FTT presents DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT, a new student-written musical, February 23 – March 5

Author: Stacey Stewart

Dawn's Early Light poster image

Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT) announces Dawn’s Early Light, a new musical by Notre Dame student Solomon Duane ’24, at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Philbin Studio Theatre, February 23 – March 5.

Set in the 1940s amid the flashing colors of the World War II home front and the swinging sounds of the Big Band era, Dawn's Early Light follows the story of an Italian-American family living in Buffalo, New York. When Tommy Zucchiatti decides to enlist in the military, his immigrant father resists, haunted by the pains of a dark past. How much must the family sacrifice to hold on to their American Dream?

“Living through the pandemic led Solomon to reflect on his own family’s story,” says Matt Hawkins, FTT’s director of musical theatre, who also directs this production. “He was inspired to explore the ways in which families cope with loss and grief, but through the lens of another catastrophic global event – World War II.”

Dawn’s Early Light is the third student-written musical to emerge from the New Works Lab, a program that curates, workshops, and produces new musicals. Led by Hawkins, the New Works Lab has previously workshopped and produced An Old Family Recipe (2021) by Veronica Mansour ’21, and Stupid Humans (2019) by Jorge “Jay” Rivera-Herrans ’20, now revised and titled My Heart Says Go. A MHSG concept album, produced by Hawkins and featuring Javier Muñoz (Hamilton) and Tony Award-winner Jessie Mueller, is set to be released in March, ahead of a full production at South Bend Civic Theatre in April.

As with previous New Works Lab musicals, students serve in multiple leadership roles on the production. While the costumes, lighting, and set are designed by faculty, students fill the roles of choreographer and associate choreographer, orchestrators, associate director, and stage manager, among others.

“The Lab offers a unique opportunity to cultivate new voices while giving students significant ownership in the artistic process,” says Hawkins. “Dawn’s Early Light reflects the input of dozens of student artists, both those in leadership roles on the production as well as those who took the workshop class last fall.”

Thursday, February 23 – Saturday, February 25 at 7:30 pm
Thursday, March 2 – Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, February 26 and Sunday, March 5 at 2:30 pm.

Student $7, Faculty/Staff/Senior (65+) $12, General $15.  Discounts are also available for groups of 10 or more.  

Tickets may be purchased online at http://performingarts.nd.edu/, by phone at 574-631-2800, or in person at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center ticket office. Ticket office hours are Monday­-Friday, 12:00-6:00 pm.

PARKING:  Free parking is available daily after 5:00 pm in the Stayer Center parking lot, just north of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.  Patrons may now receive free event parking at the Eddy Street Commons Parking Garage by bringing your event tickets and parking ticket to the DPAC Ticket Office to receive a pre-paid parking voucher.

An accessible lot for disabled patrons is available immediately adjacent to the center; a valid hangtag or license plate is required.  There is a ten-minute parking zone on the north drive of the center for ticket pick-up; during inclement weather you are welcome to drop off guests in this area and proceed to parking.

Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre seeks to inspire intellectual inquiry and nurture creativity. We offer both a scholarly and a creative context for the general liberal arts student at Notre Dame as well as those students seeking intensive preparation for advanced study in these fields.  The hands-on nature of our curriculum, coupled with a very high degree of student-faculty interaction, provides students with a singular educational opportunity at a university known for its teaching excellence. The FTT performance season is a direct outgrowth of the department’s academic program and an integral component of our students’ artistic development.

Follow FTT on Twitter @NDFTT.  Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NDFTT.