The program benefits military veterans, first responders, conflict writers and others who serve.
The "Adopt a Sailor - 50 State Tour"-a nationwide tour of Charles Evered's acclaimed play "Adopt a Sailor" has reached its 26th state, with twenty four to go.
Writer and Director Evered founded the Evered House, an artist residency named in honor of his father, Charles J. Evered, (1918-1979), who served in World War II. The program started in California in 2017, and moved to Port Haywood, Virginia in 2021, where a new residency is being built. The program benefits military veterans, first responders, conflict writers and others who serve.
"This tour is a testament to the uniqueness of live theater," commented Evered. "In each state, we've had different kinds of venues, varied levels of production and actors ranging from seasoned pros to amazingly talented amateurs. Each stop has produced its own kind of magic. We've had full productions on legit stages, presentations in coffee shops, VFW halls, colleges, living rooms and even a one person version near the pool of a Motel 6 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. It reminds me of the power of live theater and how in its best moments it can unite as well as move people."
The tour launched in April of 2018 and paused during 2020-21 due to Covid. In 2022 it picked up again, with most of the Northeastern states being covered. It's now scheduled to re-start in the spring of 2024, where the final twenty plus states will be completed in one final leg. The last (and 50th) state will be Virginia, home of the new residency. That presentation will take place in Port Haywood, at the residency site on Labor Day, September 2, 2024.
"We found a beautiful parcel on the Chesapeake Bay, and have been developing it as our budget allows. We've cleared the parking lot and paths, dug a well, installed fencing, built a pier with a kayak launch, and now we're raising money for the final stages of construction."
In explaining how the program works, Evered states: "Artists are invited to stay anywhere from two days to a month, at no cost to themselves. They are given travel money and a food budget. To be considered as a resident, applicants are required to show a record of serious work with a background of service. We've had a wonderfully varied pool of residents; novelists, playwrights, journalists, ceramists and musicians. What they all have in common is---they create with a higher purpose in mind, and it's our honor to give them a place to do that."
In addition to hosting residents, the program also awards grants to artists as well, and has done so consistently during the transition to the East coast.
Describing how the tour comes together, Evered explains: "Basically, we reach out to theaters months in advance and make clear that all that is needed from them is three chairs, twenty minutes and three actors. If they want to produce a more complicated staging or even a full production, that's up to them."
The remaining states on the final leg of the tour include: Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, Missouri, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Nebraska. At the events he can attend in person, Evered introduces the play, signs published editions and participates in Q&A's.
"Adopt a Sailor" began its life in 2002 as a ten minute piece first presented at Town Hall in New York City as part of a program of other short plays called "Brave New World." The event brought together New York based playwrights to write pieces responding to the 9/11 attacks. That first production of "Adopt a Sailor" featured a rotating cast of luminaries including: Liev Schreiber, Neil Patrick Harris, Sam Waterston, Amy Irving, Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson among others. It was then expanded and performed off-Broadway as well as other venues around the country.
The 2008 film version, which Evered adapted and directed, starred Ethan Peck as well as Emmy winners Bebe Neuwirth and Peter Coyote. It premiered at the Palms Springs International Film Festival as well as at more than twenty film festivals around the world. It won several awards before being picked up by Showtime. The film continues to stream on Amazon Prime. The play, both the long and short version were published in a beautiful edition by Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.