Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 12-05-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 ENTERTAINMENT DECEMBER 5-11, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION PAWTUCKET – Karen Kessler and Vinny Lupino like working together. "Working with Karen has always been a pleasure," said Lupino recently. "From our office days at Trinity Rep, Theatre by The Sea and Ocean State Theatre Company through many shows onstage and behind the scenes, we have always shared a common vision and drive to produce the best work possible. After all, we are both Scorpios." "I love working with Vinny in most any capacity," said Kessler. "We have collaborat- ed as director/choreographer, I have appeared in several shows he's directed, and he's stage managed shows I have directed." The pair has reunited for The Community Players pro- duction of "It's a Wonderful Life" this holiday season. The film starring Jimmy Stewart has become a classic, telling the story of George Bailey, a frustrated business- man who learns what life would look like without him around thanks to an angel sent from above. Lupino is directing the show, and Kessler is play- ing Ma Bailey. "Honestly, I was not planning to audition for the show," said Kessler, "but when the actress we had originally cast in the role dropped out, Vinny asked if I would step in." Kessler is also listed as the show's choreographer. "I refer to it as 'Karenography.' There's not a lot of dancing. It's mostly movement. In this particular musical, the most challenging number is the dance in the gym. Suffice it to say, I'm happy I'm not in it." While the original movie is from the mid-40s, the musi- cal stage version of "It's a Wonderful Life" is less than 20 years old. "The themes in the show are timeless and still have relevance today," says Lupino. "Problems with money, loss of faith, political corruption, and the effects of despair are all still too real in 2018. Luckily, the message of hope and redemption is also still real today if we allow it to be heard." Lupino says he has tried to make sure that the scenes and musical numbers "reso- nate with today's audiences. There is love, laughter, com- edy, tragedy, greed, despair, hope, and redemption all wrapped around the story of a man who has lost his way and an angel trying to earn his wings." As with any show, there are production difficulties. "The toughest part has prob- ably been working around everyone's conflicts, which is not really a new chal- lenge, but seems magnified when working with so many people," said Kessler. "And, as with most productions, it would be nice if we had about another month to rehearse." Lupino and Kessler agree that the cast is wonderful. "Not only are they talented, but they're also willing to work hard and are nice, fun people," said Kessler. "There are some old friends and many new faces," said Lupino, "and they've all come together to create a new 'family.' They have all been working very hard dur- ing rehearsals and even on their own time to make the show something to remem- ber." Lupino loves the message of the show. "No matter how dark and hopeless any situ- ation may seem, there is an underlying human spirit that can guide us through the darkness." The Community Players present "It's a Wonderful Life, the Musical" through Dec. 9 at Jenks Auditorium, Division Street, Pawtucket. Visit for www.thecommuni- or call 401-726- 6860 for tickets and informa- tion. Old friends and new faces in Community Players 'It's a Wonderful Life' By FRANK O'DONNELL Valley Breeze Entertainment Writer VINCENT LUPINO directs and KAREN GAIL KESSLER provides choreography for The Community Players' "It's A Wonderful Life, the Musical." Family movie night Wednesday PAWTUCKET – Calling all super heroes for Family Movie Night at the Pawtucket Public Library, 13 Summer St., on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m. When the Teen Titans real- ize they're not "real" super- heroes because there's not a movie about them, the five friends vow to do something heroic enough to warrant a big-screen adaption. Held in the Campbell Basement Auditorium, the 2018 animat- ed movie is 92 minutes long and rated PG. Families are welcome to bring their own snacks and drinks. Children ages 10 and older may attend without a caregiver. The program is free and no registration is required. For more information, call 401-725-3714, ext. 209, or e-mail childrens@pawtucketli- IN BRIEF

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