About It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

Inspired by the classic American film, It's a Wonderful Life, It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience. Five actors perform the dozens of characters in the radio play as well as produce the sound effects. It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play premiered in 1996 at Stamford Center for the Arts in Stamford, Connecticut, and has since been produced around the country to critical acclaim. This website is a resource for producers interested in staging It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, and features an introduction to the play, character breakdown, a review archive and other information.

Award-Winner Tom Andrews in the Cygnet Theatre, San Diego, CA production. Photo by Randy Rovang.

Larry Daggett, Jim Schilling, Amy Russ, Kathy Calahan and D. Matt Worley in the Moss Hard Award-Winning MTC MainStage, Westport, CT production. Photo by Kerry Long.

The following Introduction/Acknowledgments appear
in the printed version of the script.

Bringing Frank Capra's classic film to the stage began almost twenty years ago when longtime friend and teacher Frances Kondziela asked me to pen an adaptation for her high school ensemble. After the premiere of this original incarnation, the piece was produced by TheatreWorks in New Milford, CT, and was then chosen for its first professional production at the legendary Westport Country Playhouse. When the budget of this (still full-scale, literally putting the film on stage) production skyrocketed and was dropped from the slate, the concept of staging the piece as a live radio play of the period was born. This radio play adaptation was originally mounted at Stamford Center for the Arts in 1996, and has been performed there since with great success. It was at Stamford that the play was fine tuned and took shape as the piece published here. Through word of mouth alone, productions have since taken place around the country, including the noted Chicago premiere at American Theatre Company. My thanks to all those who have been involved since the beginning of the this journey, including Frances Kondziela, Jim McKenzie, Julie Monahan, George Moredock, Doug Moser, Jane Desy, Barbara Meyer, Cathy Mulligan, Kevin Connors, Colin Eastland, Achilles Tsakiridis, Doug and everyone at Playscripts.com and my loving and supportive parents, Paul and Mary, sister Hope and brother Tom. And thanks to you, dear reader, for your interest in retelling this timeless tale. - Joe Landry (August 2006)
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The Playwright

(Playwright) At age 12, Joe's first job was in the film department at the library in his hometown of Fairfield, CT. This was before the dawn of home video, back in the days of 16mm, and their permanent collection included It's a Wonderful Life, The Lady Vanishes and other early Hitchcock films. Joe's other main interest was the theatre. Encouraged by his parents, Joe was introduced to various theatres which he came to call home, including Playwrights Horizons and Roundabout Theatre Company in New York, Westport Country Playhouse and others. In 1995, Joe founded Second Guess Theatre Company, which produced over two dozen new plays, adaptations and revivals to critical-acclaim. In 1997, It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play premiered in Stamford, CT and has since enjoyed productions around the country. Joe's other plays include Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play and an adaptation of the cult classic Reefer Madness. Other projects include Mothers and Sons, a musical co-written with Kevin Connors and Lifeboat, Dahling! with Bert Bernardi. www.joelandry.com 

Click here to read an interview from Trinity Rep's Trinity Sqaure.

Playwright Joe Landry. Photo by Colin Eastland. Click here to download a hi-res image.

Jessie Fisher, George Keating and Anna Hammonds in the Noble Fool Theatricals/Fox Valley Repertory production at Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, IL. Photo by Trademan Photography.

Script and Licensing for IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY 
is available through Playscripts.com

Time: Christmas Eve, 1946
Place: The stage and auditorium of Studio A at WBFR in Manhattan, New York.

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is performed without an intermission.
Running Time: Approximately 80 minutes

Character Breakdown 
The following five actors play all the characters in the play.

JAKE LAURENTS, in his 20s/30s 
plays George Bailey / Young George

FREDDIE FILMORE, in his 30s-50s 
plays Announcer, Joseph, Mr. Gower, Henry F. Potter, Uncle Billy Bailey, Ernie, Pete Bailey (Child), Mr. Bailey, Old Man Collins, Ed, Man, Giuseppe Martini, Nick, Bridge Keeper, Binky

HARRY "JAZZBO" HEYWOOD, in his 30s/40s 
plays Harry Bailey / Young Harry, Bert The Cop, Clarence Oddbody, As-2, Sam Wainwright, Lawyer, Dr. Campbell, Randall, Tom, Man 2, Charlie, Carter, Horace the Bank Teller, Tommy Bailey (Child), Mr. Welch

SALLY APPLEWHITE, in her 20s/30s 
plays Mary Hatch Bailey / Young Mary

LANA SHERWOOD, in her 30s/40s 
plays Violet Bick / Young Violet, Matilda, Ruth Dakin Bailey, Rose Bailey, Mrs. Hatch, Passerby at Run on Bank, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Davis, Schultz, Janie Bailey (Child), Zuzu Bailey (Child)

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Producer's Resources

Script and Licensing
available exclusively through Playscripts, Inc.

Musical Score
composed by Kevin Connors,
information available on Kevin's website.

Logo Artwork
Color Logo Artwork Grayscale Logo Artwork
72dpi | 300dpi
72dpi | 300dpi

Click here for additional Producer Resources.

Fred Sullivan, Jr. and Angela Brazil in the Trinity Repertory Theatre, Providence, RI production. Photo by Mark Turek.
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