AVAILABLE NOW! YANK! features a lively and tuneful score inspired by the theatre and pop sounds of the 1940’s, newly orchestrated by legendary Broadway orchestrator Jonathan Tunick. The PS Classics album reunites Original Off-Broadway cast members Bobby Steggert (Tony nominee, Ragtime; Big Fish), Ivan Hernandez (Into the Woods), Nancy Anderson (Far From Heaven) and Jeffry Denman (White Christmas) under the baton of music director Rob Berman.
Some stories didn’t make it into the history books…
YANK! – THE STORY:
YANK! begins with a young man in present-day San Francisco who finds an old diary in a junk shop…
Through the journal we learn the story of Stu, a scared Midwestern kid who gets drafted in 1943, and who – like most guys – spends Basic Training wrestling with fears of whether he “has what it takes” to make it in the Army. But unlike most guys, Stu also falls in love with a fellow Private, a handsome All-American guy named Mitch…
A friendship between Stu and Mitch leads to an awkward kiss on a train… after which a terrified Stu (scared of his feelings for Mitch, scared he’s not “man enough to fight on the front”) meets Artie – an unapologetically queer reporter for Yank Magazine, the journal “for and by the servicemen.” Artie pulls some strings and gets Stu assigned as his photographer, and also shows Stu a glimpse of the gay world that thrived just beneath the surface of the US Army in the 1940s…
But after 10 months fate brings Stu and Mitch back together again as Mitch’s division heads for battle at Iwo Jima, while Stu and Artie cover the story for Yank Magazine… and Stu has to fight in ways he never expected.
….YANK! tells Stu’s, Mitch’s, and Artie’s stories, as well as the stories of the other men in Charlie Company. It explores what it means to be a man, and what it is to fall in love and struggle to survive in a time and place where the odds are stacked against you.
YANK! THE SHOW:
YANK! is a love song to Hollywood’s “it takes one of every kind” platoon flicks and to 1940s Broadway. Suffused with songs (swing, big band, boogie-woogie) it explores what stories get told in wartime, and how WWII became the great catalyst in bringing gay men and women together.
While all the characters in Yank! are fictional, all of the situations and viewpoints come directly from memoirs and oral histories of gay (and straight) service members who took part in WWII. David spent hundreds of hours combing archives, researching these “hidden” histories, even having letters sent to him from around the country from old veterans or their families. Now as this generation begins to slip irrevocably into history, the YANK! team remains dedicated to the hope that their experiences will not be forgotten.
JOSEPH AND DAVID ZELLNIK – Composer and Lyricist/Bookwriter
Joseph and David are author of a number of musicals seen in New York and beyond. Their Off-Broadway musical YANK! received 7 Drama Desk nominations (including for his book and lyrics) as well as nominations from the Outer Critics’ Circle, and Lucille Lortel Foundation. YANK! also had an award winning run at the Gallery Players in Brooklyn 2007 (IT Award for Best Musical, GLAAD nomination for best Off-Off Broadway Musical) and a sold out run in San Diego’s Diversionary Theatre 2008. Several regional productions are planned for the 2013/2014 season.
Their previous musicals include First in Flight: The Wright Brothers for TheaterworksUSA, which toured the country to raves in 2004-05, and City of Dreams, which was performed at the first International Music Theatre Festival (Cardiff, Wales 2002), the Midtown International Theatre Festival (New York, 2002), and which won the National Music Theatre Network competition in 2003. Two songs from City of Dreams appear on Alison Fraser’s album Men In My Life.
DAVID’s numerous plays include: SERENDIB (The Hippodrome 2011; Off-Broadway Ensemble Studio Theatre 2008, created with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation who sent him for 2 months to Sri Lanka to observe the scientists studying macaques in Polonnaruwa); ARIEL SHARON STANDS AT THE TEMPLE MOUNT AN DREAMS OF THEODORE HERZL (Epic Theatre Ensemble, Theatre J); LET A HUNDRED FLOWERS BLOOM (OOBR Award winner for Best Play, seen in London and NYC; t.b.perf in Portland at the Defunkt Theatre Company, Feb 2014); as well as the one-acts FOR ELISE, IDEOGRAM and KILLING HAND were all in various Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Marathons. Recently 3 of his one act plays were performed in Italian in Milan (2012). Blue Coyote Theatre Company has commissioned a new full length titled HUNTERS AND THIEVES. Recently, David worked with Disney Theatricals to create PETER PAN JR (music, Eric Svejcar) which has been licensed and have several concurrent productions starting in 2013/2014.
He has been given grants from the Sloan Foundation, NYSCA, Jerome Foundation. He is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and The Playwrights Unit, as well as The Dramatists Guild.
JOSEPH’s solo work includes two dance pieces for the Chase Brock Experience, incidental music/songs for “The Tempest” at NYU, and – as composer/lyricist – the musical “The Uncrowned Queen of Ireland” and various songs for cabaret performers. Joseph was the first recipient of the Rosetti Grant, which resulted in the musical “Trust Me” and has been a member of the BMI Workshop and the Nautilus Librettist Workshop at New Dramatists. An evening of his solo work was featured as part of the Songbook Series at the Donnell Library. Joe received a BA in Music from Duke University, where he was the recipient of the Mary Duke Biddle Composition Scholarship, and the Henry Schumann Award for Composition in 1991.
In addition, Joe is co-author (along with his sister Miriam) of two historical mystery novels, “Murder at the Portland Variety” and “A Death at the Rose Paperworks”. For more, check out http://www.LibbySeale.com.