LETTERS FROM THE FRONT

The Broadway-style production that honors US troops, their families & veterans

25 YEARS LATER AND LETTERS FROM THE FRONT IS STILL GOING STRONG!

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Why did LETTERS FROM THE FRONT become so beloved by audiences around the world, both military and civilian? What makes it so unique?

Stars Kathleen Hogan & Tim Ross receive a standing-O at a recent performance.

Stars Kathleen Hogan & Tim Ross receive a standing-O at a recent performance.

Kimball Williams belts out a rousing rendition of the National Anthem on opening night.

Kimball Williams belts out a rousing rendition of the National Anthem on opening night.

Perhaps it’s because this 3-act dramedy is the only play in which actual war correspondence written by soldiers and their loved ones throughout American history are interwoven into a story that takes place on the home front and honestly reflects the personal themes found in the letters themselves.

It’s about the commitment to preserve freedom, from Valley Forge to now. It’s a story that’s as relevant today as it was when it first opened 25 years ago. LETTERS FROM THE FRONT is entertaiment with a mission.
2015CalebLetterV2 Katharine Hartgrove, played to perfection by Kathleen Hogan, is a popular writer of human interest stories. She’s also a war mom. Her son Stuart is fighting in Northern Italy during the final days of the war in Europe. Katharine goes all-out to support the war effort. She has a night job at the submarine plant in nearby Groton, CT building torpedo tubes. She even donates her tires to the rubber drive and now must rely on public transportation to get around. She’s also been commissioned to write a play based on actual war correspondence going back as far as the Revolutionary War.

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Since Katharine has never written anything to be performed before she enlists the aid of her boyfriend Johnny Chastain, played hilariously by Tim Ross. Johnny is America’s favorite radio comic, known as “Mr. Entertainer.” Katharine refers to him as “that two-legged typhoon with way too many hands.” Johnny is only too happy to assist Katharine – anyway he can. To say the two have very different visions of how the war letters should be presented is the understatement of the year. Johnny sees them as source material for a flag-waving patriotic pageant. Katharine sees them as meaningful and to a degree sacred; a gateway to the human spirit.
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Letters From The Front is a unique blend of live theatre, original music as well as popular music from the era. There are also hundreds of images that illustrate the different war letters as they are being read. Other images reveal Katharine and Johnny’s lives prior to the events shown on stage. Considerable time and effort, as well as photographic magic, was required to create these images, including shots of Katharine when she was a young flapper during the 20’s, her cover photo for Life, even a shot of Katharine and Johnny caught off-guard while on his sailboat.
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Why go to all this effort? It’s all in an attempt to capture the times during which the play takes place and provide a more immersive experience for the audience. We don’t want them to just watch Letters From The Front, we want them to experience it. According to the comments we’ve gotten, we seem to have accomplished our goal.

Tuskeegee Airman Val Archer is greeted by Producer Marsha Roberts.

Tuskeegee Airman Val Archer is greeted by Producer Marsha Roberts.

THE MUCH-HERALDED TUSKEEGEE AIRMEN FLEW RIGHT OUT OF THE PAGES OF HISTORY AND INTO THE HEARTS OF THE AUDIENCE AT A SPECIAL PERFORMANCE OF “THE WORLD’S MOST DECORATED PLAY, LETTERS FROM THE FRONT” IN THEIR HONOR ON NOV. 8.

Val Archer, born in 1929, enlisted into the Army Air Corps at the early age of 15 out of a strong sense of patriotism and love of country. He served with the Tuskegee Airmen as an instrument specialist on P-47s and C-47s. He saw active duty in Korea, Japan, Guam, the Marshall Islands and Europe. He was presented the Congressional Gold Medal on March 27, 2007 by President George W. Bush.

(Left) Tuskeegee Airment Val Archer receives a Standing-O from the audience. (Right) Kathleen Hogan, star of Letters From The Front, gives Val Archer a big hug after the show.

(Left) Tuskeegee Airment Val Archer receives a Standing-O from the audience. (Right) Kathleen Hogan, star of Letters From The Front, gives Val Archer a big hug after the show.

Left) Kathleen Hogan and Val Archer are joined by Annie Taylor, GS State Madam of the Fraternal Order Of Eagles. (Right) Stars Kathleen Hogan & Tim Ross share accolades with Producer Marsha Roberts and Playwright/Director Robert Rector on opening night.

Left) Kathleen Hogan and Val Archer are joined by Annie Taylor, GA State Madam of the Fraternal Order Of Eagles. (Right) Stars Kathleen Hogan & Tim Ross share accolades with Producer Marsha Roberts and Playwright/Director Robert Rector on opening night.

Sparkle Adams (right) City Councilwoman from Forest Park, Ga is joined by artist Gilbert Young who created a special edition of his famous painting "He Ain't Heavy" honoring America's Veterans. He also founded Elevating Veterans Through Art.

Sparkle Adams (right) City Councilwoman from Forest Park, Ga is joined by artist Gilbert Young who created a special edition of his famous painting “He Ain’t Heavy” honoring America’s Veterans. He also founded Elevating Veterans Through Art.

Many groups and individuals worked together to create this special event honoring the Tuskeegee Airmen. Among them were the Atlanta Chapter Tuskeegee Airmen, Inc., the Fraternal Order Of Eagles, and Elevating Veterans Through Art. Stars Kathleen Hogan and Tim Ross gave a stirring performance of Letters From The Front and were rewarded with enthusiastic applause and a Standing-O. A reception followed organized by Kimball Williams, also of the Fraternal Order Of Eagles. It was a memorable afternoon for all involved.

It is gratifying to have the military respond to us with such warmth, kindness, and encouragement. After the show we often receive standing ovations and are presented with Commander Coins, plaques, certificates of achievement, and other awards. These now number in the hundreds and we are proud of each and every one.

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Author: rectorwriter

Bob Rector has been a professional storyteller for forty years, but his background is primarily in film, video, and stage work as a writer and director. Bob was one of the pioneers of music videos, first for The Now Explosion and then for Music Connection, which were highly popular nationally syndicated shows that preceded MTV by ten years. He created over 100 films for the top musical artists of the times. Bob wrote and directed an outdoor-adventure feature film, Don't Change My World, and has won countless awards for nature and sports documentaries. His original three-act play, Letters From the Front, entertained America's troops around the world for fifteen years and was the first theatrical production to be performed at the Pentagon. This beloved show, written and directed by Rector, became known as the World's Most Decorated Play. After decades on the road (and in the air!) Bob finally settled down long enough to write his first novel, Unthinkable Consequences.

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