WWII-era musical ‘YANK’ opens this week at Richmond Triangle Players

Performances begin with a special preview night on Wednesday, May 13th.

A new performance from the Richmond Triangle players kicks off this week at their Scott’s Addition theatre, all based off of memoirs and oral histories of World War II service members.

From Richmond Triangle Players:

YANK! is a love song to Hollywood’s “it takes one of every kind” platoon flicks and to 1940s Broadway — exploring what stories get told in wartime, and how WWII became the great catalyst in bringing gay men and women together. The score pays direct homage to the Rodgers & Hammerstein style with its soaring melodies and open romanticism.

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.

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 (played by Drew Colletti), 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, an All-American guy named Mitch (Ed Hughes). 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 (Alex Burkart) – an unapologetically gay 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. Fate soon 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.

RTP’s production also features Patrick Bello Keith Fitzgerald, Luke Newsome, Tyler Nobles, Matt Riley, Tyler Wilson, Joe Winters and Georgia Rogers Farmer.

YANK! The WWII Musical opens Thursday, May 14th, and runs Thursday through Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM through June 13, with Sunday matinees May 24th and 31st and June 7th at 4:00 PM. There will be a low-priced preview on Wednesday, May 13th at 8:00 PM.

You can learn more and purchase tickets online here.

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Trevor Dickerson

Trevor Dickerson loves all things Richmond and manages RVANews’ West of the Boulevard and West End community sites.

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