Dallas Academy went back in time to Bedford Falls on Thursday night to bring a holiday classic to life. A specially adapted musical version of“It’s a Wonderful Life” premiered at Dallas Academy to a full house.
Dallas Academy Director of MusicTherapy and Performing Arts, Molly Phillips Grogan, MT-BC, was the visionary behind bringing the show to life. Ms. Grogan adapted the Frank Capra classic film, based on the story by Philip Van Doren Stern and play by James Rodgers, for the Dallas Academy students and stage. Ms. Grogan, a Board Certified Music Therapist, created and adapted roles to fit each student’s abilities and talents. Ms. Grogan, along with her assistant director Sydney Daly and technical director Jay Stanford, worked with students for more than three months to bring the holiday spirit to school. The show emphasized that family and community, not possessions, make us a success.
The Dallas Academy community always looks forward to the annual musical to usher in the holiday season. Students have the opportunity to find talents and abilities that they never knew they had. Ms. Grogan is passionate about the arts playing a key role in education. “It becomes more and more obvious to me that young people crave creative outlets. Providing a safe and structured place for them to use their imaginations strengthens other facets of their lives from confidence-building to academic achievement,” says Ms. Grogan.
Over forty students participated in the show and all were pivotal in bringing the musical to life, from center stage to behind the scenes. Freshman Nate Praeger of the M Streets played the lead role of George Bailey with charm and charisma, even as his character was hitting rock bottom. Eighth grader Michael Diaz of east Dallas lit up the stage with both her exceptional acting and singing talents as Mary Hatch. Senior Michael St. Clair of Rowlett played conniving Mr. Potter to perfection. Eighth grader June Rule of north Dallas set the scenes superbly as the show’s narrator. Caroline Clure of Lakewood, playing Zuzu Bailey, brought a smile to the audience when she recited the famous line, “every time a bell rings and angel gets its wings.”
Dallas Academy upper school students served as technical assistants and props coordinators. Dallas Academy parents also played a large role in bringing the show to life. Jesse Diaz transformed Dallas Academy’s theater into Bedford Falls with his incredible sets and art design. Juan Carlos Galaviz and Jason Webb served as art team assistants. Claudia Mlinar outfitted the entire cast in 1940’s costumes to set the tone for the evening. Mrs. Grogan emphasizes “the daunting task of managing all the production components is markedly easier when you have such talented and generous support.”
The evening ended on a high note with an audience sing along to a medley of “Deck The Halls,” “Jingle Bells,” “O Christmas Tree,” and “ We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” “It’s a great blessing to have such meaningful work as I observe my students learning and growing because of their participation. This was undoubtedly one of the most wonderful casts to work with and ‘my kids’ have elevated my Joy-O-Meter up to a 10 plus,” said a teary-eyed Ms. Grogan after the show. The show, and its message for the holiday season, brought a lot of joy to the entire community.