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‘If All the Sky Were Paper’ Brings Wartime Letters to Life

ORANGE — Chapman College of Performing Arts Theatre and Musco Center for the Arts present “If All the Sky Were Paper” on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. at Musco Center for the Arts, 415 N. Glassell St. in Orange.

Annette Bening and Jodi Kimura

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day, this critically acclaimed play features actors performing real letters by troops and their families in times of war. From love and heartbreak to resilience and humor, this deeply moving experience traverses the full range of emotions.

Written by Andrew Carroll and directed by John Benitz. The cast includes Annette Bening, Ed Asner, Gary Cole and Kate Mansi, with Omri Rose as narrator.

Carroll is the founding director of Chapman University’s Center for American War Letters (CAWL), an extensive manuscript collection of previously unpublished war letters from every American conflict.

“If All the Sky Were Paper” includes a live premiere performance of a new original score by composer Peter Boyer.

Tickets are $25 to $65. Veterans and active military can purchase up to two tickets at 50 percent off. Show military ID upon arrival. Chapman students can get 50 percent off one ticket. Show student ID upon arrival.

A no-charge parking pass is included for all Musco Center performances when you choose the print-at-home ticket option; it will be included in the email attachment sent to you.

For more information, call (844) OC-MUSCO (626-8726) or email Visit the show’s website at

Balloon Bomb Incident

The cast includes Jodi Kimura (, who previously appeared in the show with Bening at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, at the Kennedy Center, and in Santa Barbara.

“One of the letters I had the privilege of reading was … from a woman, Tetsuko Tanaka, who at 16 was made to work in a war plant that made balloon bombs in Japan,” Kimura said. “… One of these bombs had made its way to the U.S. and had lain dormant in a field in Oregon. Six children and their teacher were on a Sunday school picnic when they found it, and it exploded and killed them all.

“Ms. Tanaka was devastated when she learned of the tragedy and wrote the most beautiful letter of apology and expressing her deep regret for taking any part in the war, voluntarily or not. What an incredible honor it was to speak her words and it is probably the best thing I’ve gotten to do in my career so far.”

Kimura said of Bening, “I only got to work with her for one day each time, but to watch her work was incredible. The way a simple gesture like scratching her back could illuminate a whole lifetime of story was so inspiring.”

Kimura is best known for playing Bloody Mary in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “South Pacific,” most recently this year at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and Palos Verdes Performing Arts’ Norris Theatre. She will reprise the role from Dec. 5 to 23 at Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura.

In New York, Kimura recently appeared in the musical “Mamma Mia!” and in a reading of a new musical, “The Uncivil Ones,” based on the story of Mary Walker, a surgeon during the Civil War who became the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor.

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