THE MUSICAL

WHY DO WE SING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM?

This stirring, original musical explores that question through the unique and personal stories of Americans throughout our history. Inspired by letters written in times of war, each song contains words of the anthem. As its pieces weave together, so do the stories of the people who represent the true fabric of our nation.

TRAILER

Anthem Performance in NYC

A selection from an early performance of ANTHEM at the NYC Fringe Festival. For more information, or to request access to the full video, please reach out.

 

SYNOPSIS

While performing the National Anthem, four singers begin to question the meaning of its content and their motivations for performing it. As they discover letters, diaries, interviews, and blog posts of individuals - written in anticipation of, during, or in the aftermath of war - the singers come to see our country's song as a tapestry of both the diversity of personal experience and the unity that connects us as a nation. This one-hour song cycle conveys moments of anger and amusement, confusion and conviction, tragedy and triumph.

The goal of ANTHEM is not to provide an answer, but to spark introspection, reflection, and conversation: Why do we sing the anthem?

 

CASTING

Minimum requirement of four (4) performers:

Soprano

Alto

Tenor

Bass

The performers bring to life individuals' stories from different eras in American history. Each song and character reflects a different sentiment and experience. While the minimum required cast is four, the cast may be expanded to include one performer per character (23 in total). We request that casting be as diverse as possible, and that the song "Red, Blue, and Black" be performed by a Black actor (if this is not possible, we ask that you omit the song). The roles portrayed by each vocal part are as follows:

Soprano

  • An illiterate lover (WWI)

  • The wife of an American Prisoner of War (WWII)

  • The jaded sister of a WWII soldier

  • The mourning wife of a veteran experiencing PTSD (post-WWII)

  • A Desert Storm Vet coming to terms with injury [may switch with Alto]

Alto
 

  • A well-to-do woman lamenting her changes in fortune (WWI)

  • A member of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps whose family did not support her (WWII)

  • A frustrated, love-lorn USO performer (Vietnam)

  • A protestor of the Vietnam War

  • A widow and mother (post Gulf War) [may switch with Soprano]

Tenor

 

  • A Confederate soldier sparring with his Union brother (Civil War)

  • The drafted young lover of the illiterate woman (WWI)

  • A starry-eyed WWII soldier excited to surprise his girlfriend with a gift

  • A soldier liberating a concentration camp (WWII)

  • A contemplative soldier recounting a silent Christmas Day battlefield (Korean War)

  • A captain in Vietnam attempting to rally his unit while internally struggling with the war effort

  • An enlistee preparing to serve in Afghanistan

Bass

 

  • A Civil War soldier contrasting the beauty and horrors of Shiloh

  • A Union soldier sparring with his Confederate brother (Civil War)

  • The drafted husband of the well-to-do woman (WWI)

  • An American Prisoner of War (WWII)

  • A soldier liberating a concentration camp (WWII)

  • An African-American Veteran exploring the meaning of the flag in a segregated country (post-WWII)

 

PRESS

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.

 

 

TEAM

Rachel Payne
Story/Producer

 

Rachel Payne is a classically trained Mezzo Soprano working in Opera, Film, and TV. She is currently producing ANTHEM, along with HOARDERS–a musical which takes you into the mind of some obsessive characters, and THE PETROPOLITAN, a new TV series that teaches children about classical music and opera performance. She has produced three albums; the forthcoming animated series, NURSERYTALES and previously, MOURNING, and TWISTED FOLK. She also runs OPERATION OPERA, a podcast about contemporary opera performance and creating art that matters.

Adele Powers
Composer/Lyricist

 

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
Composer/Lyricist

 

Zak Sandler is a 4-time Broadway pianist, having played for WICKED, MEAN GIRLS, MOTOWN, and THE COLOR PURPLE. He has also music directed / conducted at The Public Theater, Goodspeed, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, The Kennedy Center, and TONY award-winning Signature Theatre (VA). Zak is also an avid mental health activist and speaker. INSIDE MY HEAD, his musical about experience with bipolar, has played at 8 different venues, and is slated to tour colleges across the country in the 2022-23 school year. He won the Young Leader Award with the New York State chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in 2018, to celebrate his work on ending the stigma and broadening mental health education across the world. 

Yale, B.A. in Music Composition, 2008

zaksandler.com

@bipolar_broadway

 

RESOURCES

Lyric Sheets

 

A sample lyric sheet can be downloaded here.
To request full materials, please reach out.

Supplementary Visual Resources
 

Productions of ANTHEM will be provided with a visual resource pack. This resource pack contains photos, paintings, and artistic imagery to supplement and inspire.
A sample of these can be downloaded here.