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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 music, archival photos, video, and personal letters, 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 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 with a manuscript in his knapsack - later revealed as one of America’s greatest novelists.. The journeys of these four remarkable figures intersect and intertwine as they serve as the “eyes for the world” from D-Day to eventual victory. 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; and the 761st Tank Battalion, dubbed “The Black Panthers,” for their bravery and heroism.

The lecture is inspired by a collection of historic flags that landed on the beaches with the American troops and bore witness to victory and heartbreak on the road to VE Day.

The Eyes of the World will be performed at Boston Symphony Hall, with the legendary Boston Pops Orchestra, conducted by Keith Lockhart, on May 29 and 30. It was previously presented at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage (November 2021) and Kennedy Center's Opera House (June 2022). Ian Weinberger (music director of Hamilton on Broadway) served as music supervisor and led the 58-piece Orchestra of St. Luke’s, performing his arrangements of music from Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, as well as original pieces created for this performance. Broadway vocalists 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), performed popular and often profound music of this era from Glenn Miller and Edith Piaf to Woody Guthrie, among others. The immersive concert experience is directed by Peter Flynn.

Carnegie Hall Press Release
Kennedy Center Press Release (PDF)

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