Downtown Springfield Association
Downtown Business Spotlight

“It’s A Wonderful Life” and other gifts from the historic Gillioz Theatre

November 29, 2018

In this season of giving, the historic Gillioz Theatre has a special gift for Springfield.

On Saturday, Dec. 9, the theatre will host a free screening of the Christmas classic “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Yes. Completely free. Tickets are available the day of the event.

“It’s A Wonderful Life” was released in 1946. Frank Capra produced and directed the fantasy comedy-drama film, which stars James Stewart as George Bailey.

Bailey has given up his dreams to help others, but finds himself overwhelmed with troubles. A visit from guardian angel Clarence shows George all the lives he’s touched. Life in Bedford Falls would have been very different if George had never been born.

The screening is one of two free events offered by the Gillioz in December. At 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, the 399th Army Band will present Letters from the Front: A musical holiday card. This, like “It’s A Wonderful Life,” will be all general admission seating. Tickets are available the day of the show.

Kickin’ like a mule

December wraps up with one of the biggest parties in Springfield. Big Smith will once again put on a reunion show in the Gillioz Theatre. This year’s show is “Big Smith: Kickin’ Like A Mule New Years Eve Celebration” and it starts at 9:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31.

Tickets for the show start at $40 for general admission. There’s also a VIP option, though, with plenty of perks. The Hillbilly Loft Party experience costs $99 and includes:

  • One general admission floor ticket
  • Pre-show dinner in The Gallery featuring an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet from Crosstown BBQ
  • Live music in The Gallery from Dallas Jones
  • Limited edition commemorative poster autographed by Big Smith
  • Limited edition moonshine mug that includes one drink voucher

The show by the legendary Ozarks band is likely to sell out, so get your tickets to the hoedown now.

“If you’ve been with us before, you know there is no better way to ring in the new year than with your favorite hillbilly band,” the Gillioz said. “If you haven’t been with us, this is your shot. Ring in the new year with Big Smith!”

A very merry Christmas season

The Gillioz Theatre is the site of several holiday shows. Its busy scheduled kicked off with the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker Nov. 20. A screening of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and Jewel’s Handmade Holiday Tour kept the venue hopping during Thanksgiving weekend.

But there’s still holiday fun to be had. Youngblood Auto Group presents Piff the Magic Dragon’s Holiday Show, benefitting Toys for Tots, Friday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m. Reserved tickets for that show start at $37.50.

You might have seen Piff on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, or Penn & Teller: Fool Us. The magician/comedian has sold out shows across the United States and Canada as well as a residency at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip. He’s joined on stage by Mr. Piffles, The World’s Only Magic Performing Chihuahua.

“Sidesplittingly and outrageously funny … a nonstop hour of pure, delirious fun mixing comedy with magic and scoring 10 out of 10 for both,” wrote Robin Leach for the Las Vegas Sun.

Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Michael McDonald presents A Season of Peace Holiday & Hits Sunday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. Tickets for reserved seats start at $39.50. The VIP experience, including a meet and greet, is $250.

McDonald has won five Grammys and collaborated with some of the world’s most prominent artists. He played with the Doobie Brothers, serving as singer, keyboardist and songwriter on Top 40 singles “Takin’ It To The Streets,” “It Keeps You Runnin’,” “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes.” He followed that run with a successful solo career that continues to this day.

But wait, there’s more

The music of John Lennon and The Beatles will be featured at two events in December. A screening of the film “A Hard Day’s Night,” on Friday, Dec. 7, precedes the annual Imagine Concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 8. Tickets for the film are $5. Imagine 2018 tickets are $14.

Host Jeff Houghton and The Mystery Hour will hold a live taping Saturday, Dec. 15. That show will pay tribute to the Ozark Jubilee.

Dr. Stephen Adams and APO Clinic present Leslie Jordan: Exposed Saturday, Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. Michael Jr’s More Than Funny Tour is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6.

For more information visit