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So Proudly We Hailed

a musical webseries honoring veterans in their own words

now available for licensing as a live stage show

The Series

“So Proudly We Hailed” is a webseries which honors veterans by dramatizing and musicalizing their story in their own words.

We pair our honorees with an artistic team comprised of a composer, lyricist, director, and dramaturg, and shape their story into a short musical retelling in a digital platform.

Book the Live Stage Show

This project includes many 10-15-minute one-person musicals.  So you can design your own program, to suit your audience, cast, and venue.

1 to 4 performers.  Any length from 15-minutes to a full evening.

Available for licensing beginning summer of 2022.  Here’s a look at the stage show, including some excerpts:

Our Partners

This project is hosted by New Musicals Inc.

This activity is supported in part by generous grants from: the Helen and Jose Colton Foundation, the Peter Glenville Foundation, the Anonymous Fund (Marin County); and the California Arts Council, a state agency.

“This project gave me the opportunity to tell my story of three different deployments, and face the emotions that have been hidden for over a span of fifteen years. I hope my story can help open up insights into other veterans to talk about their experiences. To believe in themselves, and go for their dreams.”

~~ HM1 Billie Estes

 

THE VETERAN:
Billie Estes

THE EPISODE:
BLOOD

VIEW THE EPISODE

 

THE VETERAN:
Addison Blu

THE EPISODE:
CHRISTMAS IN
AFGHANISTAN

VIEW THE EPISODE

 

THE VETERAN:
Paulo Goncalves

THE EPISODE:
THE MESSENGER

VIEW THE EPISODE

 

THE VETERAN:
Ryan Conklin

THE EPISODE:
CHASING GHOSTS

VIEW THE EPISODE

 

THE VETERAN:
Elaine Little

THE EPISODE:
THE INTERROGATOR

VIEW THE EPISODE

 

THE VETERAN:
J.A. Moad II

THE EPISODE:
JUDY & ME

VIEW THE EPISODE

 

THE VETERAN:
Melissa Milich

THE EPISODE:
ENGLISH MAJOR IN CAMOUFLAGE

VIEW THE EPISODE

 

THE VETERAN:
George Nolly

THE EPISODE:
THE THINGS YOU MISS

VIEW EPISODE

 

THE VETERAN:
Brenda Garcia

THE EPISODE:
THE AMERICAN DREAM

VIEW EPISODE

 

THE VETERAN:
Jennifer Figueroa

THE EPISODE:
STILL STANDING PROUD

TOPIC WARNING:
Military Sexual Trauma

VIEW THE EPISODE

See a free concert...

On Veterans’ Day 2021, we released a short concert featuring interviews with our veterans and performers; three of our full episodes; and song excerpts from upcoming episodes. The concert is still available to view - just click below!

“The strength of this woman, and her courage, carried me through this project.”

~~ Giane Morris

Still Standing Proud

A survivor of Military Sexual Trauma bravely tells her story, and encourages others to speak out.

Lyrics and music by Natalie Rebecca Lovejoy. Dramaturged and directed by Elise Dewsberry, and featuring Giane Morris Vaughn.

CONTENT WARNING:
Military Sexual Trauma

“TELL IT OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. WHEN THEY PRETEND NOT TO HEAR, TAKE A DEEP BREATH, AND THEN SAY IT LOUDER AND LOUDER ‘TIL SOMEONE LISTENS”

The “Still Standing Proud” Team

Natalie Rebecca Lovejoy

Lyrics and Music

Natalie is a composer/lyricist/librettist, alumni of the BMI Workshop and NYU graduate (M.Mus. in Composition). Her musical Home/Front, inspired by her experiences married to an Iraq war veteran, premiered off-off Broadway in 2014, and was a semi-finalist in the NY New Work Festival. Additionally, she has written songs for Muse Match (54 Below), the Raw Impressions Musical Theater Marathon, the Veteran’s Artist Program, the Veteran’s Voices Project (Poetic Theater Productions), and A Little Night Music (L.A. Venues), to name a few. She is listed in The Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers at Contemporary Musical Theater.com.

“As a writer of musical theater and as a former Army spouse, I can tell you first-hand how meaningful and important this project is. When I was an Army wife I felt very isolated and misunderstood by the civilian world. I felt like non-military people just saw me as a stereotype and an object of pity and/or derision. I noticed the service people around me were viewed in a similar, one-dimensional manner, and the media’s portrayal of us felt like it mostly perpetuated these stereotypes.
This project is doing an excellent job at dismantling that outlook, opening up the military world to an audience that is normally cut-off from it, and the narratives are diverse and complex. The episode I worked on centers around military sexual assault, the on-going “invisible” war our female service members battle in order to serve their country. It is appalling to me that this issue is still unknown to most people, and I know this episode will help to bring the awareness it needs.
Lastly, this project is giving work to musical theater writers for which I know we are all extremely grateful, especially during a pandemic. It is such a privilege not only to work but to get to work in your chosen field. It has helped to restore a sense of purpose and dignity.”

Elise Dewsberry

Dramaturge/Director

Artistic Director of New Musicals Inc., Elise has been involved in the development of new works for over forty years: as an actor/singer, as a director, as a dramaturge, and as a writer. While living in Toronto, Elise served as the Assistant Artistic Director of the Muskoka Festival; the Co-Ordinator of the festival’s annual Musical Theatre Writer’s Colony, the Associate Dramaturge of the Canadian Stage Company; the Resident Dramaturge of the Smile Theatre Company; and was the co-founder of Toronto’s Script Lab. Elise spent many years touring Canada with Nine Months – a one-woman musical which she commissioned from writers Carl Ritchie and Stephen Woodjetts. Elise joined what was then called the Academy for New Musical Theatre as Associate Artistic Director in 2003; joined Founding Artistic Director John Sparks as Co-Artistic Director in 2010; and became Artistic Director of New Musicals Inc. in 2013. Elise is also the author and evaluator of the Book Lab and the Outlining Lab, offered online through www.writingmusicaltheatre.com, and publishes a monthly blog on the craft of musical theatre available at https://nmi.org/elises-video-blog/.

“I have been overseeing this entire Veterans’ project for a few years now, and all of the stories are compelling and interesting and moving in their own ways. But this veteran has a special place in my heart, because of her bravery to tell a story that is so personal and so dangerous to her in so many ways. And yet she felt it was important to get her true story out there, in the hopes that it will inspire others who find themselves in similar situations to speak out and demand justice. I admire her courage, and I am proud to have had a small part in getting her story into the world.”

Giane Morris Vaughn

Performer

Giane Morris is originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado and moved to Los Angeles in March 2015. Giane was the recipient of the Theatre Palisades Best Lead Actress Award for the 2017-2018 season for her role as Luisa in The Fantasticks. Favorite roles include: Marcy Park in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (ARTS), Four Different Characters in 15 Minute Musicals (NMI), and Grace Clements in Working: A Musical (CSHP). In 2019, Giane produced and performed her first cabaret which she presented in both Colorado and in Hollywood.
IG: Gianemay

“This project was a challenge for me, but it was also very important to me to tell her story. In the beginning, it was difficult for me to put myself in her shoes, because I subconsciously didn’t want to go there. As a woman, we always have to think about what we are wearing, should we smile at strangers, or am I leading someone on by being too polite? Imagine being overseas, serving your country, and all of your worst fears happen and no one cares. When I first read all the way through it, I bursted into tears. The strength of this woman, and her courage carried me through this project. I wanted to do this for her and the countless other people this has happened to. Because of her, others may feel brave enough to come forward and hopefully make positive changes in the military and outside of it. I’m just grateful to be the one to help bring this story to light. Thank you so much for sharing your story and thank you for your service.”

“I’m very grateful to have played this character. She is truly inspiring.””

~~ Stephanie Rojo

The American Dream

The first Latina personal Presidential videographer recounts her time at the White House through two very different administrations.

By Brenda Garcia. Book and lyrics by Amy Andrews; music by Isabel Guzman. Dramaturged by Dana Iannuzzi, directed by Claudia Duran, and featuring Stephanie Rojo.

“I tell this story because I want people to have hope. A Latinx girl from a small suburb of Los Angeles ends up working at the White House.”

Brenda’s Team

Brenda Garcia

Veteran

Brenda Garcia, U. S. Navy (Retired). Brenda joined the Navy after watching the mega blockbuster TOP GUN. As a Photographer’s Mate, she was given a camera to shoot instead of a gun. For four years she was part of the elite White House Television crew under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton and personally video documented thousands of presidential events – at the White House, domestically and internationally- to be included in the National Archives and Presidential Libraries. On numerous occasions, she was a passenger aboard the presidential aircraft Air Force One and traveled to Asia, Russia, and several Mediterranean countries. She covered the 1992 Presidential Campaign and President Clinton’s first meeting with Pope John Paul II. Upon leaving active duty, she affiliated with the Navy Reserve, received a commission as a Navy Public Affairs Office and reached the rank of lieutenant commander.

Today, Brenda is an actress and author of a memoir depicting her amazing adventures at the White House and the Navy. She is member of SAG-AFTRA, Actors Equity Association, Directors Guild of America, advisory board member for the Geffen Playhouse, and plays a leadership role in Veterans in Media and Entertainment. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, minor in Marketing from California State University, Los Angeles and a UCLA Extension Certification in Broadcast Journalism.

Dana A. Iannuzzi

Dramaturge

Dana a. Iannuzzi is a New York based Actor/Director. She received a BA in Theatre Arts Performance Studies from Muhlenberg College. Favorite Acting Credits: (TV/Film) The Leftovers (HBO), Guiding Light (CBS), The Taming (Bianca), Havana Nocturne (Workshop w. Warren Carlyle), Favorite Directing Credits: Cursed: The Musical (Virtual Event), tenderly (Virtual Event), Freedom Summer (BWMT/NYMF) Steel Magnolias (Timberlake Playhouse @thedanaiannuzzi http://www.danaiannuzzi.com

“Being part of this project has been such a blessing in disguise because when I was first asked I did not really understand the scope of the work. Having the opportunity to meet our veteran Brenda Garcia, get to know her, and then in turn, find a way to tell her story to the world meant so much and was really important. Far too often, especially in these troubled times, you hear the word ‘veteran’ and if it doesn’t impact you personally, it has blanket meaning that you don’t connect with, but meeting someone like Brenda who I not only have common interests with but also a love of so many things made her story and the work that the veterans project does so special. I am thankful to everyone for letting me be part of it.”

Amy Andrews

Book and Lyrics

Amy Andrews is a New York City-based librettist/lyricist. She is thrilled to be part of the NMI writing team tasked with telling Brenda Garcia’s inspiring story. Amy has two shows currently in development: One Of Those Things, a jukebox musical based on jazz standards from the 1930s and 1940s, and To The Lighthouse, an adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel. Amy is a proud graduate of Scripps College, with a BA in Music and Feminist/Gender/Sexuality Studies, and she also studied musical theater writing as part of the first cohort of the IAMT Creators program. www.amyandrewscreative.com

“It has been a joy to tell Brenda Garcia’s story with this fantastic all-women creative team. Writing a musical across time zones, languages, and international borders brought us challenges, as well as great rewards. I am deeply grateful for Brenda’s generous and vivid storytelling and for the opportunity to work with Isabel and Dana - thanks to Elise for putting together this dream team! I hope young girls and women all over the country are inspired by our story about a remarkable woman who has truly lived the American Dream.”

Isabel Guzman

Music

Isabel Guzman is a Salvadorean Singer, dancer, actress, lyricist and composer established in Costa Rica. She graduated from Programa Danza Abierta at the University of Costa Rica and completed the 4 Week Musical Theatre Program at New York Film Academy, NY. As a composer, her repertoire goes from performing arts music (dance/theatre) to vocal music and musical theatre songs. Her work includes pieces for the National Dance Company of Costa Rica, Vitral Danza (Costa Rica) and several independent dance projects. Some of her acknowledgements are the Ricardo Fernández Guardia National Award “Best performance in a play” (Costarrican Cultural and Youth Departament) and the “Global Women in Music for Human Rights” award, for one of her songs by the Fondazione Donne in Musica, (Rome, Italy). At the moment she’s a current student at the University of Costa Rica majoring in Music Composition and has her own concert-cabaret series called “Broadway Cabaret Night Original”, where she performs and features her own music and lyrics.

“This has been quite a fantastic experience for me. Being able to collaborate from overseas and to have had the opportunity of being part of this amazing team to tell such a mesmerizing story, Brenda’s story, means a lot to me. I’m so thankful for the moment NMI thought of me for this project, and gave me the chance to put and share a bit of my own identity through the music of this story.”

Claudia Duran

Director

Claudia wrote, directed, and produced SOFIA FOR NOW, a dramatic feature which screened at such film festivals as the Boston Roxbury Film Festival, Edward James Olmos’ Latino International Film Festival, Pan African Cinema Festival of Cannes, The Toronto World of Comedy Festival, and independent film festival BHLIFE where she received both the Up And Coming Filmmaker award and later the Best Director award. Ms. Duran was selected from a pool of talent to write and direct The Last White Dishwasher, as part of Professional Latinos In Entertainment Emerging Filmmaker Program. She also Assistant Directed for ROBERTO CLEMENTE: BASEBALL’S LAST HERO.
While with Invision Entertainment, Claudia associate produced shows, DETECTIVE PRIVADO and CAMINO a LA JUSTICIA, and afterwards co-produced a reality based pilot for Azteca America. Claudia Duran has shared her love and knowledge of filmmaking and theater throughout the Los Angeles community by teaching at risk youth with the Live Arts Organization, instructing the Guerilla Filmmaking Intensive, Digital Production at CASA0101, and teaching artist with Social Political Art Resource Center and the California School for the Arts Conservatory. She has written, directed, and produced for The Los Angeles Theater Center as part of their Encuentro de Las Americas and Ensemble Theater LA Short Play Fest and Created the Chicanas Cholas y Chisme Play Festival in East LA since 2012.

“I am so grateful to have worked with the Veterans’ Project and New Musicals Inc. Brenda Garcia’s military experiences are important and fill me with tremendous pride to be Latina. The excellent work that the team put forth to make this story a success and poignant is crucial to sharing Latinx stories in the musical landscape. Thank you New Musicals for bringing these beautiful people together and for continuing to support new works and talent.”

Stephanie Rojo

Performer

Stephanie Rojo is based in Los Angeles California. She graduated from AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Los Angeles and New York City. Stephanie is a hungry performer and loves to keep learning and creating through her craft. Stephanie’s Credits… Short Film “9 of Swords”, THE AMERICAN DREAM NMI, Crimes and Misdemeanors NMI, In the Shadows of Zapata with NMI, Lead Vocalist with CREATIVIVA, Sally Sells Seashells AND YOU CAN TOO!, Heathers The Musical, Fallen Saints: Dia De Los Muertos, MidSummer Scream: Fallen Saints, and Her Turn. Email- stephanierojo5678@gmail.com

“Doing this project was an honor. Brenda’s story was full of drive and power. I’m very grateful to have played this character. She is truly inspiring.”

“I was honored to have had an opportunity to portray Captain Nolly’s experiences in the skies of Vietnam. In difficult circumstances, good people rise to the occasion and do great things, while in this case, retaining both clarity of purpose and a sense of humor. “

~~ Alan August

The Things You Miss

An Air Force pilot recounts one of his bombing missions in Vietnam that didn’t go quite as planned.

By George Nolly, with book and lyrics by Stephen K. Nolly; and music and lyrics by Benjamin Emory Larson. Featuring performer Alan August.

Special thanks to the Peter Glenville Foundation for their generous support of this episode.

“You’re not a combat vet until someone shoots at you.”

George’s Team

George Nolly

Veteran

George Nolly served as a pilot in the United States Air Force, flying 315 combat missions on two successive tours of duty in Vietnam, earning 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 24 Air Medals, flying O-2A and F-4 aircraft. He was the last Air Force pilot to complete 100 missions over North Vietnam. While in the Air Force, he received the Tactical Air Command Instructor Pilot of the Year Award. Following his Air Force duty, he hired on with United Airlines and rose to the position of B-777 Check Captain. He also served as a Federal Flight Deck Officer. After his retirement from United, he accepted a position as a B-777 Captain with Jet Airways, operating throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

George received a Bachelor of Science Degree from the United States Air Force Academy and received a Master of Science Degree, in Systems Management, from the University of Southern California. He also completed all of the required studies for a second Master of Science Degree, in Education, at the University of Southern California, and received his Doctor of Business Administration Degree, specializing in Homeland Security, from Northcentral University.

George is the author of the Hamfist novel series, consisting of four volumes in- spired by his experiences as a pilot in Vietnam. George now flight instructs at United Airlines on the B737, and is a Lecturer at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Stephen K. Nolly

Book and Co-Lyrics

Stephen Nolly is a Bi-racial, Japanese-Jewish Air Force brat who cut his teeth in New York’s theater scene. After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he was a resident artist at TriBeCa’s Flea Theater (Drama Desk, OBIE Award), and also won an LA Weekly Award. After directing his piece in the NYU Tisch Writers Lab, he found commercial work in Los Angeles shooting for clients such as Soho House, Macallan, and Yamazaki.

Stephen is a 2020 WB Writers’ Workshop Finalist and his scripts have been accepted into Soho House Script House Lab, advanced at the Austin Film Festival (5x), Sundance Episodic Lab (2x), the Page Awards, NYU Production Lab (2x), a Google Podcast PRX Lab semi-finalist, NYU Discovery scholarship recipient, on the ISA Fast Track Top 50 Screenwriters, and an NMI Hummingbird Scholarship recipient as a Book-writer & Lyricist. His feature “Guernica” has been optioned twice, his pilot “Chilmark”, a thriller in a Deaf community, is currently under option by WB, as is his werewolf-in-Hawaii pilot, “Howlie”, and he is under contract to write “The Good Ones”, a Western featuring a Native American female lead.

Stephen is also the Producer and Director for the Military Aviation audiobook, “Hamfist Over the Trail”, and a Consulting Producer for the “Ready for Takeoff Podcast” about Commercial Aviation. Stephen also worked as a Foreign Language Adapter for Netflix shows, is a paid script consultant for a Tier 1 screenwriting festival, and is a recipient of a 2020 Artist Grant from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

Stephen is the Creative Director for Old Factory Films, a digital media agency specializing in Commercial Food & Beverage content. He’s also been featured on NoFilmSchool.com, the comedy website WhoHaHa, and hosted the Improve Photography podcast with over one million followers.

Stephen enjoys high-concept stories that focus on the perspective of the “Other”, is an amateur locksmith, dabbles in horology (watchmaking), placed internationally in collegiate Ballroom Dancing, studied six languages so he could be “sex-lingual”, is a member of Mensa, and he is an amazing cook.

Stephen’s weapon of choice is a Smith Corona Electra 120 typewriter with cursive script AR 75 typestyle.

“I grew up hearing stories from my father about Vietnam, but it wasn’t until I was older that I really started to understand what they meant. “Thank you for your service” was something I heard so many people say to my dad growing up, but working on this project allowed me to understand what that phrase meant. It’s one thing to say you stand for a belief, and another thing entirely to do it while being shot at. Working on “The Things You Miss” has allowed me to see my father’s service from a more personal perspective. It’s allowed me to see that each serviceman puts everything they hold dear on the line in order to defend our way of life - their wives, families, hopes and dreams - and that is why we thank them for their service.”

Benjamin Emory Larson

Music and Co-Lyrics

Benjamin Emory Larson is a composer and lyricist for the stage film, and other media. His work has been nominated for three Portland Area Musical Theater Awards and performed by A Little New Music, Nautilus Music-Theater, Under the Arch Incubator, Theatre Elision, Reno Pops Orchestra, Kitsap Fringe Opera, New Musicals Inc, Opera Bend, Rosetown Playhouse, Cascades Theatrical Company, The Central Oregon Youth Orchestra, Phoenix Theater, and 2nd Street Theater. Nationally, he has also composed commercial film scores for The International Justice Mission, World Relief, and The Justice Conference. He holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts (emphasis in playwriting) from Portland State University.

“I’m a country boy from a small town, and military service runs deep in my family. My grandfather was a World War II veteran. My father was a Korean War veteran. My uncle was a Vietnam War veteran with two purple hearts. Two of my brothers and one of my nephews served in the military. I’m so grateful to be part of So Proudly We Hailed, to be telling this story, and to be honoring these real-life heroes.”

Alan August

Performer

Alan August is a singer/songwriter/voiceover artist/classically-trained tenor/instrumentalist/etc. He has performed in opera, oratorio, musical theatre, and concert regionally and internationally, in a wide variety of styles. He is thrilled to be a part of the So Proudly We Hailed Veterans project.

“I was honored to have had an opportunity to portray Captain Nolly’s experiences in the skies of Vietnam. In difficult circumstances, good people rise to the occasion and do great things, while in this case, retaining both clarity of purpose and a sense of humor. The creative team have done a brilliant job of setting these vignettes to beautiful, dramatic, moving words and music. Thanks, NMI, for giving a voice to these lives well-lived.”

“I know my own struggles. And my interaction with New Musicals helped me during a rough patch. We will probably never know whether “So Proudly We Hailed” will save any lives, but honoring veterans is a step in the right direction.”

~~ Melissa Milich

English Major in Camouflage

A story from a former US Navy Intelligence Officer being tasked to regale a foreign General with stories from American literature .

By Melissa Milich, with music and lyrics by Katie Brady. Featuring Elizabeth Summerer Bouton.

“Sometimes the least important isn’t allowed to stay the least important.”

Melissa’s Team

Melissa Milich

Veteran

Melissa, a former US Navy Intelligence Officer was deployed as a liaison to foreign military operations overseas in support of counterterrorism. She has children’s books published by Doubleday and Little, Brown and her essays and articles have appeared in Newsweek, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Stars and Stripes. She recently joined the staff of New Musicals as their Artistics Ambassador where she remains passionate about bringing veteran’s stories to the musical stage. Her diverse background also includes a stint training sea lions at a Marine lab off the coast of California.

“My story was among the first chosen for development, and it would be difficult to express exactly how much the interaction brightened up the long and lonely all-by-myself days of the pandemic. My creative team from New Musicals, Inc., couldn’t have been any nicer or encouraging to me, nor more sensitive to keeping the authenticity of my story as we turned it into song. Everything about working with New Musicals was so rewarding and strangely enough, something I didn’t expect: It seemed to validate my military experience. Many veterans, especially female veterans, actually don’t believe their service is acknowledged, much less valued by society. But no matter what job they held in the military — from dental techs to payroll specialists to Humvee mechanics — everyone works together to support the troops who are on the front lines to keep our country and its allies safe. Everyone who serves makes some type of difference even if it is not always apparent.

More than twenty veterans a day die from suicide, at a rate of one death every 65 minutes. Female veterans are 250 times more likely to commit suicide than a female who has never served in the military. I know my own struggles. And my interaction with New Musicals helped me during a rough patch. We will probably never know whether ‘So Proudly We Hailed’ will save any lives, but honoring veterans is a step in the right direction.”

~~ Melissa Renee Milich / Former LT, US Navy

Katie Brady

Lyrics and Music

Katie is an award-winning composer, playwright and singer/songwriter. She’s had three musicals produced to date and her musical comedy The Test won MOST OUTSTANDING MUSICAL at the International San Diego Fringe Festival. Her songs “Hear You In The Wind,” “My Pet Rock” and “Dusty Stone Floor” (the latter co-written with the very talented Debbie Ladas) have received “Best Song” awards in multiple arenas. Katie has composed and performed both as a solo artist and front-woman for SF-based bands CrackerJack Tattoo (winner of BEST BAY AREA BAND) and Sweet Harriet.

“It was an honor to musicalize the subtle yet poignant experience this veteran had while serving overseas. She, our dramaturge, and I lovingly identified and pulled out each colorful string of the story then weaved together something fun and beautiful. What a rewarding experience!”

Elizabeth Bouton Summerer

Performer

Elizabeth is an actor/singer/vocal instructor/director and was last seen in NMI’s 15 Minute Musicals in July of 2021. A graduate of Chapman University, Elizabeth majored in vocal performance (Opera) and double minored in English Literature and Theatre. She served on the board of directors for Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse for 4 years and currently serves on the board of directors for the Westchester Playhouse, home of the Kentwood Players in Los Angeles. Other regional credits include the Curtis Theatre 40th anniversary show of The Mystery of Edwin Drood as Edwin Drood/Alice Nutting, Diana Goodman in Next to Normal, Jeannie Garstecki in The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Rona Lisa Peretti in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Meredith Parker in Bat Boy, Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music, Penelope Pennywise in UrineTown, Sandra Bloom in Big Fish, Inga in Young Frankenstein, The Witch in Into the Woods, Nancy in Oliver, Lucille Frank in Parade, Molly Brown in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, Gabby/Bobbi in City of Angels, Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, Julie Jordan in Carousel, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, The Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, Johanna in Sweeney Todd, among many others. She was noted in the LA Times as one of 2007 and 2018 best actors in Orange County for her roles as Desiree Armfeldt and Diana Goodman. She is also the owner and instructor of Inner Voice Studios. Follow the studio on Instagram at #innervoicestudios and on Facebook and you can follow her on Instagram at #bittyb_acts and/or on Facebook and YouTube!

“I have been honored and fortunate to play many roles in my life, however rarely does something really grab and draw you in. As an artist, we look for that one gem of a role which enlightens you and makes you see past the text into the soul of the piece. There is nothing better for an artist to be able to portray an actual living and breathing character. Melissa Milich’s story is beautifully intertwined with Katie Brady’s musical talent, creating a beautiful woven tapestry of mystery and intrigue, mixed with the realities of war we never see. It allows the actor to see beyond what we believe to be the norms of war, and into a tiny spec of hope that no matter how small or big we think we are, all of us matter in this world. I am truly honored to be a part of such an amazing and important project. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did help to create it.”

“Telling Billie’s story is one of the greatest privileges I’ve had, and I’m thankful to Billie for her vulnerability and generosity”

~~ Angela Parrish

Blood

A hospital Navy Corpsman discovers her personal losses intersect with the wounded soldiers in a hospital tent in Kandahar.

By Billie Estes, with music and lyrics by Angela Parrish. Directed by John Coppola. Featuring Evelyn Halus.

“Sometimes all I see in them is the casualties I know they’ll be.”

Billie’s Team

Billie Estes

Veteran

Billie is a Retired Navy Corpsman HM1, and feels that it was her honor to take care of the injured and dying of all ages and nationalities. When Billie was born, in El Paso, Texas, she and her twin Barty each weighed only about two pounds, but they were both survivors. When Billie was only two, her mother abandoned them, but at age 16, Billie ran away from home and found her mother, only to lose her again when she died a year later. At 17, Billie escaped a terrible life of abuse and incest by dropping out of tenth grade and getting married. Billie and her wonderful husband had five beautiful children, but her baby girl, Betty Ruth, died at only three days old, and Billie lost her daughter Bobbi Dee at age 29 to suicide. After twenty years of marriage, Billie’s husband died of emphysema, and she knew she needed to go to school so she could take care of her remaining children. She went to Licensed Practical Nursing school in 1984, and joined the Navy Reserve in 1990. Her deployments included Kuwait (with EMF Dallas Iraq Freedom); the USNS Comfort (Haiti, Continuing Promise); Afghanistan Operation Enduring Freedom Noble Eagle, and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. After twenty-two years of service, Billie went to college and received an Associate of Arts General Studies and an Associate of Biological Science Allied Health. She published her poems “The Cot” and “Aging” in the Kaleidoscope book of poems and short stories at Connors State College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, which is where she now lives.

“This project gave me the opportunity to tell my story of three different deployments, and face the emotions that have been hidden for over a span of fifteen years. I hope my story can help open up insights into other veterans to talk about their experiences. To realize to live and not choose to die by their own hands. To choose to live life now not in the past or even the future but now. To believe in themselves, and go for their dreams. I have had a wonderful team from Scott Guy, Elise Dewsberry, Angela Parrish, Evelyn Halus, and Johnny Coppola. New Musicals Inc. is an amazing company and so very proud to be chosen to represent my fellow veterans through this project. They made it look so easy even though it was difficult to dig in memories. That each veteran and family members have a way of grieving and dealing with emotions that are scary to really look at but we need to.”

Angela Parrish

Lyrics and Music

Angela is a Los Angeles-based songwriter, composer, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A joy-filled, authentic, collaborative, and compassionate creative who thrives in multiple genres, Angela lives for the excitement of being a musical Swiss Army Knife. She has sung alongside Ben Folds, Paul Williams, Jimmy Kimmel, Florence + the Machine, and the trio adored around the world–Donald Duck, Goofy, and Mickey Mouse. Millions of cinema devotees heard her buoyant vocals on “Another Day of Sun,” the song that opens the Academy Award-winning film musical La La Land. Angela’s 2015 debut EP, Faithful and Tall, which featured guest vocals from Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek, was nominated for a pair of Independent Music Awards. Her song “Borrowed Time” was selected as a Grand Prize Winner in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Angela is a past recipient of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and ASCAP Abe Olman Scholarship for Excellence in Songwriting and a recent New Folk Competition Finalist, following the legacy of songwriting legends and former Finalists Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams and Shawn Colvin. Most recently, Angela co-wrote original songs for the 2020 film Chance starring Matthew Modine, one of which was nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award. She also composed music for the 2020 webseries GLOP! - The Glorious Ladies of Puppetry, a phenomenal all-female troupe of Henson Company and Sesame Street puppeteers. She is the vocal producer for the BBC/Disney series “Chuggington” and is working on several upcoming projects due for release in 2021.
Twitter, IG, Tik Tok: @songsbyangela

“I’m thrilled to be a part of SO PROUDLY WE HAILED, because working alongside Petty Officer 1st Class Billie Estes has been such an honor. Billie has seen so much pain and heartbreak in her life and on the battlefield, and she has responded to all of it by caring for the needs of others. She is inherently positive, resilient, funny, and strong. Telling her story is one of the greatest privileges I’ve had, and I’m thankful to Billie for her vulnerability and generosity.”

Evelyn Halus

Performer

Evelyn Halus is a founding member of NMI’s Academy Repertory Company (ARC) and truly enjoys the process of workshopping new musicals. She recently produced Corona’s Cabaret: An Act of Destruction (Winner of the Audience Choice Award in PLAYBILL’S 1st Virtual Theatre Festival) written and performed by her daughter Oliviana Marie and husband Tom Griep. Evelyn can be heard as Eleanor Roosevelt/ Evelyn Lincoln in Michael John La Chiusa’s First Ladies Suite (PS Classics) as well as on the cast recordings for the Gershwin shows Pardon My English, Lady Be Good, and Oh, Kay! (Elektra Nonesuch). When not performing she enjoys teaching voice privately and at UCLA. Her clients include: Cher, Sutton Foster, Nathan Lane, Neil Patrick Harris, Kerry O’Malley, Megan McGinnis, Kenneth Branagh, Lindsay Mendez, Matthew Morrison and the band Depeche Mode. Evelyn is a proud member of Equity/ SAG/AFTRA.

“In the past, my husband Tom Griep and I enjoyed performing songs from WWII at his father’s 95th division (I Company) annual reunions. There was something magical about being around ‘the Greatest Generation’ of men and women who gave so much for our country. I found out in conversations with Billie Estes that her husband was one of those WWII soldiers, and she continued the legacy of service as a Nurse in the Navy. I am honored to have portrayed Billie, singing the songs of the multi-talented Angela Parrish and working closely with director Johnny Coppola, whose deep understanding of the subject matter brought BLOOD to a whole new level. God Bless You, Billie. God Bless America and all the veterans who sacrificed so much for all of us.”

John Coppola

Director

A native of Brooklyn, New York, John Coppola is a multi-talented director and acting coach, whose clients have starred on HBO, Showtime, ABC, CBS, NBC, CW, Netflix, FX, AMC, USA, Lifetime, Fox, WB, TNT and Showcase. As a director, John has helmed more than 100 theatrical productions in New York, Los Angeles and abroad. His credits include groundbreaking productions of Shakespeare, Brecht, John Patrick Shanley and Caryl Churchill, as well as critically acclaimed adaptations of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, the musicals Cabaret, Sweeny Todd, Anything Goes, and Godspell. As a film director, John’s accolades include the award for Best Director at the New York International Film & Video Festival for his film, Possibility, which also took the Grand Jury Prize for short film In Los Angeles. Then, he directed Bourbon Street, a New Orleans television pilot for Rampart Entertainment. Most recently, he directed In the Basement, a short film that is scheduled for screening at festivals across the country. John began his career as an actor, whose career took him from the footlights of Broadway to the soundstages of Hollywood. After attending Yale’s drama program, John first appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, followed by Biloxi Blues, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, American Buffalo, and the National and European revival tours of Hair, West Side Story, Grease, and Anything Goes.

“It was a such a pleasure and an honor to be a part of NMI’s Veterans’ Project. These true stories are beautifully written and come straight from the heart. It’s always wonderful to work on a project that offers a powerful message. Thank you for the opportunity!

“To find the courage to live your true self, even when surrounded by what can only be called insurmountable opposition, is a story most of us have lived through. People need to bear witness to this journey and know they are not alone.”

~~ Michael A. Shepperd

Judy & Me

A bittersweet story of a father and a son whose relationship with the military shifts over time.

Book and lyrics by J.A. Moad II; with music by Filip Holacky; featuring Michael Shepperd.

“There was this moment, Dad, this beautiful moment, when everything came together.”

Jay’s Team

J.A. Moad II

Veteran

A former Air Force C-130 pilot with over a hundred combat sorties. Jay served as an English Professor at the United States Air Force Academy and continues to serve as an editor for their international journal, War, Literature & the Arts (WLA). His short stories, poetry and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, and he is the recipient of the Consequence Magazine Fiction Award. In addition to writing, he has performed on stage at the Library of Congress and at The Guthrie Theater as part of The Telling Project - Giving Voice to the Veteran Experience. His award-winning play, Outside Paducah - the Wars at Home, had its New York debut at the Wild Project Theater in 2017 where he was nominated for Outstanding Solo Performance by the New York Innovative Theater Awards (NYIT). In 2020, he was finalist for the McKnight Fellowship in playwriting and currently reside in Northfield, MN, where he flies the Delta Airlines and continues to write.

Dedicated to the Memory of James A. Moad - 1942-2021

Filip Holacky

Lyrics and Music

Filip is a Czech composer, conductor and orchestrator based in Edinburgh, UK. He studied viola at the Brno Conservatory (Czech Republic) and has performed as both soloist and member of various chamber groups around Europe and the USA. In 2020, Filip finished his Composition studies under the tutelage of David Fennessy at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His works have won awards at various competitions and festivals, including the C4’s Composition Competition 2017 in New York and the Edinburgh Studio Opera Award for the Best New Opera in 2019. In 2020, he was chosen by an internationally acclaimed composer and conductor Bright Sheng to serve as a Composition Fellow at the festival Intimacy of Creativity in Hong Kong.

“I loved working on something new during the lockdown; not only it was very inspiring to collaborate with people at a different part of the world, I got to work on material that I probably wouldn’t have written about otherwise. Jay’s text was very inspiring and allowed me to explore new creative areas and I’m really grateful for this opportunity.”

Michael A. Shepperd

Performer

Michael has been Artistic Director or Co-Artistic Director of Celebration Theatre since 2013. CT credits include: The Boy from Oz (6 Ovation awards including best director) BootyCandy (best supporting actor, Ovation award) The Color Purple (6 Ovation Awards) Four, The Women of Brewster Place (Best Production , Ovation Award) Take Me Out, Coffee Will Make You Black, [title of show] and many others.

“This project is very special to me. This story is very special to me. To find the courage to live your true self, even when surrounded by what can only be called insurmountable opposition, is a story most of us have lived through. People need to bear witness to this journey and know they are not alone.”

 

“To be given the opportunity to give a voice to the voiceless many to whom I owe so much is one of the highlights of my career. To Addison, and to each and every service member of the United States, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a real life superhero.”

~~ Tonoccus McClain

Christmas in Afghanistan

A soldier stationed in Afghanistan accidentally buys an entire truckful of bread on Christmas Eve

By Addison Blu, with music by Michael Finke; and lyrics by Addison Blu and Michael Finke. Directed by Megan Rees. Featuring Tonoccus McClain.

“We laughed, and ate excellent bread with the rest of our meal, and nobody blew up that day”

Addison’s Team

Addison Blu

Veteran

Addison Blu is a comedy writer and a regular contributor for the military satire website The Duffel Blog. His approach to writing is that he uses sad stuff to make the funny stuff funnier and funny stuff to make the sad stuff sadder. Addison’s also an Army PSYOP combat veteran, former professional gamer, musician, member of Mensa, and entrepreneur. In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with his wife and kids, and he still loves playing video games, but at a slightly below-average skill level now.

Megan Rees

Director

Megan feels honored to help bring the true stories of American veterans to life through the medium of musical theater in So Proudly We Hailed. Megan holds a bachelors degree in Musical Theatre from Weber State University.  Directing credits include Camelot, The Importance of Being Earnest, and My Jo (a musical adaptation of Little Women).

Michael Finke

Music & Co-Lyrics

Michael Finke is an award-winning New York based musical theatre writer. He’s had his work performed at Lincoln Center, Feinstein’s/54 Below, Joe’s Pub, the Christmas Day telecast on ABC, the Green Room 42, and many more. He’s written the book, music and lyrics for musicals such as Reporting Live, Caroline and George, Surrounded By the Water, and Powerline Road. His musical short Dead Flowers is now available for licensing with Theatre Now and MTI and his upcoming debut album “Get What You Want” will be premiering later this year. Michael’s a winner of the New Voices Project with New Musicals Inc. and is a proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatist Guild.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with NMI once again and to find another awesome collaborator in the process with Addison Blu.”

Tonoccus McClain

Performer

Tonoccus McClain could be seen hosting television shows like FOX Family’s California Summer Countdown, reporting and anchoring Channel One News, performing in Beauty and the Beast live at the Hollywood Bowl, Game of Thrones Live at the LA Forum, multiple shows at the Disneyland resort, and multiple performances at the Academy Awards. He also traveled North America touring in over 2400 performances of The Lion King (Banzai u/s) for six years. He’s crossed the globe singing in countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, Germany, Mexico, the Czech Republic, Argentina, China, Canada, Australia, Finland, and across the Caribbean and back. Tonoccus was also featured in LA Opera’s Porgy and Bess at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and in the LA Master Chorale, performing at Walt Disney Concert Hall for almost a decade. He could also be heard singing on almost 50 television and film soundtracks and commercials including The Lion Guard theme song, Glee, The Good Wife, Once Upon A Time, King Kong, Avatar, A Wrinkle in Time, Smallfoot, and featured in 2019’s reimagined The Lion King.

 “As an army brat, I’ve had a front row seat to the endless sacrifices the women and men of our armed forces make each and every day. For me, there’s no greater nobility than to risk and give your all for a general public that often times has no idea what our freedom actually costs. That is the definition of honor and nobility. To be given the opportunity to give a voice to the voiceless many to whom I owe so much is one of the highlights of my career. To Addison, and to each and every service member of the United States, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a real life superhero.”

“I am deeply honored to work with Col. Paulo Gonçalves on this project. Collaborating internationally — across borders, time zones, and cultures — to bring to life this hopeful story about the importance of vigilance and global cooperation in order to maintain peace has been my great delight.”

~~ Michael Finke

The Messenger

A United Nations Peacekeeper from Portugal learns his life’s mission through a chance conversation with a five-year-old Bosnian boy.

By Paulo Jorge Machado Dias Gonçalves, with music and lyrics by Ryan Patrick Martin.

“What’s the war like in your country?”

Paulo’s Team

Paulo Jorge Machado Dias Gonçalves

Veteran

Paulo Gonçalves is a Portuguese Air Force retired Colonel. He joined the military at the age of 19, in 1991, and served for 39 years. He specialized in Air Traffic Control, having executed operational and commanding tasks on both national and international units. In addition to his specialization in air traffic control, Colonel Paulo Gonçalves was also an instructor at the Portuguese Air Force Academy and in instruction flight squadrons. He also obtained qualifications in Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense; Military Information; Public Relations, Military Protocol and Strategic Communication. Throughout his military career, he operated in 25 countries, including NATO Baltic Air Policing in the Baltic countries, NATO HQ Brussels, NATO Rapid Reaction Force (Chemical /Biological/Radiological/Nuclear Unit), NATO Lessons Learned Centre, European Union Operation Althea (Bosnia Herzegovina), United Nations missions - UNAVEM in Angola, UNPROFOR in the Former Yugoslavia, UNAMA in Afghanistan, and several other peace support/crisis resolution operations, serving Portugal in bilateral missions. Since his retirement (2020) he decided to become a storyteller, sharing his military experiences with others, having drawn cartoons and written several articles, papers and books about peacekeeping missions and crisis resolution operations. Paulo is married to Lina Gonçalves and they have three adult children.

NMI in Portgual!

This episode of our webseries, “So Proudly We Hailed,” was selected to be part of the celebrations of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers (May 29), in Lisbon, Portugal.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May, offers a chance to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian personnel’s invaluable contribution to the work of the Organization and to honour more than 4,000 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 130 last year. In Lisbon, Portugal, our episode was shown at a very prestigious event, which coincides with an exhibit at the Combatants’ Museum. We were excited and honored to be part of this international celebration.

Ryan Patrick Martin

Lyrics and Music

Ryan Martin is a playwright and composer. His original musical The Incredible Six Thousand-Foot Ladder to Heaven ran at the 2019 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival where it garnered six festival awards including Best Book, Best Music, and Best of the Festival. In 2019, he was named a recipient of New Musicals Inc.’s New Voices Project, a national distinction for emerging musical theatre writers. His original music has appeared on the podcast Lovett or Leave It. A graduate of Northwestern University, he lives, works, and hides from the weather in Chicago, Illinois. More at ryanpmartin.com.

“I am deeply honored to work with Col. Paulo Gonçalves on this project. Collaborating internationally — across borders, time zones, and cultures — to bring to life this hopeful story about the importance of vigilance and global cooperation in order to maintain peace has been my great delight.”

Eduardo Enrikez

Performer

Eduardo recently returned to the South Coast Rep familia with American Mariachi, having previously graced the stage as Sebastian in Destiny of Desire which went on to play the Goodman Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the Cincinnati Playhouse. He was in the original London West End production of the musical On Your Feet, the story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan at The London Coliseum. He will reprise his role as Emilio this fall at the Moonlight Amphitheatre. West End/European credits include: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, Eating Raoul, Time Square Angel, Saturday Night Fever, and Hair. Regional credits include: Destiny of Desire; American Mariachi; Chris in Miss Saigon (Inland Empire Award for best actor, Broadway World nomination); Vittorio Vidal in Sweet Charity (Inland Empire Award for best actor, Broadway World nomination); Emcee in Cabaret (Garland Award nomination); Mickey in Blood Brothers (Ada Award for best actor); Is This Any Way to Start a Marriage; Ragtime; The Musical of Musicals, The Musical!; Love Songs—A Musical; Bat Boy The Musical; Hercules On Normandie, and Schoolhouse Rock. Film and television credits include: Sin Frontera (best actor award, Seattle Film Festival; best actor nomination, Beaufort International Film Festival), Stigma, Emilio, Jornada al Norte, Dog Tags, The Immigrant, Infertile Hearts, The Bridge, Locked up Abroad, and Bluff. Eduardo has been awarded the ARAM Associate at The Royal Academy of Music in London. Visit eduardoenrikez.com and follow him on Instagram @eduardoenrikez.

“I’m grateful to be a small part of this wonderful series. It’s important that we honor these men and woman for their humanity in the face of adversity.”

John Coppola

Director

A native of Brooklyn, New York, John Coppola is a multi-talented director and acting coach, whose clients have starred on HBO, Showtime, ABC, CBS, NBC, CW, Netflix, FX, AMC, USA, Lifetime, Fox, WB, TNT and Showcase. As a director, John has helmed more than 100 theatrical productions in New York, Los Angeles and abroad. His credits include groundbreaking productions of Shakespeare, Brecht, John Patrick Shanley and Caryl Churchill, as well as critically acclaimed adaptations of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, the musicals Cabaret, Sweeny Todd, Anything Goes, and Godspell. As a film director, John’s accolades include the award for Best Director at the New York International Film & Video Festival for his film, Possibility, which also took the Grand Jury Prize for short film In Los Angeles. Then, he directed Bourbon Street, a New Orleans television pilot for Rampart Entertainment. Most recently, he directed In the Basement, a short film that is scheduled for screening at festivals across the country. John began his career as an actor, whose career took him from the footlights of Broadway to the soundstages of Hollywood. After attending Yale’s drama program, John first appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, followed by Biloxi Blues, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, American Buffalo, and the National and European revival tours of Hair, West Side Story, Grease, and Anything Goes.

“It was a such a pleasure and an honor to be a part of NMI’s Veterans’ Project. These true stories are beautifully written and come straight from the heart. It’s always wonderful to work on a project that offers a powerful message. Thank you for the opportunity!

“The songs in this project have the power to do more than just tell a story. It’s an honor to be a part of it and, in some small way, perhaps assist in narrating a recovery.”

~~ Ron Barnett

Chasing Ghosts

Based on the Iraq War memoir, An Angel From Hell, by Ryan A. Conklin; with music by Ron Barnett and lyrics by Christine Croyden; featuring Troy Armond Barboza.

“Hidden sniper with telescopic lens … perched and waiting for my friends….”

Ryan’s Team

Ryan A. Conklin

Veteran

Right out of high school, Conklin enlisted in the U.S. Army and became an Infantryman. He served active duty in the famed 187th Infantry “Rakkasans” Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Division. He served a yearlong combat tour in Iraq from 2005-2006, where he participated in the security of Saddam Hussein’s trial and combat operations in-and-around Tikrit, Iraq. Conklin spent a second combat tour in Baghdad in 2009. He published a war memoir on his first combat tour, titled: An Angel from Hell: Real Life on the Front Lines in 2010. He was Honorably Discharged that same year, at the rank of sergeant. Some of his military awards include: the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, two Good Conduct Medals, the Air Assault Badge, the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

Conklin earned a B.A. in Film and Media Arts from Temple University. He was a cast member of MTVs Real World: Brooklyn in 2009. He published his second book, The 18th New York Infantry in the Civil War in 2016. He currently resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where he continually serves his community as a Professional Firefighter and EMT.

Christine Croyden

Lyrics

Christine Croyden is a Melbourne-based playwright, lyricist and novelist. Her plays are licensed and published by Australian plays.org https://apt.org.au/playwright/ASC-3983. She writes character-based drama, and storytelling is her passion. In 2011 Croyden was selected for the Inaugural Stage and Screen Residency at Varuna. In 2012 she was the recipient of a Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) Scholarship and was mentored by lyricist, Jack Robinson in Paris and MMD (Mercury Musical Developments) in London. She completed a six-month playwriting residency at the Cartoucherie, a French theatre company in Paris in 2017.  Her play UNDERGROUND, inspired by the adventures of Nancy Wake – a WW2 special agent, was produced in March 2019 and toured various Melbourne theatres, and it is now available in French translation. Her most recent play, JOY was produced at Heide Museum of Modern Art together with the Joy Hester exhibition in February 2021. She is also the author of two novels for young adults and many short stories and articles.

For further information please visit Christine’s website www.christinecroyden.com

“I have enjoyed working with veteran, Ryan Conklin, and composer Ron Barnett for SO PROUDLY WE HAILED.”

Ron Barnett

Music

Ron Barnett is Director of Music and Sacred Arts at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, Glendale. Full length musicals, as composer: Manson’s Girls with book by Scott Guy, lyrics by Mitch Glaser, When Butter Churns to Gold with book by Peter Welkin and lyrics by Randi Wolfe, and A Christmas Carol with book by Barry Kornhauser, published in 2013 by Dramatic Publishing Company. With lyricist Greg Edwards, Ron was a finalist for the 2010 and 2012 Fred Ebb Prize.

“The songs in this project have the power to do more than just tell a story. It’s an honor to be a part of it and, in some small way, perhaps assist in narrating a recovery.”

Troy Armand Barboza

Performer

Troy is an actor, singer, director, script consultant, and automation technician from Boston. Throughout New England and New York, he’s been involved in dozens upon dozens of productions with people you probably don’t know at places you’ve likely never heard of, except for maybe Ithaca College and the American Repertory Theater. He was nominated for his performance as Billy Downs in an award-winning production of The Libertine, directed by Eric Tucker, so that was cool. In addition to performing in Chasing Ghosts, Troy also works as one of the A/V technicians for the Veterans’ Project. Check out some of his work at TroyArmandBarboza.com or follow his shenanigans on Instagram @TroyArmandBarboza

“I am honored to be a part of this project honoring veterans. A second-generation American on both sides of my family, both of my grandfathers served in WWII fighting for the United States of America, their chosen homeland. They both passed before I was born, so this opportunity to engage with first-hand veteran stories has been insightful to the spirit of my family’s service.”

“I am excited to be a part of NMI’s Veteran’s Project, and to help bring the real-life stories of American veterans to life. I am particularly grateful to be able to help tell the stories of female veterans; stories that are often overlooked or untold, but offer incredibly important and powerful messages.”

~~ Megan Rees

The Interrogator

An interrogator grills the only female prisoner in Bagram on charges of terrorism.

By Elaine Little; with music and lyrics by Joshua H. Cohen; featuring Megan Rees.

“I’m not here to get her to confess. Close up the case. Just get her out of this place.”

Elaine’s Team

Elaine Little

Veteran

Elaine Little served in the active-duty Army, then transferred to the Reserves and the National Guard, where she was deployed to Guantanamo, Bosnia, and Afghanistan while raising three children. She is a writer, who won first place at the 2019 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival for her essay, “Now It’s You,” and is a current semi-finalist in the Cinestory TV pilot retreat workshop. Her work has appeared in many literary magazines, most recently “The Tupelo Quarterly.” Her essay, “Edit and Spin,” about her experiences during a deployment to Afghanistan, was published in the acclaimed literary anthology: “Powder, Writing by Women in the Ranks, from Vietnam to Iraq.” She was recently awarded a place in the 2021 cohort for the AT&T Veterans Media Fellowship. After many years of working at jobs she hated, she drove to California with two cats in the back seat during the height of the pandemic. Her day job is Veterans Outreach Coordinator at the VA, a job she definitely doesn’t hate. Since she enjoys writing television specs and original television pilots, she thinks Los Angeles is the place for her.

“NMI’s support of Veterans is truly inspiring. When I returned from Afghanistan, I was ready to make some changes in my life. Writing was my way of coping. Writing is not only my passion. It’s also therapy. But I also like to get my work out there. NMI understands that the experiences that Veterans go through, though often painful, have the potential to become art that not only entertains but educates. In a nation where less than one-half percent of the population has served in the military, getting this information out is vital.”

Joshua H. Cohen

Lyrics and Music

Joshua’s honors include a Jonathan Larson Grant, the Anna Zornio Children’s Theatre Playwriting Award (lyrics, Keep On Walkin’), and a MAC Award nomination for his cult cabaret hit “The Sacrifice of Love” (a.k.a. the waxing song). Productions include play The Thirteenth Commandment (Libra Theater, 7 NY Innovative Theater Award nominations, 2 wins; published by Next Stage Press), musical Tamar of the River (Prospect Theatre, 2 Drama Desk nominations, world premiere recording from Yellow Sound Label), and children’s musical Flight School (Vital Theatre, OCR available, national and international tour). Many other productions, readings, and workshops across the country; for more details visit www.JoshuaHCohen.com.

“I am the son of a Vietnam Marine who was denied a veteran’s license plate because he wanted it as a vanity plate that said PEACE. I’m honored to be a part of telling the vital stories of the veterans of America’s 21st-century military operations. Many thanks to Elise, Scott, Megan, and especially Elaine for entrusting me with this story.”

Megan Rees

Performer

Megan graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Musical Theater from Weber State University. Favorite musical theatre roles include: Sibella in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Marguerite in The Scarlet Pimpernel, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and Mayzie in Seussical. She also enjoys directing, writing, and producing. Favorite directing projects include Camelot, The Importance of Being Earnest, and My Jo (a musical adaptation of Little Women). In her free time, Megan is a nap and puppy enthusiast, and is not opposed to combining the two.

“I am excited to be a part of NMI’s Veteran’s Project, and to help bring the real-life stories of American veterans to life. I am particularly grateful to be able to help tell the stories of female veterans; stories that are often overlooked or untold, but offer incredibly important and powerful messages.”

Call for Submissions

Submissions for the current round are now CLOSED.

This project is hosted by New Musicals Inc. This activity is supported in part by a generous grant from the Helen and Jose Colton Foundation, the Peter Glenville Foundation, the Anonymous Fund (Marin County), and the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more about the Arts Council at www.arts.ca.gov.