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      It's a Wonderful (One-Man Show) Life
    Roasted chestnut

    Jason Grossman flings himself into a whirlwind one-man performance of a certain holiday classic in "It's a Wonderful (One Man Show) Life."


    "It's a Wonderful (One Man Show) Life" gently reminds us that maybe, just maybe, the holidays aren't that bad after all. Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter!

    Jason Grossman nimbly performs this solo version of that most classic of classic holiday films. He does exactly what you think he's going to do. He gets up there all by his lonesome and tells you the story of one George Bailey. Have you seen this movie? It's the one starring Jimmy Stewart. You know, the Tom Hanks of yesteryear? (Or is it Edward Norton?) They always show it at Christmas time? If you haven't, you should. And then go see Mr. Grossman do all the characters in this wonderful one-man show.

    Written and directed by: Sharon Fogarty.
    Based on: the movie "It's a Wonderful Life".
    Cast: Jason Grossman.
    Actor's Playground
    412 Eighth Avenue #1, 2nd floor, btw. 30th & 31st
    Dec. 12-22, 2002

    The thing most striking about Jason's performance was not only the nicely done impressions of those oh-so-familiar characters, but the way he manages to imitate the emotion involved. For the bulk of the time he didn't really seem to be doing Jimmy, but rather, playing George like Jimmy would have — with truth and conviction. His love for Mary and the kids, his upset at losing the $8,000 and his contempt for Mr. Potter were all very convincing from a sheer acting standpoint. Sure, there were a few times where we got the standard Jimmy Stewart act, but they were well placed for comic relief. The rest of the characters were also well executed and the pacing and timing were terrific.

    Sharon Fogarty (adapter/director) does a nice job translating the film to stage. She figures that most of you have seen the dang thing, so she pretty much cuts to the chase. The sound choices were enjoyable and helped to push the story along without drawing too much attention. The lighting could have been better. There were a few too many dark spots, but that is more than likely a venue limitation as is the case in many venues about town.

    This show does an excellent job doing precisely what it is supposed to do — it lifts your spirits in what can sometimes be a rather down season. It reminds you that you are important in this world and that you are more deeply loved by those who love you than you may ever know. Here is a show that Jason Grossman can put on every year for many, many years to come. It would be nice to see in the future a bit more of Jason's own personal humor and a few more surprises in presentation. Like when he eats his kids. That was funny. You'll understand when you see it. Which you should. It is much more fun than seeing it on TV again.

    DECEMBER 17, 2002

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