An all-star celebrity cast – including Oscar nominee Laura Dern, Gary Cole, Antwone Fisher and Ken Howard, as well as “Dear Abby” columnist Abigail Van Buren (Jeanne Phillips) – will bring to life the battlefront letters of American military men and women and their family members in the play
If All the Sky Were Paper,
to be performed for one night only –
Monday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. – in the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, Calif.
  The play, written by
Andrew Carroll
and based on his bestselling books of military letters “War Letters” and “Behind the Lines,” is directed by
John Benitz
and presented by
Chapman University
, in association with Lexicat Artists.

woman smiling

Laura Dern

Tickets are on sale now at $25 general admission
, at
or by calling 1-800-838-3006.  A reception with the actors, writer and director will follow the performance. The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located in downtown Culver City at 9820 Washington Blvd.  Free covered parking is available at Culver City Hall, behind the theater on Culver Blvd. A portion of the ticket proceeds will support the U.S. Veterans Artists’ Alliance, The Soldiers Project and the Wounded Warrior Project.

“We are thrilled and delighted to have the participation of this wonderful cast, whose artistry will truly illuminate the humanity, passion, humor and heartbreak of these letters,” said director Benitz. “In addition, we have military veterans, who will join the actors onstage to read some of the letters – they and our other gifted cast members will bring new dimensions to these wartime letters of U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen and their loved ones on the homefront, from the American Revolution through the Civil War and World Wars I and II to today’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The celebrity cast will feature
Laura Dern
Jurassic Park
, Oscar nominee for
Rambling Rose
, Golden Globe winner for HBO’s series
Gary Cole
Midnight Caller
Office Space, Talladega Nights
); “Dear Abby” columnist
Abigail Van Buren
(real name: Jeanne Phillips), whose appeals in her nationally syndicated column have played an important role in helping Carroll collect the letters;
Ken Howard
1776, The White Shadow
, current president of the Screen Actors Guild);
Kate Mansi
Blake Barris
of the daytime drama
Days of Our Lives
;  actress/acting coach
Sandra Seacat
Crazy in Alabama
), actor/playwright/director
Jim Beaver
), U.S. Air Force veteran
Lorna Dyn
, USMC veteran
Christopher Sweeney
, and others.

man smiling

Gary Cole

If All the Sky Were Paper
was written by Carroll based upon his
New York Times
bestselling books
War Letters
Behind the Lines
.   In 1998, Carroll launched the Legacy Project – a national, all-volunteer initiative that works to find and preserve wartime correspondence from all of America’s wars.  He has traveled to 40 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, to seek out what he calls “the world’s greatest undiscovered literature,” and has collected more than 85,000 previously unpublished letters (and now emails) from every conflict in U.S. history.  His regular appeals in “Dear Abby’s” column have resulted in the donations of thousands of letters from Americans all over the world.

This extensive collection of war correspondence is now housed for posterity and scholarly study at
Chapman University
in Orange, Calif. at the new
Center for American War Letters
, with Carroll serving as founding director of the center. 
If All the Sky Were Paper
director John Benitz is an associate professor of theatre at Chapman, and Carroll is a Chancellor Fellow at the university.

Ken Howard

Ken Howard

If All the Sky Were Paper
first performed by a student cast at Chapman University in 2010
, features the best of the letters published in
War Letters
Behind the Lines,
ranging from the War of Independence to the conflicts of the present day. Actors take on the roles of the military men and women and their loved ones at home, acting out the full spectrum of emotions and experiences contained in the letters.  From the incredible drama of the human experience in battle to the pathos and humor of everyday life on the front and the home front, audiences will be moved and inspired by the correspondence of those caught up in the American Revolution, Civil War, World Wars I and II, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Press coverage of this play and the letters has included features on
Oprah, NBC Nightly News
, ABC’s
Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning
, CNN,
Fox News
This American Life
Seattle Times
Los Angeles Times
Washington Post
Stars and Stripes
and NPR, as well as many other national publications. Carroll’s books include the bestsellers
Letters of a Nation, War Letters, Behind the Lines
Operation Homecoming
, which inspired the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning PBS documentary of the same name.

The play has recently awarded a prestigious grant from
The National Endowment for the Arts
and a grant from
Cal Humanities
to help reach audiences around the country through a series of readings and performances.