Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti—the subject of a new musical The American Dream—were Italian immigrants and anarchists who, in 1920, found themselves framed for a robbery and murder they did not commit. Although the defense produced many witnesses who pleaded the men's innocence, Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in 1927. This great miscarriage of American justice inspired the ire of such writers as John Dos Passos and poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, who recognized that Sacco and Vanzetti died for their politics and not for any crime.
Composers, too, have picked up on the story - American operas by Marc Blitzstein (The Cradle Will Rock) and Anton Coppola have been performed and folk singer Woody Guthrie wrote a famous ballad about the pair. But Belgium brings in the first musical about Sacco and Vanzetti, The American Dream, written by Dirk Brosse, Frank Van Laecke and Paul Berkenman. New York City's Lark Theatre Company reads Tony Giordano and Neil Thomas Proto's adaptation of the musical April 4-8 in a BareBones production.
Giordano directs The American Dream. Featured in the cast are Tom Zemon (Les Miserables), Tom Flynn (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), John Antony, Jimmy Demers, Lenora Eve, Kelly Famolaro, Jonathan Hammond, Tom Galantich, Lauri Landry, Mark Peters and Wayne Shroder.
The American Dream, under the title Sacco & Vanzetti, debuted in Belgium in October, 1996. Stijn Connix (Oscar nominee for "Daens") directed. Composer Brosse and director van Laecke also worked together on the recent musical Tintin and the Temple of the Sun.
$15 tickets are available by calling (212) 246-2676. The Lark Theatre is located at 939 Eighth Avenue and on the web at http://www.larktheatre.org. BareBones productions are fully-staged with suggestions of set, lighting, costumes and music. Recent BareBones stagings have included Pera Palas playwright Sinan Unel's Tolstoy's Den, KNEPP, Hilly Hicks Jr.'s A Hole in the Dark and David Rambo's Rhinebeck.
— By Christine Ehren