Educational benefits of NOLA Voice Talent’s annual fundraising production of “It’s a Wonderful Life”

The annual benefit radio-play production of It’s a Wonderful Life is more than just a production to raise funds – as successful as it has been over recent years in raising thousands of dollars for regeneration in the New Orleans region and to support the Performing Arts.

The production also provides opportunities for performers across the region; in keeping with the mission of The NOLA Voice Talent Foundation. Experienced actors, as well as those with little knowledge of being part of a production, receive the opportunity to participate. From auditioning to casting, table-readings to blocking and microphone technique, and a host of other elements, performers gain invaluable experience.

Not least of which is that of working with an experienced director and understanding that each performer is part of a huge jigsaw-puzzle which has no picture on the lid; that picture is only in the mind of the director and it is his task to draw each cast member to their full potential and to ensure that all the pieces fit into a highly-professional whole on the day of the performance.


Aah, the audience! The opportunity to perform in front of an audience provides a new experience for many performers; even established actors may never have had the opportunity to participate in a radio-play on stage. It is only when performing before an audience that the real adrenaline surges and a performer reaches his or her peak.

Success story

In providing a showcase for performers in the southern Louisiana, and beyond, the "It's a Wonderful Life series presented by The NOLA Voice Talent Foundation has achieved a number of success stories, not least of which is that of young actor Dylan DePaula.

Dylan caught the "acting" bug having been cast in the roles of Petey Bailey and the young George Bailey in the 2011 production. He enjoyed the experience so much that he decided to take acting lessons and, within a year, had featured prominently in "The Campaign", starring Will Ferrell, in which Dylan played the son of Will Ferrell's character.

Dylan has since played significant roles in several movies and is looking forward to a successful acting career.

Above: IAWL Producer and Director Stephen James conducts table-readings with the cast of the 2012 production as the first stage of the rehearsal process. Also in the picture are Lorraine LeBlanc (Mary Bailey) and Artemis Preshel (Mrs Hatch and other voices). Photo: Dawn DePaula.


Dylan DePaula - one of the many success stories to come out of the "It's A Wonderful Life" Annual New Orleans and Region Benefit Production presented by The NOLA Voice Talent Foundation.

Photo: Dawn DePaula

Above: Bill Lee (George Bailey) and Aeryn Dixon (Zuzu and Janey Bailey) study the script for the 2012 production.

Photo: Dawn DePaula.