War has broken out in Europe, with anger and shock felt across multiple continents.
As his family is besieged abroad, one American man does all he can to bring his relatives home and out of harm's way. Sound familiar? This daring tale could be another day in the life of families trying to flee the current conflict in Eastern Europe.
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The World War II-era play follows an Opelika, Ala., resident who helps his Jewish relatives in Germany escape to America.
The theater company was approached by playwright, Jim Harris, about producing the world premiere, whom they knew from producing his previous show, "Civil War Voices," in 2013.
"We'll Meet Again" follows a similar motif, being built around a true story, with music from the time period giving the audience a glimpse of what life was really like in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
The show was originally scheduled to have its premiere at the Barter Theatre in Virginia, one of the final shows directed by artistic director, Richard Rose, before he retired. But the COVID pandemic halted production and the show was put on hold.
Mike Zaller of The Savannah Theatre said they feel lucky that Rose was so passionate about the show and its themes, and has come to Savannah to direct the show and finally see it come to life on stage.
"We actually were scheduled to perform the show in January 2022, but made the choice to postpone due to the COVID spike at the time, and are excited to finally be able to share this story," Zaller added.
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Zaller also performs in the musical in a challenging role, portraying a Nazi party official who makes life very difficult for the lead family as they try to leave Germany.
"I'm honestly not sure how much enjoyment I will get while performing the role, but I hope I will feel accomplished by helping the audience see what these people were able to overcome in a difficult situation," Zaller shared.
"In the end, this is a true story about living life to the fullest, despite the challenges that we face along the way," he said.
The production features a mixture of old and new faces to the Savannah Theatre. With the director coming in from out of town, the company hosted auditions regardless of actors' previous Savannah Theatre history.
This led to some familiar faces in the show with Mike Zaller, Shannon Zaller, Richie Cook and Jabre Brown all being cast, along with bringing in actors with connections to the director and writer, and adding a few new local actors including Ashley Frazell-Cook, Dani Vazquez, Truman Nash, and Ethan Brandon. The new musical also features a born-and-raised Savannah actor, Jeremy Kole, who has come in from New York to perform.
Zaller said it's always a challenge recreating a time period for the stage, especially one like the World War II era, which so many people have a picture in their head of what it should be.
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The production company took great care in recreating the scenes, the sounds, and the look and feel of wartime Germany, Zaller noted.
Though set in a heartbreaking time, The Savannah Theatre team says they hope the message of perseverance and the importance of family will resonate.
"We hope the audience will take away that even through the difficulties and hardships of the era, there was triumph for the ideas of freedom and respect for all people to live their lives," Zaller shared.
With everything currently happening on the world stage, "We'll Meet Again" carries a timeless message, one that could be applied to modern European and American families grappling once again with war.
"While there were certainly heartaches along the way, the Allied victory in the war gave people the ability to take the life they are given and try to live it to the fullest," Zaller added. "It's a lesson that is always worth being reminded of and hopefully never forgotten!"
IF YOU GO
WHAT: "We'll Meet Again"
WHEN: Aug. 19 through Aug. 28
WHERE: The Historic Savannah Theatre, 222 Bull St.
COST: Tickets range $25 to $50
INFO: For tickets and information visit: savannahtheatre.com/
This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Savannah GA events: We'll Meet Again at The Historic Savannah Theatre