VJ Night, 1945. On a night like this, anything can happen — the world is never going to be the way it was. Austin Highsmith Garces (seen at the Victory in Resolving Hedda and The End of Sex) and C.J. Lindsey (The Men in My Life, True Story on Netflix) star as a white woman and an African American soldier who fall in love the night World War II ends — a time of euphoria for Americans after years of devastating conflict. But can that sense of good will and new beginnings wipe away the racial mistrust and discrimination in a country still deeply mired in the Jim Crow Era?
LGBTQIA+ activist Jonathan Slavin (The Sisters Rosensweig on Broadway, Santa Clarita Diet, Dr. Ken, Better Off Ted) takes on the role of the couple’s upstairs neighbor, a gay army veteran modeled after Leight’s uncle.
Leight was inspired to write the play by the famous image of a couple kissing in Times Square on VJ Day.
“I wondered what their lives would have been like had they been an interracial couple,” he explains. “As the son of a jazz musician, I grew up around many interracial couples, and I saw early on the pressures on their lives and marriages. It’s shocking that, more than 70 years after WW II ended, questions about states’ right to ban interracial marriage have resurfaced.”
“The play is both heartfelt and historically accurate,” notes Gobetti. “Racism was rampant in the military during World War II. At the time, it was still illegal to marry outside one’s race in the eyes of the army. Have things really changed all that much?”
The creative team for Home Front includes set designer Evan Bartoletti, sound designer Noah Andrade, costume designer Carin Jacobs, dramaturg Gail Bryson, graphic designer Jennifer Logan and photographer Tim Sullens. The stage manager is Cody Hathcock. Maria Gobetti, Tom Ormeny and Evan Bartoletti produce for The Victory Theatre Center.
Warren Leight’s play Side Man won the 1999 Tony® Award for best play and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Drama Desk nominated work includes No Foreigners Beyond This Point and the books to the musicals Leap of Faith (Alan Menken, composer) and Mayor (composer Charles Strouse). His American Theatre Critics Association nominated play Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine (starring John Spencer) had its West Coast premiere at the Mark Taper Forum before its Manhattan Theatre Club production in New York. Two collections of his one acts, Dark, No Sugar and Stray Cats, and the Outer Critics Circle nominated High Heeled Women cabaret act Fame Takes a Holiday have also been published by Dramatists Play Service. Warren just stepped down from his role as showrunner and executive producer of Law and Order: SVU for seasons 13-17 and 2021-23. During his tenure, the show became the longest running U.S. primetime drama in history, celebrated its 500th episode, and won Imagen, NAACP and Prism awards. He has also been showrunner and executive producer of HBO’s Peabody Award-winning In Treatment starring Gabriel Byrne, Hope Davis and John Mahoney; the Edgar Award-winning Law and Order: Criminal Intent; and FX’s critically acclaimed Lights Out.
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