Milwaukee's Skylight Music Theatre streams the first staged concert readings of Fortunate Sons, a new musical with a score by Oscar and Grammy winner Paul Williams and a book by Eric R. Cohen and Marc Madnick, February 19 and 20 at 8:30 PM ET.
The cast features Stephanie Staszak as Abby Willet, Joey Chelius as RJ Willet, Chad Larget as Robert Willet, Joseph Nolan as Wayne Wille, Jamie Lynn Mercado as Beth Willet, Frankie Zabilka as Cliff Willet, George Lorimer as Troy Willet, Denzel Taylor as Willy Taylor, and Amanda Satchell as Claire Willet.
Michael Unger directs, with musical direction by Eric Svejcar.
The new musical is set in 1969 and centers on the turbulent times during the Vietnam War and the first draft lottery held since 1942.
“I lived through the Draft Lottery of 1969. Although I was passionately opposed to the war, I knew young men who answered the call and served their country in Vietnam,” says composer Williams, who won an Oscar for co-writing the song "Evergreen" with Barbra Streisand for 1976's A Star Is Born remake. “Reading Eric and Marc’s remarkable script gave those courageous souls and their families a commanding voice I couldn’t ignore. The Willet family's humor, resilience, and especially their love for one another spoke directly to my heart. It helps to care deeply about the characters you’re writing for, and I fell in love with this beautiful American family. Fortunate Sons is a tribute to the veterans who suffered and celebrated this historic demand on the youth of America and their families. It’s an honor to bring music to their journey.”
Tickets are free, but contributions are suggested. Click here for more information.
(Updated February 19, 2021)