For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Brent Hansen of Dixie State College has been working, along with Ricky Valadez and Ben Stratford, on a new musical based on the life of Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale. I don’t know just how long Brent has been going at it, but I’ve known about the play for over a year now. I first heard of it when Brent asked Joel Thomas and I to do a scene from the play for part of a lecture he was giving. I fell in love with the project then, and it’s been an honor to be a part of it since. Dr. Hansen finished the first draft just before the Christmas break and held a public reading of the piece. I read for Nathan and my wife read for Nathan’s love interest Lydia. It was great. People were weeping by the end… and we were in our street clothes sitting behind a table! However, Brent won’t be offended when I say that it wasn’t perfect, because it wasn’t. And that’s why he wrote a second draft and is going to be doing another public reading on the 18th of this month.
There are several things that have made me fall in love with this play. First of all it’s a truly incredible story. Based on the life of an extraordinary man. (Nathan Hale is the man who famously said: “My only regret is that I have but one life to lose for my country.”) Secondly, it’s an original piece. And for some reason I get ridiculously excited about new theatre. Especially when it’s good! And this piece is good. I’m obviously biased because I know all of the people involved, and I’ve had the opportunity to work on the project with them, but I really feel that when this script is complete it will have the epic power and quality that will put it in the same category as Les Miserables. And thirdly Brent Hansen is just an incredible human being. He loves writing. And it shows in his work. My first play back off of my mission was another original piece by Brent called ‘A St. George Christmas.’ I learned from Brent that he puts a tremendous amount of care into whatever he is working on. And everyone involved feels rewarded because of it.
The reason Brent holds these readings is to make the project better. He gets to hear the script out loud, and get feedback from his peers. So if you get a chance, come watch us read and sing this amazing work in the art gallery located in the Dolores Eccles Building on the campus of Dixie State College. You won’t regret it. After the reading Brent is humble enough to ask you what you thought. So you’ll have the opportunity to have a hand in creating a marvelous piece of theatre. The reading starts at 7:00, and admission is free. Hope to see you there.