New Musical, Studs Terkel's "The Good War," Gets Premiere at IL's Northlight; Carnelia and Bell Collaborate

News   New Musical, Studs Terkel's "The Good War," Gets Premiere at IL's Northlight; Carnelia and Bell Collaborate
Northlight Theatre in Skokie, Illinois, concludes its 2003 04 season May 12-June 20 with the world premiere musical, Studs Terkel's "The Good War," based on Terkel's book of the same name, about World War II.

The original musical is written by David H. Bell and Craig Carnelia, and directed by Bell. The score is made up of new arrangements of classic 1940s songs. Carnelia penned orchestrations, arrangements and some new lyrics for songs in the public domain, Northlight artistic director BJ Jones told Playbill On-Line.

Inspired by the Chicago writer's Pulitzer Prize-winning oral history, Studs Terkel's "The Good War" "integrates the poignant personal stories of Terkel's narrative with some of the most moving and memorable music from the World War II era," according to Northlight. "The production portrays a collection of Everyman/Everywoman characters, all recounting the myriad of ways in which Americans and their ideals were affected and changed forever by the war."

Bell (Hot Mikado) and composer-lyricist Carnelia (Imaginary Friends, Sweet Smell of Success) "have constructed a dynamic staging of Terkel's powerful book, fusing the actual memories of veterans recounted in the text with patriotic songs of the era" including "We Did It Before and We Can Do it Again," "Goodbye Mama, I'm Off to Yokohama," "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "I'll Be Seeing You" and many others.

Carnelia is no stranger to the populist histories Terkel creates. He previously contributed four songs to the Tony Award-nominated Terkel-inspired musical, Working (memorably penning "Just a Housewife").

Ensemble cast members for the Northlight Theatre production of Studs Terkel's "The Good War" include Joshua Campbell, Jeremy Cohen, Patrick Gagnon, George Keating, Ron Rains, Jacquelyn Ritz, Jeff Still and Stef Tovar. Designers are Tom Burch (set), Todd Hensley (lighting), Nan Zabriskie (costume), Robert Neuhaus (sound) and Nate Doud and Ian Forester (properties). An on-stage band will provide music (and also contribute to the narrative) for the production.

Carnelia has worked with director David H. Bell on numerous projects, including the recent original musical Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief.

Carnelia's credits also include the Broadway musical Is There Life After High School?, and Off-Broadway production of Three Postcards.

The opening for Studs Terkel's "The Good War" is May 19. Tickets range $32-$48. For information, call (847) 673-6300 or visit


Northlight artistic director BJ Jones and managing director Phil Santora announce the show as the third commissioned work to be supported by the Selma Melvoin Playwriting Award. The award was founded in memory of Selma Melvoin, a longtime North Shore resident and supporter of Northlight Theatre.

Northlight Theatre is reaching out to resident World War II veterans in the area during the run of the work. According to the announcement, "During each performance, a service man or woman will stand up and be recognized for his or her service to this country by participating in an on-stage flag ceremony. Over the course of the production's run, more than 40 veterans will be participating in the show in this way."

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