Video: In Rehearsal with Judy Kuhn for UNKNOWN SOLDIER

Unknown Soldier will run March 29 – May 5, 2024. 

By: Mar. 28, 2024
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Watch as Judy Kuhn talks about joining the company of Unkown Solider at Arena Stage. Said Kuhn on the project "I play Lucy Anderson... She's a woman who has had a fantasy about what her life should or could have been. I love doing theater, it's so collaborative and there's nothing more collaborative than a new musical."

Co-written by Daniel Goldstein and the late Michael Friedman, a reinvigorated version of the heartfelt original musical will make its D.C. premiere in Arena Stage’s Kreeger Theater, directed by Trip Cullman. Unknown Soldier will run March 29 – May 5, 2024. 

Cleaning out her grandmother’s home, Ellen Rabinowitz discovers the photograph of an anonymous soldier tucked away in a box of keepsakes. And so begins a sweeping, romantic musical about a woman’s journey to unearth the secrets buried in her family’s past. Spanning three generations, Unknown Soldier unravels a delicate tangle of family lore, as Ellen chases the extraordinary story that unlocks her history—and charts her future.

Unknown Soldier comes to Arena Stage following its 2015 world premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival and an early 2020 Off-Broadway run at Playwrights Horizons, both directed by Cullman. Ben Brantley of The New York Times hailed it a “thoughtful, history-spanning portrait of elusive identities that celebrates the urge to fully know people—in the present and the past.”

“When it came time to think about a new production of Unknown Soldier, I only reached out to one theater, Arena Stage,” said Goldstein. “There is no theater in the country better suited to support a new musical dealing with themes that affect our nation right now. The audiences at Arena are smart and interested in new work, the staff is unparalleled, and I am so honored to be a part of the incredible Hana Sharif’s first season.”

“We are grateful that Daniel has entrusted us with this stunning work, which journeys deep into one family's mythology to uncover a piece of America's hidden history,” said Arena Stage Artistic Director Hana S. Sharif. “Unknown Soldier is a brilliant reflection of Arena's longstanding investment in new musicals that exemplify the American Spirit. We look forward to uncovering the mystery, joy, love, and hope explored in Unknown Soldier.”

“Our cast is extraordinary, full of my favorite actors,” continued Goldstein. “I can’t wait to get started on this brand new and definitive version of Unknown Soldier.”

Reprising their roles from the production’s Off-Broadway run are Kerstin Anderson (Broadway’s My Fair Lady) as Lucy Lemay and Perry Sherman (Broadway’s Fun Home) as Francis.

The cast will also feature Riglee Ruth Bryson (Annie North American Tour) as Lucy Rabinowitz/Young Ellen, Adam Chanler-Berat (Broadway’s Peter and the Starcatcher, Arena’s Next to Normal) as Andrew, Lora Lee Gayer (Broadway’s Holiday Inn) as Ellen Rabinowitz, Nehal Joshi (Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera, Arena’s Catch Me If You Can) as Doctor, and four-time Tony Award nominee Judy Kuhn (Broadway’s Fun Home) as Lucy Anderson.

Rounding out the company will be Amy Griffin (Broadway’s Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas!), Candice Shedd-Thompson(Olney Theatre’s Kinky Boots), Jordyn Taylor (Signature Theater’s Ragtime), Wood Van Meter (Shakespeare Theatre’s Kiss Me, Kate, Arena’s Ride the Cyclone), Elizabeth Vargo (Arena’s Voices of Now Mead Ensemble), Ronald Joe Williams (Howard University BFA Musical Theatre Program), Taylor Witt (Olney Theatre's A Nice Indian Boy, Arena's Exclusion), and Sumié Yotsukura (Olney Theatre’s Fiddler on the Roof).

The Unknown Soldier creative team includes Choreographer Patrick McCollum (Broadway’s The Band’s Visit), Music Supervisors Julie McBride (Broadway’s Moulin Rouge! The Musical) and Marco Paguia (Broadway’s Gutenberg! The Musical), Music Director Chris Kong (Mean Girls National Tour), Tony Award nominee Set Designer Mark Wendland (Broadway’s Next to Normal), Costume Designer Jacob A. Climer (Broadway’s The Boys in the Band), Tony Award nominee Lighting Designer Ben Stanton (Broadway’s Fun Home), Tony Award winner Sound Designer Leon Rothenberg (Broadway’s The Nance), Tony Award nominee Projection Designer Lucy Mackinnon (Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill), Hair, Wig, and Makeup Designer J. Jared Janas (Broadway’s Sweeney Todd, Arena’s Ride the Cyclone), Associate Director Susanna Wolk (Broadway’s & Juliet), Associate Choreographer Francine Espiritu (Broadway’s The Lightning Thief), Dramaturg Otis Ramsey-Zöe, Casting Director Joseph Pinzon, NY Casting by Patrick Goodwin, The Telsey Office, Stage Manager Lisa Ann Chernoff, and Assistant Stage Manager Dayne Sundman.