In honor of the 100th year of Veterans Day and the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University, the play “If All the Sky Were Paper” is coming home to Chapman’s Musco Center for the Arts stage for a special Veteran’s Day performance on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Academy Award-nominated and returning actor Annette Bening, actor Gary Cole (“VEEP”), Daytime Emmy Award-winning actress Kate Mansi and celebrated actor Ed Asner have joined the cast to date. In addition, acclaimed composer Peter Boyer has created an original and compelling score for this production performed with live musicians.
“If All the Sky Were Paper” is a powerful, humorous, and unforgettable play about one man, Andrew Carrol, and his journey around the world for the “most extraordinary war letters ever written.” The play features actual letters written by troops and their loved ones from the American Revolution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the play, Andrew Carroll is portrayed by a Narrator, who recounts Carroll’s real-life travels around the world, which are at times heartbreaking and harrowing, and inspiring. Professional and celebrity actors portray the military men and women (as well as their loved ones at home) who wrote the letters.
Each of these letters chosen for the play express the full spectrum of emotions and experiences in times of war—from the ferocity of combat to moments of camaraderie and levity. These are remarkable communications as captured during intimate moments of wartime.
“If All The Sky Were Paper” is directed by John Benitz, and produced by Victoria Morris of Lexikat Artists in collaboration with Chapman’s Department of Theater and Musco Center. The play is written by historian Andrew Carroll and is based on Carroll’s search across the globe for the most riveting and powerful war letters ever written.
The play features letters from Carroll’s two New York Times bestsellers “War Letters” and “Behind the Lines,” all brought to life by an ensemble cast of actors.
“There has, I believe, never been a coordinated initiative of this size and scope to save American war-related letters and emails,” Carroll says. “These correspondences help us honor and remember the troops, veterans, and military family members who have served this nation—these are their words, their voices, and no one can tell their stories better than they can. I also hope this campaign encourages people to write letters to their loved ones about their wartime experiences, even if they relate to events that happened years ago.”
“In having actors bring these letters to life, we are allowing these brave troops and their loved one’s stories to live on in ‘If All the Sky Were Paper,’” said John Benitz, director of the play and chair of Chapman University’s Department of Theater.
The play premiered at Chapman University in 2010 and has been presented at The Kennedy Center and LA’s Kirk Douglas Theatre. Actors who have previously performed in the play include Laura Dern, Annette Bening, Common, Gary Cole, Ken Howard, Lauren Bowles, Peter Strauss, Mary Steenburgen, Jeanne Philips (aka Dear Abby), Sandra Seacat, Brad Hall, Scott Simon and Kate Mansi.
If All the Sky Were Paper
Where: Chapman University’s Musco Center for the Performing Arts, One University Drive, Orange
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10
How much: Range in price from $25-$65 with special 50% discounts for veterans and Chapman students.
Web: Tickets are available at muscocenter.org
Reviews and Praise for If All the Sky Were Paper
“Andrew Carroll has assembled a collection of previously unpublished letters that run the gamut of wartime emotion. An excellent compilation that I enjoyed very much—and believe you will, too.”
– War hero and astronaut John Glenn
“From the American Revolution to Iraq, everything is here: the terror and exhilaration of…combat, love letters, funny letters, letters from civilians caught in the middle of war…”
– Joseph L. Galloway, author of We Were Soldiers Once…and Young
A three-minute trailer about the play can be seen here: https://bit.ly/1Jeiou2