Veterans | NewMusicalsInc /* Mobile Menu Retract ---------------------------------*/

“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. 

We are launching the resulting videos over the next few months - so please check back here often to find out what’s next!

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)
the California Arts Council, a state agency.

The Messenger

“What’s the war like in your country?

By Paulo Jorge Machado Dias Gonçalves, with music and lyrics by Ryan Patrick Martin.  A United Nations Peacekeeper from Portugal learns his life’s mission through a chance conversation with a five-year-old Bosnian boy.

Stayed tuned for the full episode coming soon!

In the meantime, please enjoy these excerpts and interviews.

“The Messenger” - the full episode

The Veteran:

Paulo Jorge Machado Dias Gonçalves

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.

An interview with veteran Paulo Goncalves

“How to Get To Sarajevo” - a song excerpt from “The Messenger”

An interview with Eduardo Enrikez, as Paulo Goncalves, in “The Messenger”

NMI in Portugal!

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.


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

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.

Watch the full episode now!

Plus song excerpts and interviews.

“The Interrogator” - the full episode”

The 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.

an interview with veteran Elaine Little

An interview with Megan Rees, as Elaine Little, in “The Interrogator”

An excerpt from the song “I Wanted”

An excerpt from the song “Out Of Place”

The Team:

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

“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.”


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

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.

CHASING GHOSTS - the full episode

The 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.


An interview with veteran/writer Ryan A. Conklin

A song excerpt from the title song in the episode “Chasing Ghosts”

An interview with Troy Armand Barboza, as Ryan A. Conklin, in “Chasing Ghosts”

The Team:


Christine Croyden is a Melbourne-based playwright, lyricist and novelist. Her plays are licensed and published by Australian 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

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



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 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 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.”

Judy & Me

A bittersweet story of a father and a son whose relationship with the military shifts over time.  By J.A. Moad II; with music by Filip Holacky; featuring Michael Shepperd.

Stayed tuned for the full episode coming soon!

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


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. Featuring Evelyn Halus.

Stayed tuned for the full episode coming soon!

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

Christmas in Afghanistan

Book by Addison Blu, Lyrics by Michael Finke and Addison Blu, music by Michael Finke. A soldier stationed in Afghanistan accidentally buys an entire truckful of bread on Christmas Eve.

Stayed tuned for the full episode coming soon!

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

An English Major in Camouflage

By Melissa Milich; with music and lyrics by Katie Brady. A former English major is commanded to teach literature to a foreign general.  Unexpectedly, the safety of her regiment, and even the entire region, depends upon her success.  

Stayed tuned for the full episode coming soon!

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

The Next Three episodes

We are currently working on our next three episodes, which range from comical to disturbing:

The Shooter, by Brenda Garcia.  The U.S. Navy gave her a camera instead of a gun.

Still Standing Proud, based on the service of an anonymous soldier who endured a devastasting assault. A difficult but important personal story of Military Sexual Trauma. 

Blowing Stuff Up, by Vietnam vet George Nolly, who left the Air Force with the award of Tactical Air Command Instructor Pilot of the Year.

You can help.

We have secured funding for the first ten episodes of this series, but we still have many submissions from many amazing veterans whose stories we would love to share.  These episodes cost thousands of dollars, and we also make sure we pay the veterans themselves.  Please help us fund future episodes.

Call for Submissions

Submissions are closed for this round.

Next submission date:  summer or fall 2021.  Email if you’d like us to send you an alert when the submissions open up again..

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