Executive producer Blair Underwood announces development of new Broadway musical, 6888: The Musical (working title), inspired by the only all-black female Army battalion to serve overseas in World War II .
The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was given the arduous task of sorting and moving a crushing backlog of over 17 million pieces of mail. Led by Major Charity Adams, their motto was “No Mail, Low Morale”. Throughout a rocky deployment to England and France, the unit faced incredible odds including racism and sexism, the majority from its own leadership, but completed the mission in record time and changed the trajectory of many soldiers’ lives as a result. They joined the US military to make a difference and show they loved their country, even though their country didn’t always love them back.
6888 The Musical is written by Morgan J Smart (book), Ronvé O’Daniel (music and lyrics) and Jevares C. Myrick (composer/orchestrations). It is designed and produced by Holly Garman and Joe Trentacosta and will be developed and produced by Tony Award nominee Blair Underwood. Back. US Army Col. Edna Cummings and James Theres will act as historical advisers to the new musical.
So far, 6888’s story has been largely ignored, but it’s about to receive Congress’s highest national honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. Once received, 6888 will be the only female unit serving in a military status to receive the award, the only Women’s Army Corps unit to receive the award, and of course the only African American female unit to receive the award.
“The women of 6888 are true American patriots, who have long waited for their story to be told. I am honored to be part of a team that brings their story to the stage.” – Executive Producer, Blair Underwood
“After reading about the 6888s in the NY Times in September 2020, we immediately knew that the story of these incredible women needed to be brought to life. It is exciting that the 6888s are finally receiving Congressional Gold Medals at this time. that our creative team came together this year,” said producer and co-creator Holly Garman. “We are truly honored to help bring this piece of hidden American history to life and to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of these extraordinary women,” added producer and co-creator Joe Trentacosta.
MORGAN J SMART (Book) is a librettist, singer-songwriter, playwright and storyteller. She attended Florida International University to study Communication Arts and Black Global Studies, merging her instinct for writing with her interest in telling Black stories on a global scale. She then graduated from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, where she found the intersection of storytelling and songwriting, and explored the world of writing for theater, which turned turned out to be more fulfilling than she could have imagined. Since moving to New York, Morgan has written three musicals, Our Mother’s Mothers, AWAKED and SHADOWS. Morgan’s work has been presented and given workshops at the Goodspeed Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York Theater Barn and NYU Tisch. She has worked as a playwright with Hi-Arts NYC and with the New Victory Theater on Broadway. Most recently, Morgan penned a musical produced by the New York Film Academy which will be released in the summer of 2022. Check out more from Morgan at MorganJSmart.com.
RONVE O’DANIEL (composer/lyricist) is a songwriter, lyricist, playwright, director and hip-hop enthusiast. His show Once Upon a Rhyme has been produced at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley New Works Festival, Eugene O’Neill National Music Theater Conference, Johnny Mercer Writers Colony Residency at the Goodspeed Theater and NYU Tisch School for the Arts. Ronvé collaborated with Virginia Stage Company and Virginia Public Works for the world premiere of The Earth Remembers, an original song cycle that serves as both an education and a celebration of the unique history of the community of Hampton Roads, Virginia. . He is currently teaming up with new all-digital licensing agent Uproar Theatrics to create The Hippest Wizard of OZ, along with longtime collaborators J Kyle Manzay and Jevares Myrick. Ronvé recently made his directorial debut with the City Springs Theater Company’s educational musical short Beautiful Hair, which he also wrote. He was the recipient of the Eugene O’Neill National Music Theater Conference’s Georgia Bogardus Holof Lyricist Award – given to a single lyricist each summer who exemplifies a promising career in musical theater writing. Ronvé’s other works include Greenwood (Musical Theater Factory), Letters to the President, BAPS (Music and Lyrics for National Tour), The New Girl (Concord Theatricals), and We Love (NAMT 15-minute musical). You can follow him at ronveodaniel.com.
JEVARES C. MYRICK (Composer/Orchestra) has been featured in BroadwayWorld.com and
Playbill.com. He worked with longtime friend and collaborator Ronvé on their musical Once Upon a Rhyme (f/k/a ILLA! A Hip Hop Musical), which not only had three sold-out development tours in Toledo, Atlanta and New York, but was also named one of the Top 10 Must-See Musicals at Nymf 2015 by Playbill. iLLA also won the 2016 NYMF Show-Score Best Of Fest Award and the 2015 NYMF Excellence in Developmental Reading Award. Jevares’ work was featured by Virginia Stage Company and Virginia Public Works in the new musical The Earth Remembers, an original song cycle that served as both an education and a celebration of the community’s unique history of Hampton Roads, Virginia. He also worked with Theatreworks USA for their Who Tells Your Story series, a tribute to Robert Smalls, a man born into slavery who became a Civil War naval hero and South Carolina congressman. Recently, Jevares was commissioned by City Springs Theater Company in Atlanta, GA to write a fun and educational musical short titled BEAUTIFUL HAIR. As an actor, Jevares can currently be seen on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning musical, The Book of Mormon, as he is currently a swing, understudy, and dance captain. He has been nominated five times for the Suzi Bass Award as well as the Ovation Award for Best Male Vocalist. Other works include Greenwood (Musical Theater Factory), Letters To The President, Bap S (Music for National Tour), The New Girl (Concord Theatricals) and We Love (NAMT 15 minute musical).
BLAIR UNDERWOOD (Executive Producer) Underwood has been nominated for a 2021 Tony Award for his performance in the Roundabout Theater’s Tony Award-winning revival of A Soldier’s Play at the American Airlines Theater. It was also nominated for a Drama League Distinguished Performance Award. He made his Broadway debut in the iconic role of “Stanley” in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, for which he earned a Drama League Distinguished Performance Award nomination. As a theater producer, he was recently represented on Broadway with the acclaimed production of Pass Over. He will soon serve as an executive producer and reprise his role as Jonathan Rollins as the lead on ABC’s upcoming “LA Law” reboot. Before that, he’ll be featured in the upcoming Showtime series, “Three Women,” alongside Shailene Woodley. , DeWanda Wise and Betty Gilpin. Underwood recently directed Viral, a feature film in which he will also star, opposite Sarah Silverman and Alfre Woodard. He can currently be seen playing Vernon Jordan, opposite Clive Owen, Edie Falco and Beanie Feldstein, in megaproducer Ryan Murphy’s “Impeachment” for FX. Underwood starred in Netflix’s limited series, “Self-Made,” alongside Octavia Spencer, winning her eighth NAACP Image Award. In 2019, he returned to Netflix’s comedy series “Dear White People” and Clark Johnson’s Juanita opposite Alfred Woodard, also for Netflix. He spent two years as a series regular on ABC’s drama series, “Quantico,” while also recurring on another hit ABC drama, Agents of SHIELD. He also had a co-starring role in writer/director Ian Edelman’s The After Party, which Netflix released in late 2018. He can be seen co-starring in Justin Simien’s horror comedy Bad Hair, which premiered on Hulu in October 2020. Past TV credits include regular roles on the series “Dirty Sexy Money,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” “In Treatment,” “LA Law,” and “The Event.” Film credits include Just Cause, Set It Off, Rules of Engagement, Madea’s Family Reunion and Full Frontal, for director Steven Soderbergh. Underwood starred opposite the late Cicely Tyson in the national tour and in the Lifetime TV movie, A Trip To Bountiful, based on the Tony Award-winning play.
HOLLY GARMAN (producer) has a diverse background in theatre, music, nonprofits and entertainment. She is currently the press representative for the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven and the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, among others. Recent work includes: American Dreams Off Broadway (Working Theatre), Border People Off Broadway (Working Theatre), Between the Bars Off Broadway, National Alliance of Musical Theater Festival of New Musicals, The Eliza Project (Graham Windham/Hamilton) , Broadway Brews Project (collaboration with The Happy Hour Guys cast members Hamilton, Waitress & Come From Away) and Arts in the Armed Forces (with co-founder Adam Driver). With senior press agent Sam Rudy, Holly has worked on several productions and events, including Ken Ludwig’s Dear Jack, Dear Louise at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, Fiercely Independent Off Broadway (Soho Rep) and Miracle in Rwanda (Theater Row ).
JOE TRENTACOSTA (Producer) has represented On and Off-Broadway productions as well as numerous non-profit organizations for over 20 years. He is president of JT Public Relations; upcoming projects include the musical Invincible by Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo. Additionally, he is Chief Operating Officer and Chief Communications Officer of Lillypops. He sits on the board of directors of Royal Family Productions and is executive producer of Katsura Sunshine’s Rakugo (New World Stages, West End) and is in development for the limited streaming series “Madam Tsubaki” written by Clayton Hamilton and Jeff Klein.