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The idea is to make it “something you could hand to a school or theater department to produce,” he said.
Whitebird, who has often collaborated with Carlson, is also a believer in the show, which he describes as informative yet entertaining. “It’s a great script,” he said. “David is a great songwriter. I can’t say enough about that.”
He appreciates that the play goes beyond the battlefield. “It’s not blood and guts. It’s very centered on the families and people back home,” he said.
Carlson’s wife, Dawn LeClair, is stepping into one of the characters on the home front. She’s singing the part of a mother for the recording that’s in the production phase.
One particularly poignant song centers on the mother as she goes through a box of her son’s belongings, like his “first socks.”
Singing about that, “It feels so real, but not sappy,” she said. “It’s a very moving piece.”
As a mother two grown sons, “When you sing songs like that, you think of your own children, what it would be like,” she said, adding, “It makes you feel connected to people that you really never knew yourself.”
Anna Pratt is a Twin Cities freelance writer