Actor, playwright and drag performer Matthew McGee is busy this holiday season.
Freefall Theatre is currently reprising his original holiday musical comedy “The Night Before,” and starting Dec. 15, McGee will star in a one-man show produced by American Stage called “Wonderful Life.”
Based on the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the play was co-adapted by American Stage producing artistic director Helen R. Murray and Jason Lott. It will pop up at four venues in St. Petersburg and Gulfport through Dec. 24.
“With no show running in December at American Stage, we thought it a perfect opportunity to bring some holiday cheer. It also gives our audiences a glimpse of my artistry as I co-wrote the piece, and will also be directing,” Murray said in a news release.
McGee will play George Bailey and every other character in the production, which is a stripped-down version of the film. Set on Christmas Eve in 1945 in Bedford Falls, New York, George grapples with the question of why his life is worth living. Expect angels, alternate realities and miracles.
The show will tour Coastal Creative, The Studio@620 and The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg and the Catherine A. Hickman Theater in Gulfport. The goal of multiple venues is to increase accessibility, the release said.
“I love the opportunity for people to come together during the holidays. Especially those that may not agree or come from very different walks of life,” McGee said.
The performances are the show’s Florida debut. It has been performed at a multitude of theaters across the U.S. and is a recipient of the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical.
“I love this story because while it happens during Christmas, it’s not necessarily a show about Christmas. It is about a man who sacrifices his own wants and needs for so long that he actually doubts his own place in this world,” Murray said. “I hope audiences walk away from the show feeling thankful for their community and are reminded of their incredible worth.”
American Stage is offering all local drag performers free admission to opening night at Coastal Creative. Tickets are $35 and available to purchase at americanstage.org, where you can see the full schedule.