Tony nominee Blair Underwood is developing a new Broadway-bound musical based on the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, an all Black and all female Army battalion. The 6888th were given the mission of solving a crisis of more than 17 million pieces of backlogged mail in England and France during World War II.
Currently in development under the working title 6888 The Musical, the new musical will have a book by Morgan J Smart and music and lyrics by Ronvé O’Daniel, with orchestrations by composer Jevares C. Myrick. Producing alongside Underwood are Holly Garman and Joe Trentacosta, who together conceived the idea. The team will be aided by historical advisors Ret. U.S. Army Col. Edna Cummings and James Theres.
Despite the racism and sexism they faced often from their own leadership, the unit completed their mission in surprising time, eliminating a threat to troop morale. Earlier this week, the House of Representatives unanimously voted to award the unit the Congressional Gold medal, one of the United States’ highest civilian honors. Once the law is signed by President Biden, the 6888th will be the only female unit serving in a military status to receive the award as well as the only unit from the Women’s Army Corps and the only African American female unit.
Garman said in a statement “After reading about the 6888 in the New York Times back in September 2020, we immediately knew that the story of these incredible women had to be brought to the stage. It is thrilling that the 6888 are finally being awarded Congressional Gold Medals at the exact moment that our creative team came together this year.”
Telling military stories is familiar to Underwood who played Captain Richard Davenport in Roundabout Theatre Company's A Soldier’s Play in 2020. His performance earned him a Tony nomination for Best Lead Actor in a Play.