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It’s a Wonderful Life or Henry Potter Losses Election


Why, when I finally get a great acting part, everything gets more confusing?

As some of you may know, in my spare time, I do some stage acting.  This is not a money thing.  I just do it for giggles, but I really do enjoy it.  It’s not like I have any spare time, with the radio show and law practice, but I find the mental exercise necessary to learn and perform a part, live on stage, to be extremely enjoyable and great for my focus in all other aspects of my life.

Its a Wonderful Life

This is the “It’s a Wonderful Life,” same as the movie with Jimmy Stewart that we see on TV every holiday season, except with some great music. It’s hard to imagine, but it works.

So here I am, reviewing the entire script and I have an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. What struck me about the script and my part was the scary similarities between the story, my character and our economy for the last 10 years of so. Image, it’s the 1930’s. Here I am, Henry Potter, old, crotchety man, a banker who criticizes George Baily and his father, who own a small building and loan, for lending money to people who otherwise could not afford their own homes. One of my lines is, “All you have to do is shoot pool with an employee around here and you can come in and borrow money.” Fast forward to 2005, you don’t even have to shoot pool to borrow money; all you have to do is fog a mirror to borrow money.  Sound familiar?

In It’s a Wonderful Life, one of the messages of the story is that it is important to give people a chance to better themselves.  The Baily Building & Loan is praised, for loaning money to people who couldn’t afford to pay it back and the banker is criticized for being greedy and thinking too much about profit.  In real life, we now criticize the small banks and lenders for loaning money to people who couldn’t afford to pay the money back and we have encouraged large banks to take over the smaller banks.

Today, George Baily would be sued and thrown in jail and the Henry Potters of this world would be elevated to the head of Wells Fargo or Chase Bank.  So what is it?  Am I playing a good guy or a bad guy? I am so confused!  Actually, I’m not.  I could write a dissertation about the differences between the story and real life. But, to see how I play the part, you have to come see me.

If you are in the area (Southern California), and want to see a highly entertaining musical and see me at my best/worst, oh whatever, call 949.489.8082 or go to the website at www.caminorealplayhouse.org and let them know that you’re coming to see Howard and Lauren Kline.  My daughter can make a small, extra spiff and we will use the money to help her offset the cost of her choir trip to New York where she will be singing in Carnegie Hall.

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