An actor who discovered the power of a community on stage in Collingwood will be reminding the world next week that friends make life wonderful.
Hunter Agnew, a Collingwood Collegiate Institute (CCI) graduate, is part of a team of seven performers who will be stepping back in time to 1946 to perform a radio version of It’s a Wonderful Life.
The play is what some may call meta – six actors from 2021 will play six actors from 1946 who step into a radio booth to voice all the characters from the film It’s a Wonderful Life.
It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play was written by Joe Landry, and Agnew will be part of the GD Production performance at Villa Lucia Supper Club in Ottawa during the week of Dec. 10-18. A recording of the play will also be available for those wishing to buy virtual watch passes.
Agnew plays Harry ‘Jazzbo’ Heywood who will be voicing many characters including Clarence the angel.
“It’s a lot of voice and character work,” said Agnew from his home in Stratford. “It’s challenging because I’m not just playing Harry. I’m playing Harry who is also playing Clarence and young Harry Bailey, and adult Harry Bailey, and the teller, and Mr. Welch.”
The former Collingwood resident is glad for the challenge, this will be his first time in front of a live audience since the start of the COVID pandemic.
Agnew started into his performance career thanks, in part, to the CCI music program. A member of the concert band throughout his high school years, Agnew participated in the school’s production of Beauty and the Beast.
“The CCI music program showed me what was possible when people get together on stage,” said Agnew. “It was really nice and I owe a lot to that program.”
Though he’s stuck mostly to music theatre in his career as an actor, Agnew said he’s looking forward to the upcoming production of It’s a Wonderful Life.
He was asked to join the cast by the co-owners, and Agnew’s castmates, of GD Productions. Genna Giampaolo and Vince Deiulis are husband and wife, and they met while performing as George and Mary Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life.
“This show is very near and dear to both of our hearts and we can’t wait to share the magic,” said Deiulis in a news release.
Agnew said, for him, It’s a Wonderful Life is a classic tale and he’s hoping it will be uplifting during this uncertain holiday season.
“I think it’s a story that … especially given the past two years, everyone can relate to,” said Agnew. “It’s a timeless tale of someone who puts all of their effort into other people … and by the end, it’s a story about friendship and community, and coming together.”
Though he has many lines as Harry Heywood, one of his favourites belongs to Clarence Odbody (the angel in the story).
“He gives George Bailey a gift and signs off ‘George, remember, no man is a failure who has friends,’” quoted Agnew. “If you were to sum it up, it’s a show about friendship.”