Nicholas Myers and Landen Zumwalt are proud to premiere a brand-new musical “The American Way”, based on the stage play of the same name by George Kaufman and Moss Hart, with a staged concert on Friday and Saturday, June 25 and 26 at the Dunlap High School auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students (high school and under), and can be purchased at www.americanwaymusical.com or at the door. Net proceeds from the performances will be given to the Save the Palace Theatre fund established for the rebuilding of the Palace Theatre in Elmwood, IL, one of the longest continually-running movie theatres in the state and one of the many buildings devastated by tornadoes that ripped through the downtown area on June 5, 2010.
“The American Way” follows a family of immigrants from Germany who comes to America believing in a new life of prosperity and happiness. They arrive at Ellis Island in 1896 and settle in Mapleton, Ohio, where they start their life anew. Spanning a 50-year period, the musical shows first-hand glimpses of the boys going off to fight in World War I, the Great Depression and the growing unrest as World War II looms. With sweeping scores and moving melodies, “The American Way” is a story about American values, freedom, and the forgotten struggles of our ancestors.
Today, the residents of Elmwood find themselves starting anew as a tornado damaged numerous buildings in the historic downtown district on June 5, 2010, with the vast majority of them needing to be rebuilt. The Palace Theatre was one of the many buildings badly damaged by the tornadoes, and owner Vern Reynolds has a vision to see the Palace brought back to its original character and charm. The theatre opened in 1913 as a vaudeville theatre and became a movie theatre in the early 1920’s. Mr. Reynolds purchased the theatre in 1979, and it has continued to be an Elmwood community staple ever since. “The American Way” performance is just one of many fundraisers currently being planned to assist in the rebuilding of the Palace Theatre.
After hearing stories of the destruction first-hand from one of the cast members who grew up in Elmwood, Nicholas Myers immediately decided that the proceeds from the concert performances had to go towards rebuilding the historic theater. “I have a soft spot for well-established towns with historic buildings, and it just broke my heart to hear what had happened in Elmwood,” says Myers. “I knew immediately that donating the profits from our show towards the rebuilding of their theatre, especially one with such a rich history, was the right thing to do.”
The production features a top-notch cast from local community theatres and a live orchestra. Tickets may be purchased at www.americanwaymusical.com or at the door the night of the performances. Donations may be made through www.savethepalace.com; web links will be available on both websites. All funds are for the restoration and rebuilding of the Palace Theatre in Elmwood, IL. However, if Reynolds Theatres is not able or willing to restore or rebuild the Palace Theatre in Elmwood, IL, all monies through this effort will be donated to the tornado restoration efforts for the City of Elmwood through the Elmwood Community Foundation.