American Creed

American Creed
Book and Lyrics by Joanne Helfrich, Music by Paul Helfrich
The American Creed affirms that we are each endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights—among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, or economic status. It directs our government to be of the people, by the people, and for the people, and calls on each of us to ensure liberty and justice for all.

America’s fidelity to this creed is judged by history. Living up to it remains a constant challenge. But it invests our nation with spiritual purpose and—if we honor its precepts—a moral destiny.” – Forrest Church, author of the book The American Creed

Characters, in order of appearance (download the program):

“Doctor” George Devine, the owner of the traveling show
Scout Steadfast, a well-travelled storyteller
Medicine Mary, a healer and storyteller
Liberty Belle, an actress
Magic Annie, a fortuneteller
Reverend Rightly, a preacher
Calamity Cate, a cowgirl performer
Lord Lee, a hypnotist
Polly Pureheart, an actress
Scallywag Sam, a cowboy performer
Nellie Devine, George’s wife and singer
Daisy Devine, George and Nellie’s daughter, a dancer

Setting: Somewhere in the USA heartland, Friday evening September 1, 1939

Act 1

Scene 1, Ballyhoo! (Song)
The Great American Medicine Show is in town! Meet host George Devine and our fabulous players!

Scene 2, Gifts of the God of Nature (Song)
Medicine Mary and Scout Steadfast tell of the Great Nations and healing ways of Nature. If that’s not enough, there’s medicine tonic! The actors disagree on how to tell their stories.

Scene 3, The Jamestown Entitled (Song)
The European people come for commerce. The Powhatan people stand their ground. Lord Lee performs feats of misdirection.

Scene 4, Pilgrims arrive seeking Liberty! (Song)
The pilgrims escape the king’s persecution. George has concerns about Lee, who says Magic Annie is a liar. Annie performs real magic?

Scene 5, Thanksgiving (Song)
The shipmates agree on equal laws for all, and celebrate with their new neighbors. Backstage intrigue effects the show.

Scene 6, Psalm 100 (Song)
The settlers sing from the same hymn book but see things very differently. Lee makes a deal with Calamity Cate.

Scene 7, On Canaan’s Happy Shore (Song)
The curse of slavery and servitude takes hold. Reverend Rightly inspires all to step up and end oppression.

Scene 8, Rule Britannia! (Song) and Revolution
The colonists claim liberty as the gift of the God of Nature. Polly Pureheart and Annie tell Daisy Devine of Lee’s plot, but Daisy is under Lee’s spell.

Act 2

Scene 1, Driving West and Battle Hymn of the Republic (Song)
Scallywag Sam tells happy and sad tales of American industry. Our actors put aside their differences to stand together for liberty.

Scene 2, Mother’s Day (Song)
Nellie Devine encourages all mothers to protest for international peace. George’s tonic claims get wilder. Lee’s plot becomes clear.

Scene 3, Wild West Show
The players’ discord threatens the show. Lee introduces Daisy as the star. Polly shares her dream with Sam.

Scene 4, The One Percent, Entitled Reprise (Song)
Lee tries to force Belle into a new role. Wealthy capitalists preach competition, domination, and greed.

Scene 5, Americanitis (Song)
Lee promotes discontent to sell tonic. Nellie discovers better cures… and sets George straight.

Scene 6, The Statue of Liberty
Belle finds a new role welcoming neighbors from around the world. Sam finally understands the golden rule.

Scene 7, Pass the Torch (Song)
Imperial powers create world wars. Daisy recognizes how she can help a friend… and carry the torch.

Scene 8, Ballyoo! Finale (Song)
George makes an important announcement… the show must go on!

The dialog for this performance was recorded over Zoom by the Westside Waldorf School’s 8th grade during its school closure for the coronavirus pandemic. Psalm 100 was also recorded by the students, but Zoom posed a challenge for the other songs, so included are tracks by other artists and rehearsal tracks by Joanne and Paul Helfrich. Enjoy the show!

Additional music by:
Native American Rain Dance Drums
Psalm 100, anonymous, from the Ainsworth Psalter, 1612
Rule Britannia, music by Thomas Arne, lyrics by James Thomson, performed by the United States Army Strings
Yankee Doodle Dandy, folk tune
On Canaan’s Happy Shore, folk hymn, performed by Saint Cecilia and the Melody Makers
Battle Hymn of the Republic, folk hymn, lyrics by Julia Ward Howe, performed by the London Philharmonic Choir
All other music, lyrics, and book by Joanne K. Helfrich & Paul M. Helfrich ©2020 All Rights Reserved

Bonus track: Rhapsody on the God of Nature for Choir and Orchestra [5:41]

If your neighbor’s not free, neither are you. You just don’t know it yet.


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