into life without George.

Mother Bailey, played by Evelynne Conklin, glares at George Bailey

Mother Bailey, played by Evelynne Conklin, glares at George Bailey after he says that he knows her son Harry. But she only knows that Harry died - as he would have if George never existed.

Clarence Odbody, played by Vivyan Gripp, lists off all the people

Clarence Odbody, played by Vivyan Gripp, lists off all the people George impacted directly during his life after showing him where the town would be had George never been born.

George Bailey, played by John Wonka, leans out over the bridge

George Bailey, played by John Wonka, leans out over the bridge railing as he stresses over the missing money and consequences to follow. The play starts on the bridge before jumping backward to memories of the past with the help of his guardian angel Clarence.

George Bailey leaps in to kiss his wife, Mary

George Bailey leaps in to kiss his wife, Mary, after returning to his real life and family on Thursday night. George and Mary were played by John Wonka and Payton Redden, the two leads in the play.

George Bailey looks up to the sky

In the final moments of the performance, George Bailey looks up to the sky as he congratulations Clarence Odbody, his guardian angel, on finally earning his wings.

Photojournalist

Jessi Dodge joined the Bulletin as a photojournalist and a Report for America corp member in 2020. If you have ideas or comments, reach out at jessi@buffalobulletin.com.

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