Looking for something a bit different to do this holiday season? Why not take in a performance of It WAS A Wonderful Life! in the historic and festively decorated chapel at Forest Lawn, 1411 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. This all-new show, written and directed by Joseph Demerly, features talented local actors who portray some of Buffalo’s notable former residents, all of whom now reside at Forest Lawn.
The show is narrated by John Lay Jr. (Joe Demerly), the first person to take up permanent residence in Forest Lawn, in 1850. After sharing his own story, Mr. Lay will introduce you to some of the friends who’ve joined him in residence at this historic cemetery. They, in turn, will provide musical, comical, poignant and nostalgic trips back in time when they enjoyed Christmas on this side of the Lawn.
You’ll delight in remembering the holiday windows at AM&A’s, as described by Robert B. Adam (Christopher Standart), one of the founders of this iconic local department store. You’ll be touched by Martha Williams’ (Leanne Trautman) memory of a sick child brought to her newly-founded Children’s Hospital on Bryant Street and by Col. George Selkirk’s (James Heffron) heartfelt tribute to veterans and their families. You’ll laugh at Frederick A. Cook’s (Gerry Maher) outlandish tales of his adventures, including his discovery of the North Pole. You’ll hear a few of the jokes that made Al Boasberg (Tim Finnegan) one of the top Hollywood comedy writers, as he talks about working with George Burns, Jack Benny and others. Buffalo teacher Sara Hinson (Margo Davis) reads poignant letters home from Civil War soldiers and Marian deForest (Loraine O’Donnell), who formed the Zonta Club of Buffalo, combines her reminiscing with a soulful holiday song. Enjoy the beautiful voice of Dorothy Goetz Berlin (Mary Ryan) as she wistfully sings the classic holiday song, White Christmas, written by her husband, Irving, whom she left way too early. Mary Burnett Talbert (Lydia Baines) will charm you with her loving wish for everyone during the holiday season.
It WAS A Wonderful Life! runs through January 5, with 2:00 p.m. performances on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. performances on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $25 and reservations are required, as seating in the Forest Lawn chapel is limited. Gift certificates are available. Visit www.forest-lawn.com for more information and to learn more about the Sunday In The Cemetery® Concert & Lecture Series, which continues with weekly programs every Sunday in January through April.