"Wonderful Life Production Sponsors":: Hurricane Promotions
Four shows in three days, as The NOLA Voice Talent Foundation's production of "It's a Wonderful Life" this year went on the road for the first time, then culminated in a stellar performance at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans and raising thousands for region non-profits in the process.
Three private performances at the John Schneider studios in Louisiana on a more-than-chilly Friday and Saturday were the perfect warm-up for the cast - comprised of volunteer professional performers - who delivered an amazing performance to a full house at the convention center and to a worldwide internet audience of millions - via WGSO-990am from New Orleans and the Brian "Hammer" Jackson Show from Los Angeles.
New Orleans celebrities Michael Sullivan, Johnny Rock, and WWLTV's Mike Hoss topped the bill, supreme actress Leah Richards played Mary for second year running, while two-time NVT Award Winner Bill Lee again pulled out the all stops in his SEVENTH straight production as George Bailey in which he emulates the voice of the famous James Stewart with aplomb.
This favorite annual production has become etched into the calendar of annual “unmissables” for the New Orleans Christmas Holiday season, with live theater audiences as well as listeners across the nation and around the world enthralled by amazing performances by the cast of professional stage, screen, and voice actors and guest stars.
The script for the radio-play - performed in front of a live audience - is an adaptation for radio written by L.A. producer and SFX specialist Tony Palermo, with music by Jonathan Green.
A live Foley table of sound effects provided a fascinating insight into the way radio-plays were produced in the days before recorded shows.
And the whole cast of voice-actors - who donated their time and skills in support of the fund-raiser - provided a strong performance throughout, right down to the famous line "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings" - reprised this year by the tiny junior actor Margaret Lob marking her second year in the role.
High praise too, goes to Director and Producer Vatican Lokey, who has taken on the leadership of the production with nothing short of vigorous enthusiasm in providing the benefit of his years of experience of Broadway and theater around the country.
New Orleans has a gem of an annual Holiday production, now indelibly etched into its program of "must-sees" for locals and visitors alike.
Photo at top taken at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center by Kat Balch. All other photos in this page taken at John Schneider Studios by Steve Hammond Photography
Left to right: Julia Sevin, Sharon Coats, Beverly Brooks, Johnny Rock.
Leah Richards (seated) with Michael Sullivan as Clarence and Jared Foreman as the Superintendent of Angels