Kingwood's own Levi Smith is starring in the Houston Grand Opera’s world premiere of “It’s a Wonderful Life” as young Sam Wainwright and Tommy, George Bailey’s only son.

Though only 9 years old, Smith has been in several showcases, including “The Lion King,” “The Wiz,” “Holiday Hoopla,” “Pan” and “Newsies.”

On the main stage, Smith has been in seven shows, his mother, Candi Smith, said. Within the past two years, he has performed in the Christian Youth Theater’s productions of “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” as a dancing spoon, “Annie Jr.” as an usher, “Willy Wonka” as an Oompa Loompa and “The Little Mermaid” as Flounder. Last summer he auditioned with Christian Community Theater and was cast as Winthrop in “The Music Man.” Smith’s most recently run show, “Androcles and the Lion,” in which he played Androcles, just ended last month. In that production, he was directed by Dee Willis.

Smith is homeschooled and in the fourth grade. He has three siblings and became interested in acting at 6 years old when his sister Faith was in “Rapunzel,” produced by the Missoula Community Theater.

Candi said that “It’s a Wonderful Life” has been such a great experience for her son that he plans to attend the Houston Grand Opera camp next summer. 

Smith said, “It’s been awesome and a chance of a lifetime to work with world-known directors and composers. Mr. Jake Heggie, all the directors and all the cast members have been so encouraging to me. I would love to work with Houston Grand Opera again someday, especially if I get to go on Clara's [an angel character] swing!"

Smith is an active child. His mom said, “Levi is crazy about gymnastics, tap dancing, skateboarding, singing, unicycling, gymnastics and every sport known to man.  During his downtime, he loves to read and do origami. He hopes to be an electrician and a missionary someday after he gets on Broadway.  He dreams to be on Broadway where he can fly like Peter Pan.  In the meantime, it surely is a wonderful life for this little boy!”

“It's a Wonderful Life” runs through Dec. 17 at Wortham Theater Center in Houston. Heggie is the composer and collaborated with librettist Gene Scheer to bring the story from the screen to the stage. The opera is directed by Leonard Foglia. For more information, visit

Next up for Smith? He'll be playing Curly in Christian Youth Theater’s production of  “Peter Pan” Jan. 27-Feb. 5 at the Nancy Bock Center for the Performing Arts in The Woodlands. Visit for more information.

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