WHY DO WE SING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM?
This dynamic, original musical explores that question through the unique and personal stories of Americans throughout our history, inspired by actual letters written in times of war. From the Revolution to Vietnam, Civil War and Desert Storm, protestor to Private, warrior to widow. Each song contains a few words from the anthem, woven together to form the song that represents our nation.
Throughout our history during times of American war, soldiers and those who love them have written letters. Some of those incredible stories of struggle and personal triumph are expressed in this four-person song cycle. They vary in time period and perspective. Each actor portrays several characters throughout the musical and during the opening, transitional and finale numbers each performing represents each one of us. From the Revolution to Vietnam, Civil War and Desert Storm, protestor to Private, warrior to widow. Each song has an echo of our National Anthem, woven together to make up the fabric of the nation.
Our Soprano begins as an illiterate lover from the song, "In a Pickle" and moves directly into an anticipating wife of an American P.O.W. in "When I Come Back". In "Classy Through the Night," she portrays a jaded sister of a newly enlisted World War II soldier. We then follow her into, "Think Back," which is about a sorrowful wife who mourns her WWII Vet who didn't return quite the same and left too soon. We then see her character as a wife receiving the tragic news of her fallen soldier in, "The Brave".
She begins as a well-to-do woman in "In a Pickle" who is lamenting the fact that she will not have enough servants as they part for war. She then plays a female dressed up as a soldier trying to pose as a male in order to enter combat in "Faces". The next song, "Four Letter Word," is the Alto's comic up-tempo as she portrays a love-lorn girlfriend of a Vietnam soldier. In "What am I fighting for?" we see the Alto as a protestor during the Vietnam War and her last solo she shares her struggle as she comes to terms with the losses of War.
In his first duet "If I Don't Return", he plays a Confederate soldier sparring against his Union brother. His following song, "In a Pickle" he plays a single man along with his pal, who are glad to be single during their draft. His role changes completely in the comic number "Classy through the Night," as he plays a brother hoping to impress his new girlfriend. From the trio, "Faces", he is a liberator of a WWII concentration camp and in "On Christmas", he plays a soldier recounting the emotion that a silent Christmas Day battlefield brought him. Moving forward, he is a Captain trying to instill vigor into his Vietnam War soldiers though doubting himself in "What Am I Fighting For?". Lastly, "Private Harrison" is a solo piece that is about an 18-year enlistee preparing to serve in present-day Afghanistan.
He begins as a soldier juxtaposing battle with the blooming petals of Spring in "Shiloh". Next, he is the Union brother writing to his Confederate sibling from "If I Don't Return". "In a Pickle," he plays a care-free bachelor, without any attachments, the performer then transitions to an American P.O.W. from the song, "When I Come Back". We then follow his character in the trio, "Faces" as soldier discovering a concentration camp in WWII. Lastly, "Red, Blue, Black" is his power solo as he sings what the flags mean to him as an African-American Veteran.
NY Theatre Guide calls
ANTHEM "a real American-made
winner of a musical"
“Finally, a musical in a festival that did everything 100% right. From the first strains of the music through the entire 65-minute journey, ANTHEM had everything going for it,” writes Lanes in his review of ANTHEM’s performances at the New York International Fringe Festival earlier in August.
“I have no doubt that we will be hearing from this show again,” Lanes adds. "ANTHEM is perfect for schools, religious organizations and commercial theatres alike. With the voices represented in the letters, a soaring score, and a great cast and creatives, ANTHEM is a real American-made winner of a musical."
Read the full article here.
Rachel Payne is a classically trained Mezzo Soprano working in Los Angeles and abroad in Opera, TV, Film and currently producing her own musical projects: ANTHEM: A New Musical Song Cycle; HOARDERS: A Musical which takes you into the mind of some obsessive characters; MOURNING: a classical recording which takes listeners through the stages of grief; and a new Children’s TV show about music called, THE PETROPOLITAN.
Adele has worn many hats in the creation, education, and production of theatre. She received her BA in Drama from Ithaca College and her MA in Theatre from Northwestern University. She was the co-creator and director of THE FABLE COMPANY—an interactive, improvisational musical based on the fables of Aesop—at Desert Stages Theater, which ran four months and received the GetOut Spotlight Award for Best Youth Production. Adele and Zak have collaborated on many other ventures including THAT MUSICAL ABOUT A HELPER UNICORN and HAPPY CHALLAH DAYS.
Zak Sandler plays piano on Broadway for MEAN GIRLS, and has played on Broadway for WICKED, MOTOWN, and THE COLOR PURPLE. He was a composer at the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project at Northwestern, and won the Fenno Heath Award for writing a new Yale song. His work has appeared at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, the Triad, and Signature Theatre (VA). He is creating a musical adaptation of the dystopian young adult novel, THE CITY OF EMBER.
Supplementary Visual Resources
Productions of ANTHEM will be provided with a visual resource pack. This resource pack containing photos, paintings, and artistic imagery to supplement and inspire.
A sample of these can be downloaded here.