December 17, 2014

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Donations for auditorium fundraising campaign sought at Wellington play

Wellington senior Jono Ziegler as George Bailey and sophomore Maddie Evans as Mary Hatch Bailey fall to the ground after dancing during a dress rehearsal for “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Thursday at McCormick Middle School auditorium. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Wellington senior Jono Ziegler as George Bailey and sophomore Maddie Evans as Mary Hatch Bailey fall to the ground after dancing during a dress rehearsal for “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Thursday at McCormick Middle School auditorium. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

WELLINGTON — Friends of the Wellington Community Auditorium is challenging the community to raise $8,000 during this weekend’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Samantha Stump, a spokeswoman for the group, said $8,000 is significant to the play, because it’s the amount that the play’s main character, George Bailey, needs to keep his bank in Bedford Falls from filing for bankruptcy and from being charged with bank fraud.

In the play, Bailey’s uncle has the $8,000 deposit stolen by Mr. Potter. Bailey, depressed over the loss of the money and what he deems the failings of his life, wishes that he had never been born.

With a little guidance from an angel, Bailey realizes that his troubles can be overcome with the help of family and friends, and that every person makes an impact on other peoples’ lives.

Stump said the cost of tickets for the play is $10, $8 for senior citizens, children and students; but attendees are asked to donate an additional $8 for a new community auditorium to be built.

Zieger and Evans dance during a scene in the play.

Zieger and Evans dance during a scene in the play.

If everyone donates $8, Stump said they should reach their goal of $8,000.

“We’re trying to play up that Wellington is connected to Bedford Falls in that we’re both small towns,” she said. “If everyone who comes to see ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ donates, we’d come up with the money we need.”

Friends of the Wellington Auditorium already has raised nearly two-thirds of the money it needs to build the $2.5 million auditorium, which will be adjacent to the new middle school, opening in 2015.

Last week, the organization indicated that it needed to raise $426,000 by Jan. 30, the deadline needed to go ahead with the project.

McCormick, which was ranked the worst building in Ohio by the Ohio School Facilities Commission, will be demolished after the new middle school opens. A community auditorium was not included in the new building’s plans, and Stump said the community saw a need to replace it, sparking a community-led effort to raise the funds.

Emily Campofredano, co-adviser and assistant director of the play, said the production is interesting in that elementary, middle school and high school students are involved, as well as adults from the community.

“It’s a really, really nice mixture of age groups and levels of acting experience,” she said. “It’s been nice to see some of the older students with the younger students.”

Campofredano said she and director Dave Conklin hope to hold the play each year.

“Most people really love this story, because they can relate to it,” she said. “Everybody has a little bit of George Bailey in them.”

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

WHEN: 7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday.

WHERE: McCormick Middle School auditorium, 201 S. Main St., Wellington.

INFO: Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens, children and students.