SACRED FOOLS | DARK NIGHT SERIES 2000 - "It's a Wonderful Death"

"Witty and sly...A hilariously skewed salute to its predecessor...the antidote to all that friggin' holiday cheer!"
"...a bath of acidic wit...a great deal of affectionate fun...vigorously debased and hilarious!"
- LAWEEKLY *Recommended
"Sacred Fools does it again! It's a Wonderful Death is a Wonderful Show!"
"I didn't like this show...I LOVED IT!!!
...This is most definitely THE Holiday show to see!"
"[not] an iota of intelligence...crudely rendered... humiliates...and...stupifies...oh, never mind!"


Sacred Fools' presents a CRIME SCENE production...

"It's a Wonderful Death" - A Warped Frustrated Old Parody by Brad Friedman

Written & Directed by Brad Friedman
With Choreography by Jessie Marion
Produced by Brad Friedman & Bruno Oliver

Mon, Tues & Wed --- December 4th - 20th @ 8pm
Late-Night Saturdays --- December 9th & 16th @ 11pm

Reservations --- (310) 281-8337
Click Here to Purchase Tickets Online!
 Click here to guarantee your tickets online!
Info ---

See the Original CRIME SCENE 'Wonderful Death' Page!

See a great "Wonderful Death"
inspired sketch sent to us by
Audience Member, Mike Freeth!
Click Here!

And Featuring an All-Star Cast!...
Annie, the maid..........ALDRICH ALLEN
Mary Hatch..........GABBY ANDERMAN

Citizen of Pottersville..........MARK BATE

Ma Bailey..........STEPHANIE BELL
Harry Bailey..........BRYAN BELLOMO
Nick, the bartender..........JEFF BENNINGHOFFEN
Voice of God..........BRAD FRIEDMAN
Mr. Henry F. Potter..........STAN FREITAG
Sam Wainwright..........RICHARD GUSTAFSON
Old Man Gower..........DEAN JACOBSON
Peter Bailey..........BRUNO OLIVER
Violet Bick..........TENNY PRIEBE
Mrs. Zeezee..........MELISSA RODDY
Uncle Billy..........STEVEN ROZIC
Ernie, the cabdriver..........TYLER TANNER
Potters Assistant..........J WARNER
Bert, the cop..........JOHN DOUGLAS WILLIAMS
And JOHN SYLVAIN as Clarence Oddbody, AS2

The Dancing Denizens of Bedford Falls!


Set Creation – John Williams
Sound Design – Brad Friedman
Sound Operator – Joe Jordan
Lighting – Aaron Francis
Costume Advisor – Mary Hayes
Costume Wizardry – Michelle Dunn
Stage Manager – Ho-Kwan Tse

This production of “It’s a Wonderful Death” was 
was based on the original production
created for Sacred Fools’
in three episodes on December 4th, 11th & 18th, 1999.
It was directed with great aplomb by Benjamin Davis.



So here's something to ponder as we enter the season of peace on Earth and goodwill to men: What if, instead of being the world's nicest guy, George Bailey had actually been the world's biggest jerk and sleazeball? Would the world then have been a worse place had he never been born? Would old man Potter still have been the meanest joy-sucking skinflint alive this side of the Grinch? And most importantly, would Clarence have been able to earn his wings, or would the challenge of teaching the despicable George that life really is worth living have been too much for this sweet-spirited but dim-witted A.S.2.?

In case your television has been in the shop every December and you've never seen Frank Capra's classic 1947 holiday heartwarmer, It's a Wonderful Life, A.S.2. stands for Angel Second Class-meaning one who has not yet scored enough Brownie points with God to get his wings. But Clarence gets his big chance with George Bailey, played in the film to sincere, aw-shucks perfection by Jimmy Stewart, and in the Sacred Fools warped, frustrated old parody, It's a Wonderful Death, by the audacious Scott Rabinowitz, who has Stewart's trademark stumblings down pat, and who adds a laughable layer of loutishness on top of it. And John Sylvain makes a properly bumbling Clarence. In both versions, a desperate George is about to kill himself because of $8,000 that's gone missing under circumstances that falsely incriminate him as the culprit. In the film, George is an all-around good egg who would give anybody the shirt off his back and the last penny in his pocket. But when it looks like he's going to take the fall for the missing money, he attempts suicide.

In his clever parody of this filmic sugarplum, writer/director Brad Friedman turns the normally nice-guy George into a selfish, loud-mouthed ingrate who lets his young brother, Harry (Bryan Bellomo), fall through the ice and nearly die while George goes off to smoke cigarettes; who gets that nice girl, Mary Hatch (Gabby Anderman), pregnant in the bushes and then runs off with the town slut, Violet Bick (Tenny Priebe); and who ignores the run on the bank, lets the whole town fall victim to the stock market crash, and thus sets the stage for a takeover by Potter (Stan Freitag, offering a devilishly deft variation on Lionel Barrymore's curmudgeonly film character).

Friedman's witty script and sly direction offer a hilariously skewed but hearty salute to its predecessor and inspiration. The show is preceded by a chaotic, overlong, pointless production number featuring a half-naked Santa (Philip Sokoloff) and his pastied Clausettes (Carla Jo Bailey, Cindy Caddel, Crystal Keith, and Alisa Steen) choreographed by Jessie Marion.

If all the Nutcrackers are driving you nuts, and the endless Christmas Carols have you screaming and seeing ghosts, then this production might be just the antidote to all that friggin' holiday cheer. Either that, or it'll make you wanna run and try to jump off a freeway overpass (plunging into the drizzly L.A. River isn't likely to do the trick). But then, who knows? Maybe another A.S.2 will get his wings.

-- Terri Roberts

LA WEEKLY *Recommended

With the exception of an amateurish and overlong musical opening act, this parody of the classic Frank Capra film It’s a Wonderful Life is mordantly amusing, generously marinating the original story in a bath of acidic wit. Writer-director Brad Friedman inverts the intentions of the film’s characters with a great deal of affectionate fun, while making good use of a cast who seem like they viewed the movie a few too many times. Whereas Life followed the story of decent Everyman George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), who, in despair, is shown how much worse life would have been without his presence, in Death, Bailey (Scott Rabinowitz) is an unregenerate bastard. In short order Bailey betrays the wishes of his idealist father (Bruno Oliver) to work for a rich industrialist (Stan Freitag), impregnates then abandons good girl Mary (Gabby Anderman) to run off with bad girl Violet (Tenny Priebe), and bolts from his hometown during the Depression — when it needs him most. It’s up to wannabe angel Clarence (John Sylvain) to show George how much better life would have been without him. Rabinowitz offers a vigorously debased and hilarious impression of Jimmy Stewart and receives wickedly fine support from Freitag and Sylvain.

-- Terry Morgan


Sacred Fools does it again! It's a Wonderful Death is a Wonderful Show. It starts off with a floorshow featuring the incorrigible Philip Sokoloff as a wacky pantless Santa, who makes everyone’s, and I mean everyone’s dreams come true. The junkies get needles full of dope, the fornicators get magic powder to cure their VD and even the Jews and Arabs find peace, kind of. There is a nativity scene that any self-respecting priest would howl in outrage after viewing. Then comes the “clausettes” a fine example of young womanhood especially the vivacious Carla Jo Bailey whose appearance, sporting Christmas tree pasties, was quite exhilarating.

It’s a Wonderful Death is, needless to say, a parody of that time honored Christmas classic by a similar name. But never has their been such a convoluted cast of characters...the pedophilic dad...the mother who dies of venereal disease...the action just doesn’t stop!

Scott Rabinowitz as George Bailey is totally and outrageously unflappable...this man keeps a straight face and stays completelyy in character even when all hell is breaking up around him. He did a fantastict job and has incredible stage presence! 

Brad Friedman’s direction is masterful considering the tight quarters and the humungous cast...quite a fete keeping everyone from just bumping in to each other!

Bruno Oliver as Peter Bailey (who likes his wife to dress up in lederhosen and pretend that she is an 8 year old boy by the name of Hans) is just right for the part and is also admired for staying in character as pandemonium reigns.

Stan Freitag as the hideous Mr. Potter will send chills down the backs of any mortgagee.

All in all, It’s a Wonderful Death is a show you can howl at and lust at and giggle at and spend a great evening at and go home knowing you have seen something really fucking weird!!!

-- Herb Rubinstein


Originally presented last year in episodic form as part of Sacred Fools' ongoing late-night Saturday show "Crime Scene!", "It's A Wonderful Death" is presented now for the first time in its entirety along with a Big Dance Number introduction.

"It's A Wonderful Death" is a parody of the popular holiday film "It's A Wonderful Life", only it asks the question: "What if George Bailey was just a sleazy creep in the first place?"

The show opens on a high note with an offbeat, cleverly choreographed dance number that combines upbeat music, a bevy of wacky holiday scenarios, a scantily clad santa and even more scantily clad elves which really sets the tone for the rest of the show.

"It's A Wonderful Death" then begins with a very funny and interestingly staged discussion in heaven about who will be chosen to help shmuck Bailey do the right thing. The honor falls on the not-so-capable Clarence Oddbody, AS2, who has yet to earn his wings. The rest of the show depicts the situations and circumstances of George Bailey's life that made him the shmuck he has become and what life would be like had he never been born…you know the story, don't you?

I have to say, I didn't like this show...I LOVED IT!!! I could not stop laughing, from one hilarity-filled moment to the next. This piece is filled with humor, satire, sex, greed, booze, flooze and pickles. You name it, it's in there. Oh, the high jinks, the comic witticism…

Scott Rabinowitz is outstanding as George Bailey. Energetic, engaging, and so comedically endowed. Stan Freitag's Mr. Potter, Richard Gustafson's Sam Wainwright and Actorsite member Steve Rozic's Uncle Billy are among my faves. I also loved Gabby Alderman's Mary Hatch, Tenny Priebe's Violet Bick, Bryan Bellomo's Harry Bailey. Actorsite members Jennifer Fontaine and Kara S. Leigh were adorably funny as the fabulously entertaining Dancing Denizens. Actorsite pal, Philip Sokoloff as Santa...those legs...heck, I just loved everyone in this show!!…the entire cast is hilarious. I'd go crazy if I mentioned them all by name and tried to come up with clever adjectives to describe each of them, they were all so wonderful!! Brad Friedman, how did you do it?!

Director/Writer Brad Friedman does an amazing job with some wickedly imaginative dialogue and ingenious staging. Jessie Marion spins magic with her choreography.

I would I were a fool...a sacred fool, that is.

This is most definitely THE Holiday show to see.

-- Laurie Wagner

LA TIMES! *Not a Critics Pick!

The sweetness of the holiday season can be a bit much after a while, leaving a person hungry for a taste of something tart. From its title alone, Sacred Fools' "It's a Wonderful Death" might seem just the thing to satisfy that craving.

A parody of the beloved 1946 film "It's a Wonderful Life," it aims to turn life in Bedford Falls upside-down by making Jimmy Stewart's quietly heroic George Bailey into such a hateful louse that when the angel-in-training comes to show him what life would have been like without him, he sees that everyone would have been much better off.

 Had such an idea been rendered with an iota of intelligence, in a breezy half-hour or so, it might have been able to sustain itself through a few wicked laughs. But as crudely rendered here, in two hours of sexual and scatological jokes, it humiliates its actors and stupefies the audience.

As written and directed by Brad Friedman, the show has just the one joke: that George is a jerk who, among other things, gets his sweetheart, Mary, pregnant out of wedlock, then treats her like trash, and who retains power of his father's building and loan by cooking up schemes to repossess people's houses. Scott Rabinowitz, who plays the role, looks nothing like Stewart but manages a fair vocal imitation, which is the production's sole consolation.

For a curtain raiser, Jessie Marion has come up with a 20-minute dance involving a pants-less Santa and female prostitute elves in red latex halters and hot pants who . . . oh, never mind.

-- Daryl H. Miller
©2000 LA TIMES


They give the "It's a Wonderful Death" graphic/logo a "Goofy Photo of the Year" Bonus Award! And call "It's a Wonderful Death" a "new holiday tradition"! Uh, oh! Click here to see the logo and their comments on it!