Stephan Lang recounts Medal of Honor recipients’ stories in “Beyond Glory”
The Lutcher Theater is bringing a treat to Orange the week of Veterans’ Day at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5. “Beyond Glory” is a one man show adapted and performed by Stephen Lang that recounts the stories of eight Medal of Honor recipients from different services and different wars including World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Lang, star of stage and film may be best known for his part in “Avatar” as the gruff Col. Miles Quaritch. He also played “Stonewall” Jackson in “Gods and Generals” from 2003. Lang also stars in the just released horror flick “The Monkey’s Paw.” He has over 60 movies and TV series to his credit including many notables such as “Death of a Salesman,” “Tombstone,” “Gettysburg,” “The Fugitive” and many more.
In May of 2003 a basketball buddy of Lang gave him an uncorrected copy of a book he was about to have published called “Beyond Glory” which was interviews with about 25 or 26 living medal of Honor recipients.
“I like history a lot and I found it to be an extraordinary read, absolutely compelling,” said Lang. “The voices were so clear to me.” He said it came when he was at point in his life when I was looking for something that he cared about. “This came to me and I just felt instinctively that it was theater in there. What I was reading was superb journalism, but I felt there was also tremendous drama in there.” Lang took eight of the tales and adapted them for the stage.
He said the only thing that rivals war for drama is love “And that I never get hired to do,” he said with a little laugh. ”so I’ll stick with war.”
“I just immersed myself in it; in this theater piece.” He said he was reluctant to call it a play. “But it’s definitely a theater piece; it’s as theatrical as anything I’ve ever done in my life.” Lang said from May of 2003 to September of 2007 he did a few other gigs in between, but most of his time was spent doing “Beyond Glory” in Washington, Chicago, New York or overseas. “During that time, I calculated over 400 performances.”
In 2007, James Cameron saw an ad in the New York Times with Lang’s picture in it and remembered him. He sent Lang the script for “Avatar.” That led to a six year hiatus from “Glory” while Lang “rode the wave” of opportunity for several projects. “You never think you are going to be away from the stage quite that long and then you turn around and realize you haven’t done a play in six years. That was part of the impetus for doing the tour, just to see if I can.”
Lynae Sanford of the Lutcher Theater really wanted to get the word out about this show and is excited about it being just before Veteran’s Day.
“It is our desire for this event to celebrate and honor all veterans and military personnel as well as these Medal of Honor recipients,” said Sanford.
“It has a special meaning for vets and families of vets, but it has proven durable for everyone,” said Lang. “I’ve done 101 performances for the New York theater audience, which is kinda by definition a fairly cranky west wing audience and they dug it. Everyone has a veteran in their family somewhere. It means something to everybody. This is very, very common ground for all Americans.”
Before the show, an exhibit will be on display in the lobby of the Lutcher for Medal of Honor winners portrayed in the show.
Though not part of the show; the exhibit will also honor local medal winners Staff Sgt. Lucian Adams of Port Arthur and 1st Lt. Douglas Fournet of Lake Charles, both of which are deceased. Sanford hopes Adams’ and Fournet’s families can attend so they can be recognized.
Regular ticket prices are $30-45, but they are offering discounted tickets of $35 for orchestra (Main floor) to veterans, active duty military and their families. Additionally for every 20 tickets purchased by a group, the group will receive one complimentary ticket as well. Sanford noted that as a non-profit organization, their regular ticket prices simply cover costs of programming.
There will also be a meet and greet reception for veterans and their families on the third floor after the show. Lang said he will attend the reception unless there are travel restraints that preclude it. “We are going to make every effort, every stop along the way to shake hands, express appreciation to everybody who comes out to see the show. That’s my policy, always has been,” said Lange.
For more information on the show, you can go to www.beyondglorytheplay.com To order tickets, you can go online at Lutcher.org or call the theater at 409-886-5535. The Lutcher Theater is located at 707 Main in Orange.