Last week, I told you about students collaborating with a professor on a sculpture. This week, we head to the stage. Two and half years ago, Southeast student Cody Cole had an idea. As we’ll hear from chair of Southeast’s Conservatory of Theatre and Dance, Kenn Stilson, the rest is making history.
"Cody had written an early version of a song, and I thought “this guy has got a lot of talent.” He also had an idea about a musical set during WWII about an Irish American soldier suffering from PTSD. After a couple meetings, I agreed to write the book, while Cody began writing the lyrics and music.
Good writing is hard work—extremely hard work. In the 2 ½ years we’ve been working on this project thus far, we’ve written dozens upon dozens of different drafts of the music and book, always trying to make it better, more compelling. The entire process is challenging, and collaboration among artists makes it even more complicated. That’s why this is so unusual at the undergraduate university level.
I’m very proud of Cody. He’s got such a bright future ahead of him. He’s an exceptional talent, and I have a lot of respect for him, and I feel he respects my work. In the end, I think we’re going to have a very good finished production we can eventually get published.
Our program has done original plays in the past, but this will be the first original musical we’ve ever produced. We really think An American Hero will resonate with our audiences. This story is really universal. It’s about love, courage, patriotism, and the sacrifices we make to ensure the liberties we enjoy. I really want our audiences to know just how special this production will be, and we hope they will come out in droves to witness the world premiere, the birth of a new musical. It’s a rare opportunity. "
You can secure tickets to "An American Hero" at RiverCampus.org and I hope to see you soon at the Box Office!