Acclaimed film, television, and stage actor Stephen Lang who premiered his one-man show, Beyond Glory, three years ago in Washington is now performing to rave reviews in a state-of-the art off-Broadway theatre in New York City. The play is an adaptation of Larry Smith’s book, Beyond Glory: Medal of Honor Recipients in Their Own Words. The medal is the nation’s highest military award for valor. The play profiles several recipients honored for their service in World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War. After a successful Washington run, Stephen Lang says he took his show on the road and has performed for U.S. troops around the world.
Speaking with host Carol Castiel of VOA News Now’s Press Conference USA, Stephen Lang says he was gratified by the reaction to his play from servicemen and women who often told him, “You know, this is why we joined up in the first place.” Not surprisingly, when he speaks the words on stage of the Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from earlier wars, Lang says he cannot help but consider the young men and women who are serving - or have served – in Iraq.
In Beyond Glory, Mr. Lang brings to life the stories of eight Congressional Medal of Honor recipients in their own words. He says he decided to write the play after reading the book of the same name by his friend Larry Smith, a veteran journalist, with whom he regularly played basketball. Mr. Lang, who is a 50-something year-old white man, portrays “everything from a 93-year-old white sailor to an 85-year-old black man to an 82-year-old Japanese-American.” That Japanese-American happens to be the Honorable Daniel Inouye, eight-term Senator from the state of Hawaii.
Stephen Lang says the actions for which any of the men received the Medal of Honor can be called a “defining moment in their lives,” but that everything that came before it actually “led to that moment” and everything that happened after it “reflected that moment.” He believes those men have become very public personalities, as well as a wonderful resource for the military and for their country. Mr. Lang says that, as the act itself recedes into the past, the memory of the event “takes on a beautiful glow.” He says he hopes that his performance in Beyond Glory will also “turn kids on” and they will find it inspiring and illuminating.
Mr. Lang says he has adapted the play for cinematic or television format and he hopes to perform Beyond Glory once more – on the West coast of the United States – before releasing it for others to act in. Beyond Glory is presented by the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City and is currently playing until August 19th.
For full audio of the program Press Conference USA click here.