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.

Episode #1: CHASING GHOSTS

“Hidden sniper with telescopic lens
…p
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.

The full episode will launch on June 27.

In the meantime, please enjoy these excerpts and interviews.

The Veteran:

RYAN A. CONKLIN

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

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

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

The Team:

CHRISTINE CROYDEN (Book and Lyrics)

Christine Croyden is a Melbourne-based playwright, lyricist and novelist. Her plays are licensed and published by Australian plays.org https://australianplays.org/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.”

Episode #2: THE INTERROGATOR

“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 Cohen; featuring Megan Rees.

The full episode is scheduled to launch on July 14.

In the meantime, please enjoy these excerpts and interviews.

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

The Veteran:

ELAINE LITTLE

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.

Episode #4: BLOOD

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

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.

The full episode is scheduled to launch on July 28.

In the meantime, please enjoy these excerpts and interviews.

The Veteran:

BILLIE ESTES

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.
Billie says,

“No matter what is thrown at you, do not ever give up on your dreams. Learn to love yourself! Seek help, as I did for my PTSD. Do not be ashamed! You have seen things and done things you never thought you would do. You stepped up to the plate and served your country well. Hold your head up high and believe in yourself. Seek help if you need to only you can take care of yourself.”

Episode #3: 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.

The full episode will launch on July 21.

In the meantime, please enjoy these excerpts and interviews.

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 Eduardo Enrikez, as Paul 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.

Judy and 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 and lyrics by Filip Holacky; featuring Michael Shepperd.

This episode is scheduled to launch on August 25.

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

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.  

This episode is scheduled to launch on September 15.

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

Christmas in Afghanistan

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

This episode is scheduled to launch on September 29.

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

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 Shit 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 admin@nmi.org 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 www.arts.ca.gov.