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Book by Daniel Goldstein
Music by Michael Friedman
Lyrics by Friedman & Goldstein
Directed by Trip Cullman

Williamstown Theater Festival
Sets: Mark Wendland
Lights: Ben Stanton
Costumes: Clint Ramos
Projections: Lucy McKinnon

From the first scenes, you can already trace the arc of the show...But what makes this musical of greater that the paths it takes to get there aren’t so predictable. The romances don’t play out as we think they will. The characters keep shrugging off stereotype.
— Alexis Soloski - The New York Times

“Unknown Soldier” — an extraordinary, haunting, deeply affecting musical that is having its world premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Nikos Stage, begins on a stage of gray — deep and wide; exposed.... Working with director Trip Cullum — whose artful staging seamlessly weaves in and out of time — Michael Friedman (music and lyrics) and Daniel Goldstein (book and lyrics) show a keenly attuned appreciation of how music, lyrics and text relate, work as an integrated whole in telling a story. The score is melodic and evocative, at times intensely dramatic, creatively incorporating several musical styles and genres. They also have a stunning sense of song as dramatic monologue. Three of the evening’s most powerful moments come in “The Clock,” a breath-stopping piece by the soldier (Derek Klena, pitch perfect as a haunted, fragile man with surprisingly strong inner resources), and two virtually back-to-back numbers — Andrew’s “Andrew’s Story” and adult Ellen’s “I Give Away Children,” which in their respective ways, reflect the twists and turns that shape who we are, where we are and how we got there.
— Jeffrey Borak - Berkshire Eagle
It is one of the play’s powerful choices that its central characters are never standard young lovers — a single mother, a veteran, a woman in her 40s with a medical career, a nebbishy researcher. At the height of the action, Francis Grand dances with Estelle Parsons, and the light shines on her white hair.

Their gentleness brings a sense of sadness, because Lucy held onto that dream of the past hard enough to lose the present. But it comes with joy, as so much of this work does, because it ignores conventions and sees life whole. It is deeply powerful to see a woman in her 40s take dynamic charge of her life and an elderly woman with laughter and toughness dance in Grand Central, in the light.
— Kate Abbott - Fuse Theater Reviews
Among the very few non-Sondheim contemporary musicals since Ragtime to join engaging and complex music with witty lyrics and a smart book, it’s a work that avoids the traps of sentimentality to deliver an experience that is profoundly heartfelt. I particularly admire the range of styles, the graceful transitions from speech to song and the natural, almost conversational, quality of many of the songs.

Ambitiously spanning three time periods (1918, 1973 and 2003), Unknown Soldier tells the story of Ellen Rabinowitz’s attempt to come to terms with her grandmother, Lucy Anderson, while investigating a romance that Lucy had with an “unknown” soldier who returned from World War I with amnesia. It’s also a brace of love stores: one set in the past between Lucy and the soldier is delicately interwoven with the feelings that develop between Ellen and Andrew, the librarian at Cornell who is assisting her in her search. It sounds complicated, but Friedman and Goldstein’s storytelling under Cullman’s attentive direction couldn’t be more eloquent.
— Ralph Hammann - Metroland
This is a musical epic, with an operatic sweep. Though its story falls just short of spanning a full century (1918 to the Present) and covers multiple locations, it all plays out in just 90 minutes. The varied and melodic score is composed by Michael Friedman (whose best known credits include Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson and his scores for plays by the innovative group, The Civilians). Daniel Goldstein, previously working as a director, makes an auspicious debut as libretto and lyric writer.
— Elyse Sommer - Curtain Up