Bayonne High School presented a great show online, It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Joe Landry, a playwright, adapted the classic Christmas film for presentation as a radio play. Working together, the Bayonne High School Drama Society and the Bayonne Educational Network (BEN-TV) produced the play for the Internet. This was a great way to present a show for a large audience without creating a health risk during the Coronavirus pandemic. The play was directed by Drama teacher Brendan Wahlers, who is also a professional actor.
The cast for It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play included Bayonne High School students, alumni, faculty, administrators, and municipal officials. There are forty-four characters in the play. The actors were recorded to create a pre-recorded livestream that was available for viewing on December 24, 25, and 26.
For anyone who has never seen the film, It’s A Wonderful Life is about George Bailey, the manager of a small town’s building and loan association, who is on the verge of committing suicide. His guardian angel, Clarence, shows him what life would have been like if he had never been born. In the Bayonne High School production, George Bailey was played by Social Studies Director Dan Ward. Mary Hatch Bailey, George’s wife, was portrayed by Galilea Estrada. Bayonne’s own Emmy Award-winning actress, Tammy Blanchard, performed the role of Sadie Vance. Tammy’s brother, Math teacher William Blanchard, played Mr. Potter, the mean businessman who is George’s nemesis. These were just a few of the people in this great production.
The Bayonne presentation of It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play was a great community effort. Dozens of people made this production possible on stage, off stage, and behind the camera.
During the pandemic, all of us have had to adapt under very difficult circumstances. In the case of Bayonne High School, doing a different kind of show was a brilliant move. Everyone involved will always remember taking part in something special. It was an honor to play the part of a sheriff in the last part of the show. Superintendent of Schools John Niesz, Principal Richard Baccarella, Assistant High School Principal John Rickard, and First Ward Council Member Neil Carroll III were some of the other post-high school actors. Tim Craig, the Director of Fine and Performing Arts; the show’s director, Brendan Wahlers; and BEN-TV’s supervisor, James Pondillo, deserve great credit for presiding over this wonderful show.