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From Here to Eternity


Musical in 2 Acts. Lyrics by Tim Rice. Music by Stuart Brayson. Book by Bill Oakes. Based on the novel of the same name, written by James Jones

London production - Director Tamara Harvey. Set and Costume Designs Soutra Gilmour. Orchestrator, Musical Supervisor & Director David White. Based on the Novel by James Jones.

Shaftesbury Theatre, London - 30 September, 2013 Closed 29 March, 2014


From Here to Eternity is set on the Hawaiian island of Oahu in 1941, before and during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Loosely based on Jones' own wartime experiences, the story follows several members of a military company, including Captain Dana “Dynamite” Holmes and First Sergeant Milt Warden, who begins an affair with Holmes' wife Karen.

Story (the film)

In 1941, Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt, a bugler, is transferred from the Bugle Corps at Fort Shafter (giving up his corporal stripes) to a rifle outfit, Company "G," at Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu. Prewitt, a native of Kentucky, after losing his parents, enlisted in 1935 at Ft. Myer, Virginia. He intends to be a "thirty-year man." Captain Dana "Dynamite" Holmes has heard of his reputation as a talented middle-weight boxer. Holmes urges Prewitt to join the regimental boxing team, and promises that Prewitt will be promoted to corporal or even sergeant if he helps win the boxing trophy on December 15. Prewitt refuses, though he keeps silent about his reasons. Holmes retaliates by making army life as miserable as possible for Prewitt, hoping he will give in. Unable to break Prewitt's spirit, Holmes orders First Sergeant Milton Warden to prepare general court martial papers. Warden, however, knowing of Holmes' treatment and realizing Prewitt is a career soldier, suggests that he try to entice Prewitt to change his mind by doubling up on company punishment. The other non-commissioned officers assist in the conspiracy. Prewitt is supported only by his friend, Private Angelo Maggi.

Meanwhile, Warden begins an affair with Holmes' neglected wife Karen. Warden knows and tells Karen, the penalty for an affair with his commanding officer's wife, a twenty-year sentence in the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth. Sergeant Maylon Stark has told Warden that Karen had many affairs at Fort Bliss, including with him. As their relationship develops, Warden asks Karen about her numerous affairs to test her sincerity with him. Karen relates that Holmes has been unfaithful to her most of their marriage. She miscarried one night when Holmes came back from one affair drunk, and unable to assist her to the hospital, resulting in her not being able to bear any more children. She then affirms her genuine love for Warden.

Prewitt and Maggio spend their liberty time at the New Congress Club, a gentlemen's club where Prewitt meets and falls for Lorene. Lorene tells Prewitt, "as a waitress in a small Oregon town, she dated for three years, the son of the richest family in town. When her boyfriend married, she went to Seattle. She met a woman who had worked in Hawaii, she sailed to the islands, staying there a year and two months." Her desire, "make a sack full of money to return to Oregon and buy a house for her mother." Prewitt confides to Lorene the reason he refuses to box for the company is that he blinded Dixie Wells, a close friend, while sparring. Maggio encounters Sergeant Judson at the club. When Maggio complains that Judson's piano playing is interfering with his dancing, the two nearly come to blows. Maggio is told that Judson is the Sergeant of the Guard at the stockade.

Later, at a tavern called "Choy's," located near the base, Judson sees Maggio holding a photograph of his family. Judson makes a rude comment to Prewitt about Maggio's sister causing Maggio to smash a bar stool over Judson's head. Judson pulls a switchblade on Maggio, but Warden, sitting in a corner, intervenes to save Maggio by telling Judson that killing Maggio would "create two weeks of paperwork" for him. When Judson advances on Warden with the knife, Warden breaks a beer bottle in two and uses the jagged edge as a weapon. Judson retreats, throws down his knife and goes to the bar for a drink. Warden states, "As soldiers, he would prefer Camp Fire Girls over Judson and Maggio." However, Judson warns Maggio that sooner or later Maggio "tough monkey" will end up in the stockade and he would be there waiting for him.

Karen tells Warden that if he became an officer, she could divorce Holmes and they could return to the States and marry. Warden is not keen on the idea because of his dislike of officers, but agrees to consider the matter. Prewitt is given a weekend pass, courtesy of Warden, and goes to meet Lorene who is too busy at the club to talk. However, she meets him later at a bar for a drink. He tells Lorene he loves the Army, and shows Lorene his prized possession, a bugle mouthpiece. Prew tells her the honour of his lifetime, being selected to play Taps at Arlington National Cemetery on Armistice Day with the President in attendance. Maggio then walks in drunk and in uniform, explaining that he was assigned to guard duty that night, but deserted his post. Lorene encourages Prewitt to take Maggio back to the base. While Prewitt is calling for a cab, Military Police arrive and arrest Maggio, and he is sentenced to six months in the stockade.

Matters come to a head for Prewitt when Sergeant Galovitch picks a fight with Prewitt while on yard detail, and the two come to blows. At first, Galovitch repeatedly pummels Prewitt, who initially refuses to fight back, and then resorts to using only body blows. But as Galovitch and others watching continue taunting him, Prewitt's fighting side re-emerges, and Prewitt comes close to knocking Galovitch out before Holmes (observing from outside the crowd) finally steps in and stops the fight. When Galovitch falsely accuses Prewitt of insubordination, Holmes is about to punish Prewitt again until the man in charge of the detail says that it was Galovitch, not Prewitt, who was spoiling for the fight. But instead of punishing Galovitch, Holmes abruptly lets him off the hook and disperses the crowd. The entire incident is witnessed by the base commander, who orders an investigation by the Inspector General. When Holmes' true intentions are revealed to the commander, he orders a court-martial. When Holmes begs for an alternative, the commander's aide suggests that Holmes resign his commission "for the good of the service" and leave the Army, which the general accepts with dispatch. Holmes' replacement, Captain G.R. Ross, verbally reprimands the others involved, and then orders Sergeant Galovitch's demotion to private and put in charge of the latrine.

Maggio manages to escape from the stockade and find Prewitt and dies in his arms after telling of the abuse he suffered from Judson in the stockade. The following night Prewitt plays taps as tears stream down his cheeks. Seeking revenge, Prewitt tracks down Judson in town and invites him into a back alley to talk, then attacks him using the very same switchblade Judson had pulled on Maggio earlier. Prewitt kills Judson, but not before sustaining a serious stomach wound. Prewitt runs from the alley and goes into hiding at Lorene's apartment. Despite Prewitt's AWOL status, his platoon sergeant carries him "present" for three days at Warden's direction. Lorene, whose real name is Alma Burke, tends to Prewitt's wounds.

When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbour, Prewitt, still weak from his unhealed wound, finds out about the attack, and attempts to return to camp under cover of darkness, but is shot dead by a sentry. Warden identifies the body, laments Prewitt's stubbornness and states the irony that because of the attack, the boxing tournament is cancelled. However, he tells the other soldiers that Prewitt was in the end, a good soldier, and that he "loved the army more that any soldier I ever knew".

Holmes' resignation results in Karen having to return to the States with him. When she finds out that Warden failed to apply for officer status, she realizes they will never be together.

At the end, Lorene and Karen meet on a ship leaving for the mainland. Karen then tosses two leis into the water. She tells Alma, "There's a legend: if they float to shore, you'll return to Hawaii. If they float out to sea, you'll never return." Alma says she will never return, telling Karen that her fiancé was an Army Air Corps pilot killed in a B-17 during the attack, "he was awarded the Silver Star, they sent it to his mother. She wrote me. She wanted me to have it. They are very fine people, Southern people. He was named after a general. Robert E. Lee... Prewitt." Karen recognizes Prewitt's name from conversations with Warden. Lorene holds Prewitt's treasured bugle mouth piece.

Musical Numbers

Act 1

  1. Prologue - Maggio
  2. G Company Blues – The Men of G Company
  3. Another Language – Karen
  4. Thirty Year Man – Prewitt, The Men of G Company
  5. Marking Time – Warden
  6. Sure – Warden
  7. Don'cha Like Hawaii – Mrs. Kipfer, The New Congres Club Trio, Company
  8. You Got The Money – Company
  9. The Treatment – Prewitt
  10. Marking Time (reprise) – Warden
  11. Fight The Fight – Prewitt, The Men of G Company
  12. Run Along Joe – Lorene
  13. You Got The Money (reprise) – Drag Queen
  14. Fight The Fight (reprise) – Prewitt
  15. From Here To Eternity – Warden, Karen, Prewitt, Lorene

Act 2

  1. Thirty Year Man (reprise) – The Men of G Company
  2. Love Me Forever Today - Prewitt, Lorene
  3. I Love The Army – Maggio
  4. I Ain't Where I Wanna Be Blues – Prewitt, Warden
  5. G Company Blues (reprise) – The Men of G Company
  6. Maybe – Karen
  7. Something In Return – Warden, Prewitt, Karen, Lorene, Maggio, Company
  8. Fight The Fight (reprise) – Prewitt
  9. From Here To Eternity (reprise) – Karen, Warden, Lorene, Prewitt
  10. The Boys of '41– Company
  11. Run Along Joe (reprise)– Lorene
  12. Almost Perfect Lie – Prewitt
  13. Finale– Company

Cast of characters