Toronto Film School is set to bring Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life to the stage at Papermill Theatre later this month.
Directed by Andy Massingham, this theatrical re-telling of a timeless Christmas classic draws upon “unique talents” of Massighnam’s “gifted” Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre students.
“It’s A Wonderful Life began its own curious life as a short story entitled The Greatest Gift, written by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1943. A copy of it made it to legendary filmmaker Frank Capra, who loved the theme and knew there was a movie somewhere in it,” Massingham explained.
“So, he turned the story around a little bit, weaving in some elements of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, as well as a nod to Aristophanes and Homer, mixed in some rich new characters and came up with a film masterpiece, which he re-christened It’s A Wonderful Life.”
Toronto Film School’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life, which is stage-managed by Emily Larman, will take to the stage at The Papermill Theatre for a three-performance run in Dec. 14, 15 and 17 as follows:
Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 15 at 9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.
Sahra Ainab as Rose Bailey/Conductor (Frankie)
Sahra Ainab is an actress from Edmonton, Alberta. She has worked in both theatre and film projects such as Rochdale, West Side Story, Peter Pan and Mirror Game. Sahra has a passion for bringing vibrant characters to life through all her roles. She is currently completing her fifth term at Toronto Film School and has big plans to dominate the film industry.
Jules Arruda as Ernie/Ruth Dakin Bailey/Zuzu
Jelica ‘Jules’ Arruda was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, to a father of Portuguese decent and a mother of French Canadian decent. She is currently enrolled in the Acting program at Toronto Film School. Jules has learned a multitude of skills in that program so far, such as writing, directing and camera, as well as acting on stage and camera. In her third term, Jules wrote, directed and starred in her own silent short film, entitled Bury Your Gays. She has always loved acting and will continue to act, write and direct in the future, where she hopes to find a bigger platform to display her talents on screen.
Ashley Min Hee Chung as Violet Bick
Ashley Min Here Chung is a Canadian-Korean actor currently training as a Term 5 Toronto Film School student. She fell in love with performing while attending a regional arts high school program, where she’d watch performances by classmates in the dance, theatre, and music program. Coming out of high school, she studied Fashion Communication and Flight Services at Seneca College. Her passion for acting continued to grow during Covid, so she decided to audition for Toronto Film School. That decision has changed her life. Ashley has performed numerous amazing scenes from film and theatrical pieces, such as Angels in America, directed by John Beale. As Ashley’s time in TFS comes to an end, she aspires to continue to grow as an actor in film and theatre.
Julian Gibson as Peter Bailey/Tyler/Bridgekeeper
Julian Gibson is an actor from Ottawa, Ontario who started his career at a young age working for Angie’s Models & Talent Inc. In high school, he worked on creating short films and studying cameras. Before coming to Toronto Film School to focus on his real ambition for acting, he studied Tourism and Hospitality at Algonquin College. But he rekindled his passion for the arts and decided to further his career at Toronto Film School. Julian plans to combine his love of acting and travel to bring his creativity to the world through acting, directing and production.
Hayley Kent as Mary Hatch
Hayley Kent is currently a Term 5 student in the Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre at Toronto Film School. Coming straight out of high school, her ambition for acting has never been higher. Though Hayley didn’t have much professional experience in acting before coming to TFS, she was a part of her high school drama program, as well as her high school theatre program. Since coming to TFS, Hayley has learned not only how to act, but how to create and produce films, and has begun a few projects of her own.
Brennan MacDonald as George Bailey
Brennan MacDonald has always had a love for entertaining people through the art of acting. Ever since he was young, he’s always taken interest in school plays and musicals where he got to play characters such as ‘Sebastian’ in The Little Mermaid, ‘Fritz’ and ‘the Mouse King’ in The Nutcracker, and ‘Mayor May Who’ in The Grinch. He also performed in various annual music festivals for both musical theatre and choir. He’d go on to win multiple awards for best musical theatre performance at Stars of the Festival for his performances as ‘Seymour’ and ‘the Dentist’ from Little Shop of Horrors, ‘Mr Cellophane’ from Chicago, and ‘Chef Louis’ from The Little Mermaid. Before graduating, he helped teach a film and video class at his high school with his former school teacher Scott Bowman. He now lives in Toronto, where he’s currently in his fifth term studying at Toronto Film School in the Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre program.
Alireza Mirzamohammadali as Uncle Billy
Alireza Mirzamohammadali is an actor who started his career as an actor in 2016 with the film called The Sad Song, when he was thousands of kilometres away from North America, in Iran. After that, he went on stage for the first time that year with the play Martial Law. After 370 nights of being on stage and playing roles in different films between 2016 to 2021, he came to Canada to pursue the dream he’s had since he was a child – to make his way to Hollywood. It’s almost impossible to be born in the Middle East and dream to be a Hollywood actor, but for a guy whose favourite movie is Mission Impossible, nothing is impossible. He believes the goal of being an artist is to make the world a better place.
Eric Moatti as Mr. Gower/Sam Wainwright/Old Man Collins
Eric Moatti is a Canadian-born actor from Toronto, Ontario. Originally from Montreal, Quebec, his family moved to Toronto when he was 13 years old. Growing up in the suburban GTA, he went to school at Vaughan Secondary School, where he began to develop a passion for drama and comedy. After starting an improv-comedy club at school with a few students and one passionate drama teacher, Eric began taking summer training courses at The Second City in downtown Toronto. After high school, Eric decided on the newly created Comedy Writing & Performing program at Humber College for his studies, but later dropped out to pursue a career in IT. After over a decade in that workforce and a global pandemic, Eric was accepted to Toronto Film School on a whim submission. He has been devoting himself to building his brand in the industry ever since.
Angeline Monegro as Ezekiel/Bert/Mrs. hatch/Mrs. Martini
Angeline Monegro was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She has worked in the industry since she was seven years old as a TV host, and in plays and musicals. After graduating from one of the most recognized musical theatre academies in the Dominican Republic, AFA , she participated in musicals such as The Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, and YoMio. She is now continuing her development in the film industry and has worked on Dominican films including Desaparecido and Rango de Honor” A current Acting student at Toronto Film School, Angeline continues to learn and develop as an actress, producer, director, and writer, in order to grow within the industry in both English and Spanish.
Ravindu Padmanath as Clarence
Before enrolling as a student at Toronto Film School, Ravindu Padmanath watched all of the shows and movies, often finding himself instantly fascinated with the characters he saw on screen and the actors playing them. He became obsessed with actors’ performances, watching Youtube videos about an actor′s history or videos talking about how acting works. After coming to the realization that he wanted to be an actor, he started taking many Drama classes in high school, acting in plays and comedy sketches. After finding that many people in his class seemed to enjoy his performances, he decided to enrol at Toronto Film School. In Term 3, he performed in a collaborative class film, playing the character of ‘Verbal’ from The Usual Suspects. He also created his own short film.
Jordan Pantlitz as Joseph/Pete
Jordan Pantlitz is a 27-year-old actor born in Wolverhampton, England. He got his start in modelling through Sean Brown, who selected Jordan to represent his Brand (Needs&WantsNeeds) during its 2017 launch. That catapulted Jordan into being one of the top in-demand models in Toronto through 2017 to 2020. Following that success and the opportunities that came with it, Jordan later decided to step back from modelling to pursue a career in acting, writing and cinematography, citing that “A lot had changed in my life. I was really aimless and hurting from past events I had been through. I forgot who I was and what mattered and what didn’t. I needed and wanted to do something that would help save my creative productivity and express myself and challenge myself.” Jordan decided to audition for Toronto Film School and got in. “I wanted to take all my pain, all my happiness, all my happy and dark moments, and learn how to make it all performative to a degree to actually show people where I can take things in a scene because of where I have been in life and what I have seen and experienced”.
Kaitlyn Robinson as Winifred Potter/Janey
Kaitlyn Robinson is an actress currently in her fifth term of the Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre program at Toronto Film School. Kaitlyn aspires to be a film and TV actor, but also has a passion for theatre and musicals, where she can showcase her singing talents. She has performed in numerous theatre and film projects throughout her time at school. Some of her notable roles are ‘Skylar’ in Good Will Hunting, and ‘Harper Pitt’ in Angels in America.
Raymond Scott as Henry Potter/Ed/Bank Teller/Mr. Welch
Raymond Scott is an actor currently in the fifth term of the Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre program at Toronto Film School. He has performed many scenes from TV shows, films and plays during his time at school. Some of his notable theatre roles are ‘Starbuck’ in Moby Dick and ‘Officer Frank’ in Chase. He also performed scenes from films and TV shows, such as ‘Michael Kelso’ in That 70’s Show and ‘Neal Page’ in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Sky Thukral as Harry Bailey/Dr. Campbell/Stanley’Jenkins
Sky Thukral was a model in Delhi (India), working for Amazon and several other brands. He always dreamed of becoming an actor, so he left home and came to Canada to make that dream come true. Sky always loved watching films and watching actors on the screen made him happy, so he realized he wanted to do that someday. He is currently in his fifth term at Toronto Film School. In Term 3, he produced, directed, and starred in his own short silent film, titled The Cursed Dream. He also played a hostage in a YouTube video produced by Mercenary Productions. Sky did some modeling in India, because he was afraid to perform in front of people, but after coming to TFS and training for a while, he can proudly say that he’s not that afraid anymore. He loves the feeling of being in front of a camera and getting that attention.
Emily Larman – Stage Manager
Emily Larman is a 21-year-old Canadian actress who graduated from the Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre program at Toronto Film School in November 2022. She developed a passion for acting at a young age whilst performing scenes from movies with her friends. Larman’s passion only grew as she did, watching her favourite films and TV shows and learning more about what went on behind the scenes. Since graduating from TFS, she has been eagerly searching for ways to immerse herself more in the industry, as she loves acting and everything about the business. Emily is extremely passionate about this production and is incredibly grateful to everyone who helped make it possible.
Andy Massingham – Director
Andy Massingham is a Dora-award winning actor, director, writer and teacher who has been working professionally in theatre and film for over 30 years. His previous directing credits for Toronto Film School include Ye Gods, This Is How It’s Done and Clue. Andy has performed at the Stratford festival, the National Arts Centre, Banff Centre, Theatre New Brunswick and dozens of others. His solo show Rough House toured Canada and the U.S. Andy is thrilled to be working with this wonderful ensemble and is so very grateful for this opportunity.