Photo courtesy of Stage Right Conservatory Theater-Antioch
When told that a 15 year old kid, and one with a disability, mind you, was to play Mr. Potter, the crotchety old rich man in the stage version of, "It's A Wonderful Life," my own inward thoughts sputtered out, "No way!"
But the moment Ryan Lehfeldt made his frowning entrance, opened his mouth and with his commanding resonant voice boomed, "Geoooorge!" addressing his nemisis George Bailey, he had the audience in the palm of his hand and kept them there right to the finale where he was saved for last in the curtain calls.
The applause that greeted him was solid and long. A star had been born. He not only pulled it off, he DID it and magnificently. He did not come off as a kid playing Mr. Potter. Ryan WAS Mr. Potter.