In its third year, members of the the show's biggest audience yet stayed behind at Deutsches Haus in Metairie to meet-and-greet with the cast after what was described by the hosts as a "mind-blowing" production.
"This is by far the most professional performance we have ever seen at Deutsches Haus", said Al Borg, Treasurer of the venue. "It was fantastic - we must do this again here next year!"
Despite technical difficulties which meant that sound-effects would not be available for the performance - broadcast live on local radio and around the world - the cast and crew staged the Third Annual New Orleans Benefit radio-play of Its a Wonderful Life with aplomb and sending the audience into raptures and joyous tears by the time eight year-old Aeryn Dixon as Zuzu delivered those immortal signature lines, "Teacher says, very time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings".
The production was adapted for radio from the Frank Capra-directed movie by Los Angeles writer and SFX specialist Tony Palermo, and supported by an original music score by Jonathan Green. The drama, intensity, and pathos of the original movie was brought to the radio-stage by director Stephen James who had worked local and regional professional actors into a tightly-knit unit, most of the actors playing several roles (this is a radio-play, after all).
James also played the role of an oafish Clarence Oddbody, angel second-class (pictured above with Tony Fennelly as the Superintendent of Angels), in the quest for his wings by guiding George Bailey (Bill Lee, picrued below at right) through the character's schitzophrenic turmoil which involves a long-running feud with the "evil" Henry Potter (Greg Beaumont) and an unlikely romance with the ever-patient and loyal Mary Bailey (Lorraine LeBlanc, below center, with Martin St.Romain at left).
The show will go on... we look forward to seeing a packed house at Deutsches Haus next year. Merry Christmas Bedford Falls..! And Merry Christmas New Orleans..!
ABOVE: Co-producer Bill Lee (left) as George Bailey, with co-producer and director Stephen James in his oafish rendition of Clarence Oddbody, Angel 2nd Class, in the 2011 NOLA Benefit Radio-play of It's a Wonderful Life (adapted for radio by Tony Palermo, original music score by Jonathan Green).
(Photo credit ©Alan Smason)
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Bill Lee - George Bailey
Scott Galloway Smith - Narrator/Announcer
With multiple voice roles played by:
Director - Stephen James
Sound Engineers - Stuart Lob and Rob Pourciau
Adapted for radio-on-stage by: Tony Palermo
-- New venue heralds third annual benefit production --
Following the enormous success of the previous two years' performances, the New Orleans annual benefit radio-play of It's a Wonderful Life will be performed for the THIRD successive year by members of NOLA Voice Talent.
This annual Christmas-time production has quickly become part of the New Orleans holiday culture and festivities, and this year will be performed before a live audience at a bigger venue: Deutsches Haus, 1023 Ridgewood Drive, Metairie (off Airline Hwy) on Sunday December 18th, 2011.
Previous productions, in 2009 and 2010, raised over $3,000 to support New Orleans regeneration, through the non-profit organization Common Ground Relief, and this year's event is expected to raise as much again to support non-profit organizations in the region.
The production re-creates an era when there was no recording technology and radio drama was performed live behind-the-mic and in front of a studio audience. Last year's performance was broadcast live worldwide over the internet, and it is planned for this year's show to be broadcast on an area radio station, as well as over a live internet feed.
The leading role of George Bailey is again played by prolific local voice-over talent Bill Lee - complete with the most authentic James Stewart voice - Bill is the only member of the cast permitted to emulate any of the voices of the popular movie.
Prolific local actress and voice talent Lorraine LeBlanc is cast as Mary Bailey; while the evil Henry Potter is again played by Greg Beaumont and the character of Clarence Oddbody (Angel, second-class) is played in humorous interpretation by British voice talent and the show's director Stephen James, who is also co-producer alongside Bill Lee.
Tickets for the event are just $15.00, available at Sir Speedy Printing New Orleans, 343 Carondolet St, New Orleans La. 70130, AND FROM Deutsches Haus, 1023 Ridgewood Drive, Metairie, La. ...and from our online web-store - payment by PalPal or credit/debit card.
"Like" the It's a Wonderful Life Facebook page for updates and further details. And scroll down this page for more information about this year's production of the It's a Wonderful Life annual NOLA benefit radio-play.
Click on image to hear the inteview
This years production was covered by WYES_TV's "Steppin' Out" on the evening of Thursday December 9th, during which it was shown at 6pm, 8pm, and 11pm. Enjoy!
Click here to view The piece on "It's a Wonderful Life begins at 17:33.
Click the small screen above to play. (Don't forget to turn your speakers on...)
This is the third annual New Orleans benefit radio-play production of the classic movie It's a Wonderful Life produced by NOLA Voice Talent to provide funds for New Orleans regeneration and non-profit organizations in the region. The previous productions raised in excess of $3000 and we are hoping to more than double that this year, with a target in excess of $6000, from sponsorship, donations, and ticket sales.
The production cast and crew comprise professional voice-actors and support officers who donate their time and talent at no charge for this worthwhile cause. Rehearsals begin in early October and continue thru the performance date of Sunday 18th December. Use of the venue, Deutches Hause in Metairie, La., also has been donated, with all ticket sales going to the cause. The performance will also be broadcast live worldwide by internet.
Already, funds raised from previous productions have gone to the non-profit organization Common Ground Relief and have made a difference to the lives of many who are trying to re-create their homes and livelihoods after the damage caused hurricanes Katrina and Gustav. Without the support of many such as ourselves, families would not be able to reconstruct their homes and settle into a secure and safe life. Our donations have also helped to prevent damage from future catastrophes by re-establishing wetlands, which protect the homes of people living at or below sea-level. Without this kind of assistance, thousands of acres would be lost forever and the potential damage from future natural disasters would be incalculable.
What We Need & What You Get
Our goal this year is to raise in excess of $6,000 towards New Orleans regeneration, and for non-profit organizations in the region. The previous incumbent, Common Ground Relief, will receive a proportion of the funds, while the remainder will be distributed among non-profit organizations who, in the opinion of the board of the Foundation, best serve in rebuilding the community by providing resources for youth and families - the future.
Angel 1st Class: Companies and individuals who donate $500+ will be designated "Main Sponsor" and feature in 2011 publicity and marketing, ticketing, 2011 program and the opportunity to be featured on display panels at the venue;
George and Mary Bailey: Companies and individuals who donate $250+ will be designated sponsor in 2011 publicity and marketing, 2011 program;
Angel Clarence: Companies and individuals who donate $100+ will be listed in the 2011 program will be designated sponsor in 2011 publicity and marketing and 2011 program
(Please indicate whether you would prefer your donation to be anonymous.)
Other Ways You Can Help
You may help also by getting the word out - across the country and across the world, by sharing our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/146941205344285/ and official web-site http://www.nolavoicetalent.org/iawl2011.htm , by distributing information about the performance to media outlets, both traditional and internet-based (fan-sites, blogs etc), and by reproducing and distributing this year's poster via both electronic and printed means.
You may also donate paper, inks, stationery, equipment, supplies, and expertise. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Sponsors/donors to date: Deutsches Haus (venue), Sir Speedy Printing New Orleans (printing poster, tickets, and program), Deborah James Kitchens, Movement Science Center, Elmwood Fitness Center.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATIONS AND ASSISTANCE
LIVE FROM NEW ORLEANS - WORLDWIDE
ONLY ON WGSO-990am - The Voice of New Orleans
The 2011 annual NOLA benefit radio-play production of "It's a Wonderful Life"
Click on logo below to take you to WGSO 990am live broadcast...
The performance will BROADCAST LIVE on WGSO-990am - The Voice of New Orleans - commencing at 7.00pm (Central Time) on Sunday 18th December 2011.
While you are free to enjoy the broadcast at no charge, the purpose of the production is to raise funds for charity. You are invited to make a donation to the benefit by clicking here