Following several months of hard work, The Academy Players put a unique take on a holiday classic on February 5, when they premiered It's A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play.
Safety measures Norfolk Academy is taking during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic prevent gatherings in the Johnson Theater this school year. They also prevent an entire cast joining on the stage for a traditional Winter Musical performance.
This year's show features the hard work of 36 students (plus several teachers and an alumnus). It is entirely in audio, available for listening on the Fine Arts pages of Academy's website, along with a playbill with photos of all the performers and sound crew, featuring 15 members of the Class of 2021.
Students and faculty began practicing in November. They socially distanced and wore masks, putting together the production one piece at a time.
“Through many months of rehearsals and recordings, the students embraced the challenges, and opportunities, of this radio play genre," Caroline Bisi said in her Director's Note. “Actors focused on their greatest acting challenge – relying on only their voices to convey their characters’ emotional journey – while our technical crews honed new skills in sound recording, editing, and sound effects."
Ms. Bisi gave special thanks to Ron Newman, who is retiring after 33 years helping Academy's theater productions. But she recognized everyone involved with the unique performance.
“Every person in this production is important," she said. “And just as the town of Bedford Falls came to George’s aid, none of this would be possible without the commitment of our NA community. Faculty members contributed their vocal talents, and our students were tutored by a professional and hardworking production team. I’m grateful to have had them all alongside me throughout this venture."
Rob Fleenor helped with sound quality and recording. Sean Dugan '92 worked with performers, and faculty members Toy Savage '71 and Brian Jarvis stepped in to play roles.
If you haven't already, don't miss out on the show!