A DREAM OF WINGS - THE STORY OF THE WRIGHT BROTHERS
A New Musical
Book, Music, Lyrics by Vince Corozine ©2016
Script Consultant and Additional Lyrics by Morey Norkin
A family-friendly musical about the Wright brothers and their dreams of flying. Tension mounts between brothers and their father. The odds are against the brothers, but they succeed! The musical brings forth man's fascination with flight throughout the ages and the uniqueness of the self-taught and highly disciplined Wright family. Nevertheless, the true heart and meaning of the musical is about dreaming. The story of the Wright brothers gives us one thing: miracles can happen. If man can fly, we are capable of anything. It's fun, it's family, it's educational, and it is part of the great history of America.
A DREAM OF WINGS is about the Wright Brothers, set in Dayton, Ohio and Kitty Hawk, North Carolina . Wilbur and Orville's triumph over adversity is a personification of the American Dream.
It is a book musical with a cast of twenty. It is the story of the Wright Brothers' battle in their quest to do what no one had done before; to build and fly a heavier-than-air machine. It reflects the spirit of the turn of the century and spans the period from 1891 to 1903. The Wright Brothers exhibit physical and emotional courage and a moral purpose against all doubt, ridicule, and superstition. They are often in conflict with their father, society, and each other.
The creative genius of two young Midwestern men, Wilbur and Orville Wright, is unmatched in U.S. history. On December 17, 1903, they made history in a way that would forever change our world. This musical is based on the two young dreamers from Dayton, Ohio. The Wright's brilliant entrepreneurial business undertakings, their meticulous research into aviation, combined with their ability and propensity to finance their projects solely on their own made them true A Conquerors of the Air.
At the turn of the century, Americans were pro-technology and it was an inventive age. New patents, new machines, new devices from galoshes to mass-produced nails and bicycles were coming down the pike. Widespread expectations abounded: automobiles are here, electric trolley cars are here, and airplanes must be next. On the other hand, flight was such a formidable challenge.
So many had for so long failed. Wilbur, the dreamer and Orville, the more practical brother clash throughout. Conflicts arise and tensions mount, as Orville must choose between his love for Elizabeth and his love of flying. Their father, Bishop Milton Wright, believes that flying is against God's will.
This musical, A DREAM OF WINGS, brings forth man's fascination with flight throughout the ages and the uniqueness of the self-taught and highly disciplined Wright family. Nevertheless, the true heart and meaning of the musical is about dreaming. The story of the Wright Brothers gives us one thing: miracles can happen. If man can fly, we are capable of anything.
It's fun, it's family, it's educational, and it's part of the great history of America.
A street in Dayton , Ohio July 4, 1891. The town is celebrating Independence Day. Political candidates, bicycles, ladies with parasols, picnic baskets, sports enthusiasts abound, while the Wright family comments on the events. The cast erupts into a Ragtime number "Summertime in Dayton".
1893, the Wright's front porch. The Wright family gathers. Wilbur imitates birds in flight, "Bird Ballet", and the rhythmic, "To Fly" where Wilbur as Orville disagree about the significance of flying. Orville is convinced that Wilbur is crazy.
The Wright's parlor. The family is gathered, awaiting the return of Bishop Wright, from one of his mission trips. Younger sister, forever bossy, Katharine is critical of the boys' manners. Mother Susan encourages the boys to pursue their dreams. The Bishop arrives complaining about the state of the world. He wants his sons to concentrate on their bicycle business. Susan (who is sickly) and the Bishop sing about their philosophy of life, "Always Look at Both Sides of the Question".
Main Street in Front of Pender's Ice Cream Parlor. Beautiful and elegant Elizabeth Mayfield and her two girlfriends stop their bikes. She has her sights on marrying one of the Wright brothers. Ambitious Elizabeth tells the girls about her plan.
Outside the Wright Bicycle Shop. People riding bicycles of all shapes and sizes. Wilbur is in his shop, as Orville crashes his bike and enters limping. Katharine threatens to tell the Bishop about Orville's recklessness. Elizabeth enters with her bike in need of repair. The gregarious Orville bounds into the shop and is taken with Elizabeth and her with him. The brothers argue in "A New Idea" about Wilbur's inattention to the business and his mind being on flying. Elizabeth returns for her bike and Katharine attempts to get everybody socially involved in the "Dayton Waltz". In the middle of the dance, Wilbur stops and picks up a cardboard box. He excitedly tells Orville how twisting the box is similar to the way bird's turn their wings. Elizabeth and Katharine are annoyed at Wilbur's antics.
Sudden scene shift to the l893 World's Fair in Chicago. Elegantly attired couples dance to the "Dayton Waltz" at the Garden Pavilion. Orville and Elizabeth enter dancing and steal the show. Up-tempo ragtime music erupts with the company singing, "A Brand-New Day". Octave Chanute, the famous engineer, and J. Pierpont Langley arrive in a hot air balloon. Chanute announces that J. Pierpont Langley will be the first to fly. Meanwhile Elizabeth is drawing in Orville like a spider with a fly, as Wilbur is trying to convince Orville about the thrill of flying. Katharine and Wilbur sing about their dreams. "There's Gotta Be"
1896 Wright's parlor. Wright family is gathered. Orville again crashes his bike and is upbraided by Katharine. Orville is nervous about the fact that Elizabeth wants to get married. Wilbur states that he gathered information from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington , D.C. , and he is writing to a Bill Tate, mayor of Kitty Hawk, NC , who assures the brothers that Kitty Hawk is the perfect place for them to do their flying experiments. The letter includes a poem from a Willy Tate. Katharine is interested in his poetry and concludes that Kitty Hawk must be a sophisticated place to have a resident poet. Meanwhile, the boys excitedly tell the Bishop about their correspondence with Octave Chanute and how he is encouraging them to fly. The Bishop believes that trying to fly like a bird will never benefit mankind. He sings "Keep Your Feet on the Ground, Boys". The brothers argue about flight, while the girls voice their concerns about their loud bickering. Elizabeth enters the Wright's parlor with a present for Orville. When she hears that Orville might be going with Wilbur to Kitty Hawk , she grabs the present and exits in a huff. Octave Chanute arrives and says that Langley will be the first to fly. Wilbur and Orville disagree... the race is on! Katharine receives another poem from Willy Tate and sings a song describing Willy. "My Poetry Man".
The Wright parlor 1900. Elizabeth enters and wants to discuss the impending wedding with Orville. She accuses Wilbur of dominating Orville and she and Orville sing, "That's All I Ask", where she trys to understand what Orville wants in life; marriage, flying, or the cycle shop. He wants it all! Meanwhile, Chanute arrives. He overhears the brothers talking about flying and about bicycles, and he believes they are designing a flying bicycle. The boys are beginning to believe that Chanute is not to be trusted and give him bogus directions to Kitty Hawk. With their glider plans mysteriously missing, they conclude that something strange is going on.
Main Street in front of Pender's Ice Cream Parlor. Elizabeth and her two girlfriends stop riding their bikes to discuss men. Katharine, (unobserved) hears Elizabeth tell of her plan to marry Orville, which include; taking over the Wright household. She is shocked at what she hears.
Wright's parlor 1900. The family mentions how much they miss Susan, who has passed away. Wilbur sings about his dream, "A Dream of Wings"
Orville and Elizabeth discuss choices, how Wilbur wants to fly, and that Orville should marry her and stay in Dayton. She exits upset; when Orville can't decide what he should do. Katharine enters and tells Orville what she overheard. He doesn't believe her. Elizabeth returns to apologize and is confronted by Katharine. They put Orville to the test, and he says, I've made up my mind... I'm going to Kitty Hawk.
The Union Train Station in Dayton, Sept. 6, 1900. Wilbur leaves for Kitty Hawk. The town folks arrive and ridicule Wilbur, in the ragtime, "The Boy from Dayton". Katharine announces she is going to Kitty Hawk. The Bishop is distraught that all are deserting him. The crowd reprises "The Boy from Dayton" as Wilbur and Orville are left on stage bewildered.
On the boat. Instrumental Ragtime: "Carolina Stomp". Wilbur is on board a rickety boat, in a storm, enroute to Kitty Hawk . Wilbur is sea sick, while Capt. Perry's and his assistant, attempt to keep Wilbur from falling overboard. The music and action stop three times, while back in Dayton , folks are discussing how Wilbur must be enjoying his trip. Wilbur finally arrives in Kitty Hawk and young Tom Tate arrives to fetch Wilbur. He is a teller of tall tales who ends his sentences with and that's the darn truth.
The Wright's parlor. Katharine reads another poem from Willy. When Katharine again asks if she can go to Kitty Hawk, the Bishop tells her that they need her in Dayton . Katharine pouts and clutches Willy's poem to her heart as she sings a reprise of "My Poetry Man".
The Tate's yard in Kitty Hawk. Tom and Wilbur arrive. Addie Tate is concerned that her house is not good enough for Wilbur. Bill Tate fetches Willy, a disheveled-looking, burly man, who brags about his new outhouse. Miss Fanny (town gossip and troublemaker) arrives to meet the A odd-lookin' Yankee, calling him, Wilbur Bright- which annoys Wilbur. She also believes that Wilbur is a foreign spy. The Tate's play and sing "Got No Pictures", in which they laud their simple life. They play the banjo, violin, washboard bass, guitar, harmonica, and the jug.
Shores of Kitty Hawk, July 1901. Chanute arrives, after a terrible trip of bailing water. He tells Tom that President Teddy Roosevelt wants to give the Wrights a distinguished medal of honor. He makes Miss Fanny and Tom his assistants. He says that he is a Government Agent. Miss Fanny, believing the Wrights are foreign spies, thinks they are planning to kill everybody.
The Wright's camp. Orville, Wilbur, Bill Tate, and Chanute are working on a glider suspended from the ceiling. They sing about the terrible weather conditions, the heat, mosquitoes, and rain "Sand Gets In". Chanute causes a stir when he mentions that he wants to publicize and take credit for their findings. The Wrights balk at this. The brothers manipulate the plane and argue, "We Can Do It!". Bill Tate encourages them to give up flying for the season, but Wilbur wants to give it another try. Chanute sings a reprise of "I Can Do It". We hear a loud crash off stage. Tom bursts in and declares that Wilbur is hurt bad... real bad.
Dayton Sept. 1901. The brothers are discouraged. Wilbur is sitting in a chair with a bandage on his head. Orville says that someone deliberately cut the wing wires that caused the crash. They conclude that it could only have been Chanute. Susan appears in a pool of light and sings, "A Vision Before You".
Sawyer's Barn, Oct. 1903. Miss Fanny calls a town meeting. The Company dances a "Hoedown". The rowdy crowd pushes and shoves its way into the barn. Reverend Jeremiah Tate asserts that it is not God's will that man should fly. Miss Fanny and Chanute tell the crowd that the Wrights are doing the devil's work. The crowd is ready to torch the Wright's shed.
Outside the Tate's house. Wilbur watches and imitates the flying gulls. "Reprise of Bird Ballet". Suddenly, the demonstrative Kitty Hawkers arrive led by Miss Fanny and Rev. Tate. They demand that the Wrights leave Kitty Hawk . She points to the Government Agent (Chanute), who is hiding. The crowd sings, "A Good God, a Bad Devil, and a Hot Hell". Katharine, Carrie and the Bishop arrive. The Bishop tells them that Langley has given up flying. Katharine asks for Willy Tate. Bill Tate points to Willy, who totes a rifle and fishing pole and spits tobacco. Katharine screams and faints into the arms of the Bishop. When Miss Fanny learns that the Bishop is the father of the Wrights, the crowd backs off on its demands. Miss Fanny is upset that Chanute lied. When Orville realizes Chanute stole the glider plans, he smashes Chanute in the face. Chanute exits screaming that he will sue everybody. Willy approaches Katharine and sings, "Little Things" Katharine begins to see that Willy has a wonderful heart under his rough exterior. They exit with Willy promising that he will show her how to kill and skin a possum.
Wright brothers' camp, Kitty Hawk, November 1903. Bad weather has delayed everything. Orville wonders if he made the right decision to give up Elizabeth. The boys ask what happened to Chanute. Tom Tate says that Chanute was dropped off on the isolated Tar Island . They all sing (a reprise) of "We Can Do It".
Dec.17 on the dunes of Kitty Hawk. Final preparations are made for the heavier-than-air manned flight. The wind blows. It is a cold, icy day. Tom runs in with a telegram from the Bishop, who tells how proud he is of them. Suspense builds, as the plane is prepared. Orville wins the coin-toss and flys first. (The four actual flights taken that day are projected onto the background. On the sides of the stage are the scenes that take place simultaneously). The final song "A Dream of Wings". Katharine sings that she belongs with the family in Dayton ; Willy sings that Kitty Hawk is his home; the Bishop longs for Susan; Wilbur and Orville tell how they finally conquered flight. The town folks enter cheering for Wilbur and Orville, take up the song, and reinforce that dreams can come true!