The Sound of Wings:
A Drama with Music from the Life of Amelia Earhart


Amelia Earhart was a happy child, growing up with cousins and friends in Atchison, Kansas. Yet even then she rebelled at the limits placed upon women by her traditional family, whose wealthy patriarch, Amelia's grandfather, refused to allow his daughters to attend college.

As a teen, Amelia's family moved to Des
Moines, where her loving but impractical father's drinking brought disgrace upon the family. Amelia retreated into herself, filling scrapbooks with clippings about high-achieving women. Taught to shoot a rifle, she refused to kill for sport. A non-smoker, teetotaler, and naturally private person, she went public with her conviction that women deserved every right and opportunity given men.

In creating "The Sound of Wings," Elizabeth worked with her husband, Stuart, who in 1944 flew a B-17 bomber across the Atlantic on a route close to that taken by Amelia Earhart in her epochal 1932 solo. Like Earhart, he passed through a violent storm, offering insight into the courage and skill of Earhart in her single-engine Lockheed Vega in the aftermath of Charles Lindbergh, when many attempts to fly the Atlantic ended in the death of the pilot.

The greatest challenge in creating "The Sound of Wings" is to reveal something of Amelia's mystical love of flight, alluded to in her biographies and declared in her own writing. We can only wonder what might have been revealed if the poems she had written over a lifetime had survived the fire that destroyed her home in Rye, NY. One, written when she was a child, offers a glimpse:

I watch the birds flying all day long
and I want to fly too.
Don't they look down sometimes, I wonder,

And wish they were me
when I'm going to the circus with my
daddy?"


Program We meet Amelia as a child in Atchison, Kansas, follow her through Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, London, Purdue, Hawaii, and many other landings on her way to the firmament of heroes where she now resides.
Songs:
  • "THE HIGHEST PLACE"
  • "GRANDMA'S LAMENT"
  • "I CAN FLY!"
  • "WHAT DOES IT MEAN?"
  • "THE HIGHEST PLACE" (Reprise)

Conceived by Elizabeth Hodes
Script and songs by Stuart Hodes
Musical Arrangements by Michael McFrederick
Directed by Carter Inskeep

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