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“It’s A Wonderful Life”~ A Live Radio Play

It’s pretty much Christmas year ’round for Bridgeport, Connecticut playwright, Joe Landry. Around the actual holidays things really get ramped up thanks to a play he wrote some twenty years ago.

Joe and his two siblings grew up in a household where the arts were favored. Joe’s Dad is an artist and his Mom loved the stage and she introduced the kids to the theater when they were all very young.

Joe’s first job, at about the age of 12, was working at the film department at Fairfield Public Library and it was there that he took home the movie  “Its A Wonderful Life” and pretty much the rest is history. Fast forward about eight years, a drama teacher at his Alma mater, Fairfield High School, asked him to write a stage adaptation of Frank Capra’s 1946 film “It’s A Wonderful Life.” He agreed to do that, because after all he was already so enamored with the movie and had written a lot of short stories so he went at it and wrote it for about 30 players on stage. Following its completion it was performed at Fairfield High in November of 1991. Since he was on a roll, Landry got the brilliant idea to write another adaptation of the movie, but this time as a live radio play. “A Wonderful Life”~ A Live Radio Play, is set in the 1940’s and has just a hand full of players before mikes in a radio station. It is this rendition that hit it big and has been performed over and over and over again every year during the holidays all over the country. In fact this year it’s on about 100 stages in the U.S. and in Guam too.

Landry says, and I think this is perfectly put, that his play is a recipe and that each new group that performs it adds their own spices. If you Google the radio version of “It’s A Wonderful Life” on You Tube, you will see dozens and dozens of different performances of his play.

The video below includes an interview with Landry, a walk around his apartment and all the “It’s A Wonderful Life” goodies inside and sound effects that are going into the play being put on at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut this December. I was lucky enough to be able to sit in on a rehearsal under the direction of associate artistic director Eric Ting. You’ll get a kick out of all of these. Enjoy!