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The Eyes of the World

From D-Day to VE Day

“The words tell the story; the music breaks open our hearts.”
— DC Metro Theater Arts

Through stirring music, rare archival photos, film, and personal accounts, The Eyes of the World tells the dramatic story of the final eleven months of World War II in Europe through the words and images of Ernest Hemingway, Life magazine daredevil war photographer Robert Capa, Vogue model-turned-photojournalist Lee Miller, and a young soldier, named Jerry, who landed on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944.

Historian John Monsky narrates and leads audiences through the stories of these remarkable figures. Their journeys intersect as they report on the War from D-Day to VE Day, trying and stay alive in their search for the truth to get the story out. And maybe, even save the world.

Along the way, their stories cross paths with such remarkable characters as Pablo Picasso, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Marlene Dietrich, Hemingway’s estranged wife war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, the 761st Tank Battalion, dubbed “The Black Panthers,” for their bravery and heroism and the all-female, all-Black 6888 Central Postal Directory Battalion.

The Eyes of the World was most recently performed at Boston Symphony Hall, with the legendary Boston Pops Orchestra, conducted by Keith Lockhart (May 2024). It was previously presented at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage (November 2021) and Kennedy Center's Opera House (June 2022).

Broadway vocalists who have performed in the production include Shereen Ahmed (My Fair Lady), Lilli Cooper (Tootsie), Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen), Stephanie Jae Park (Hamilton), Adam Jacobs (Aladdin), Kate Rockwell (Mean Girls), Nicholas Rodriguez (Company), and Daniel Yearwood (Sweeney Todd).

Music captures the essence of the times and drives the emotion of the story home, featuring compositions from Glenn Miller, Richard Rodgers, Frank Loesser, John Williams, Edith Piaf, Jerome Kern and Michael Kamen. We hear Aaron Copland’s “Letter from Home” as the boys in the Hürtgen receive long-awaited mail. Fred Ebb and John Kander’s “Tomorrow Belongs to Me,” from Cabaret is combined with haunting images establishing Hitler’s rise to power. “Freedom’s Road,” with lyrics by Langston Hughes, reminds us of the double victory campaign: the fight against fascism aboard and racism at home.

The lecture is inspired by a collection of historic flags that landed on the Normandy Beaches with the American troops and bore witness to both glory and heartbreak on the road to victory.

Praise for The Eyes of the World: From D-Day to VE Day

  • “A new form of storytelling. I was completely blown away.”

    — Sir Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director, Carnegie Hall
  • “The words tell the story; the music breaks open our hearts.”

    — DC Metro Theater Arts
  • “A production that has it all—drama, romance, kismet, and spectacular music… it will transport you to a different time…. John Monsky… is a national treasure.”

    — Katie Couric
  • “It’s a story most Americans are familiar with, yet the production promises something unique.”

    — Town & Country
  • “Monsky is a great storyteller…. ”

    — Spectrum News
  • “The Eyes of the World inspires us to salute the men, women, and families who have sacrificed for our freedom and encourages young people to understand what came before them, particularly as we lose the connection to that generation of great Americans who gave so much.”

    — Robert J. Dalessandro, Deputy Secretary, American Battle Monuments Commission
  • “It brings history to life. I was absolutely dazzled.”

    — Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO, New-York Historical Society
  • “I am a big fan…. I love the combination of music and history…. Music captures our imaginations and transports us. With his multi-media presentations, John has a unique ability to bring the past to life, engaging our intellect and our sensibilities. He is a gifted storyteller.”

    — Dr. Jay Gitlin, Department of History, Yale University
  • “The program is immersive and soaring, giving us a new, entertaining, and innovative way of teaching history. It deserves, and must have, a larger audience—to inspire further engagement and study, engender better understanding of our history and give credit to unsung heroes—like the 6888 Postal Directory Unit and the 761st Tank Battalion, who deserve our gratitude and a more prominent place in our history books.”

    — Cheryl Wills, Author and Talk Show Host, Spectrum News, NY1
  • “I believe deeply in the importance of the arts to unite us, to make us laugh, to make us think and to educate. John Monsky has created a new multimedia performance format, one that teaches us about our history at a time in our country when understanding our past is not only important, but essential to our nation’s future.”

    — Scott M. Delman, 11-time Tony Winner, Blue Spruce Productions
  • “The Eyes of the World sheds important light on the contributions of Black military women to our nation’s history, which is often overlooked…. I left the theater committed to finding new and accessible platforms to present Eyes of the World to a larger audience, as it can serve as a catalyst and tool for greater understanding, appreciation, and unity.”

    — LTC (ret.) Patricia Jackson-Kelly, President, National Association of Black Military Women
  • “Thank you…for continuing to share the stories…of those of us who proudly served in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII and to help preserve their legacy, particularly those who were killed or wounded.”

    — Arthur Grabiner, WWII Combat Veteran

Boston Pops