Westfield youth is served in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’


How much fun is Fender Brokamp having while performing in “It’s a Wonderful Life” at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre?

“If you can describe touching a rainbow, that’s how much fun,” he said. “It’s really a great experience.”

Brokamp, 11, is one of three Westfield youngsters in the Beef & Boards’ show, which began Nov. 25 and ends Dec. 23. The others are Allie Stacy, 7, and Greta Shambarger, 10.

This is a new experience for Brokamp, who plays Young Harry and Tommy.

“I’ve never done a nonmusical before,” said Brokamp, a Westfield Intermediate School fifth-grader. “Even if you do get to do the same role twice, a new director would do it differently, and that makes theater really cool. Even if the director does do it the same, you get to perfect it even more than you did last time, and that makes it really cool.”

Prior to getting the part, Brokamp had only seen bits and pieces of the 1946 movie, which the play is based on. When rehearsals started, Brokamp saw the movie.

Brokamp said balancing school with rehearsal can be tough, but it’s worth it.

“The rehearsals are a little longer, so those got a little hairy, but now that we’re in the full swing of shows, it’s smoother,” he said.

Brokamp said he has enjoyed acting with the adults and other younger performers.

“You can learn from anyone,” he said. “Everyone teaches, no matter how small or tall.”

Brokamp has been in two national commercials and several plays for Christian Youth Theater, Civic Theatre and Tipton Community Theatre.

Stacy, a St. Maria Goretti School second-grader, plays Zuzu.

“I like that I have a famous line, ‘Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings,’” she said.

Stacy said the experience has been “really fun because I have made so many friends and I love being on stage.”

Stacy performed in the Broadway national tour of “Waitress.”

“I take voice lessons and have been in shows at Youth Inspirations Theatre. I take acting classes at Civic (Theatre) and dance classes at Dance Innovations,” Stacy said. “Last summer, I was accepted into the Broadway Artists Alliance in New York City and went there for a summer intensive program. I’ve also been in a short film and two commercials, thanks to Talent Fusion.”

Shambarger, a Shamrock Spring Elementary School fourth-grader, plays Young Violet.

“I like that I get to wear a wig in one scene,” Shambarger said. “I like that I’m in the ensemble also, so I get to wear a lot of costumes. Also, Young Violet is the perfect character for me to play because I played Veruca (in ‘Willy Wonka Jr.’), Miss Andrew (in ‘Mary Poppins’) and Miss Hannigan (in ‘Annie KIDS’), and Violet is kind of similar to those parts.”

Shambarger was only familiar with the movie.

“But now that I know of it, it’s probably my favorite play,” she said. “I love having friends in the cast to hang with backstage between scenes. Also, I like that I’m on stage more than I originally thought I would be.”

Shambarger has previously acted with several theater groups, including Christian Youth Theater. She has taken classes at Jr. Civic Theatre, and this is her first time with Beef & Boards.

“I’ve only been in one other show with adults, which was ‘Matilda the Musical’ at Tipton Community Theatre, where I played Lavender, Matilda’s best friend,” Shambarger said. “It’s fun to be in a show with adults because it makes me feel more professional.”

For more, visit beefandboards.com.