The Southeast community and public are invited to join The Conservatory of Theatre and Dance for the first staged reading of “An American Hero” from 6-10 p.m. in the Robert F. and Gertrude L. Shuck Music Recital Hall at Southeast’s River Campus. The new musical is written by Southeast student Cody Cole, a senior musical theatre major, and Dr. Kenn Stilson, chair of The Conservatory, and is set to be part of the Overtures Staged Reading Series by the Off-Off Broadway Company the Gallery Players in Brooklyn, New York, in December. The musical represents the amazing achievement and talent of Southeast’s students and is a true collaboration of faculty and students.
“An American Hero” tells the embattled story of Thomas O’Brien, an optimistic Irish immigrant, who joins the United States Army, falls in love with and marries a spirited American woman before being sent to fight alongside his brother in the Second World War. He sacrifices and suffers terrible losses during the war, while on the home-front, his wife, Mary, forgoes her education to join the war effort and grieves the loss of their unborn child. Both Thomas and Mary endure the war, but their battles take heavy tolls. On the celebration of his return, Mary tells Thomas he is to be awarded the Medal of Honor, an accolade he rejects for simply surviving the worst day of his life. In the end, Thomas learns the depths of his love of family, the sacrifices of heroes, and the true meaning of becoming an American.