For the past 3 seasons, Falcon has presented It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Drama as our holiday gift to our audiences. This past Saturday night we got to celebrate the history of the production by welcoming all 3 artists who have directed this production.
In 2008 we decided to do a radio drama as our holiday show. We looked at a couple of versions of this play and then we connected with Anthony Palermo, a writer and sound artist in Los Angeles. His script for It’s a Wonderful Life was perfect! We approached Ric Young to direct the first season because of his extensive experience with creating actual radio drama (you can hear much of his work on WRRS). Ric brought great passion to the project and really directed the play as if it were being broadcast live. He taught the actors how to really work microphones and how to control their volume and presence. It was a great production and really set the bar high for following seasons.
In 2009, Michael Potter took the helm of the show. Having played George Bailey in the 2008 production, Michael was completely familiar with the show and he brought a new perspective to the show, spending a good deal of time exploring the voice actors themselves as characters in the play. It wasn’t just about George and Mary, it was also about the actors portraying their voices. The people who made radio drama in the 1940s were a talented lot and Michael helped the actors find their individuality through the script and the characters they were voicing.
This year we invited Alecia Lewkowich, drama director at McAuley High School, to take over the production. Being new to the show, Alicia chose to rearrange the stage a bit in order to better use the space and to take advantage of the physicality she wanted to bring out in the actors. She worked with everyone to help them find a unique “stance” or physical characteristic for each character, believing that the voice would naturally follow the body. This technique, widely used in modern stage productions, helped create even more depth and texture to the voices.
Each director has brought very unique perspectives to It’s a Wonderful Life and it was a great experience on Saturday for all of them to be at the theater together to see the culmination of 3 years of work and ideas had brought to life. Each season saw some new and some returning actors, all benefitting from the experience of prior years. Falcon would like to thank Ric, Michael and Alicia for all making It’s a Wonderful Life, a wonderful holiday production that audiences are returning to see year after year.