Jeremy Aggers has been having trouble sleeping lately.
“I’ve been having nightmares,” he said. “I’ve been having dreams where it’s opening night and I’m on stage and the audience is looking at me and I can’t remember any of my lines.”
Aggers has plenty of lines to memorize, considering he’s a one-man show in ‘This Wonderful Life,” which takes the Aurora Theatre stage for the first time in the Lawrenceville venue’s history from Nov. 24 to Dec. 23.
Aggers has taken over the comedic adaptation of the holiday classic that’s a staple on television this time of the year. He plays all of the characters — George Bailey, Clarence, Mr. Potter, Uncle Billy, Mary, Mr. Gower and even Zuzu — in the timeless tale in which Bailey looks back on his life with the help of his guardian angel, Clarence. He learns about family, love and how someone’s worth isn’t measured by his bank account.
“If you are a fan of the movie, you’ll be a fan of the show,” Aggers said. “When I heard about this show, I watched the movie three or four times before I even looked at the script. The acting in the movie is great and it is a story that is very popular, especially this time of the year.”
Aggers has the spotlight all to himself throughout the one-act, 75-minute show that’s directed by the Aurora Theatre’s award-winning director, Justin Anderson.
“It’s always a pleasure — and a welcome challenge — to bring a holiday tradition like this classic story to life on the stage,” Anderson said. “Audiences can expect all the familiar, feel-good elements they know and love from the film presented in an inventive and comedic way. Jeremy Aggers creates the most mesmerizing embodiment, both vocally and physically, of all the characters in Bedford Falls. His portrayal will leave hearts full — and hopefully restored — with the spirit of the season.”
Aggers is no stranger to the Aurora Theatre. He’s been in numerous shows, including “Singles in Agriculture” and “Hands on a Hardbody.” But he said he might not have taken “This Wonderful Life” if Anderson wasn’t in the director’s chair.
“I really wanted to work with Justin because he has such a great vision for what the show should be,” Aggers said.
Aggers added that it’s a daunting challenge to be the only person on stage.
Aggers sought advice from Anthony Rodriguez, the Aurora Theatre’s co-founder and producing artistic director, who has starred in his own one-man show, “A Christmas Carol,” for a dozen years.
“He told me to not try to eat the whole elephant in one bite,” Aggers said. “He told me to not think about it as just me out there, but to think about it as me being the entire cast and bringing something different to each character.”