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Ghosts of Forest Lawn haunt chapel stage through Dec. 31

It's a spookier-than-spooky idea for a holiday show that has gained surprising traction since its debut in 2012: A seasonal song-and dance production based on the famous (and deceased) residents of Forest Lawn Cemetery.

As the rest of the local theater scene takes a well-deserved post-Christmas breather, the cast and crew of "It WAS a Wonderful Life" will be treading the boards of the Forest Lawn chapel through Dec. 31. The production features performances by a cast of familiar Buffalo actors, who will present "musical, comical and poignant glimpses of Christmases past, when they enjoyed life on this side of the lawn."

"What sounds like a morose, potentially morbid display of friendly ghosts and black-and-white nostalgia," wrote reviewer Ben Siegel in 2012, "is actually a delightfully salient little piece."

Featured Buffalonians of decades past include onetime presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm and Union Army Private John Dover, among many other famous luminaries of varied renown. The show has proven wildly popular among local theatergoers and history buffs.

At the time of this writing, both of the remaining performances at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.Dec. 31 are sold out, but it can't hurt to call in case of cancellations: 288-5999 or visit

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