Syracuse Stage will honor nation’s veterans 
with reading of Pulitzer Prize-nominated play

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (Nov. 1, 2021) – Syracuse Stage and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families will honor the nation’s military veterans with a staged reading of “War Words,” a Pulitzer Prize-nominated play by Michelle Kholos Brooks based on the real-life experiences of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Directed by Syracuse Stage artistic director Robert Hupp and featuring a cast of nine, “War Words” is scheduled for one performance only, at 7 p.m. Nov. 9. The performance will be the first in the Tan Auditorium in the newly opened National Veterans Resource Center, 101 Waverly Ave., Syracuse. “War Words” is presented in partnership with the Atlantic Council.

Admission is free, but tickets are required. Tickets may be obtained at or through the Syracuse Stage Box Office: (315)-443-3275.

A video introduction by retired Gen. David Petraeus will precede the reading, and a reception will follow. Patrons will be required to show proof of COVID vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test before entering the auditorium. Properly fitted masks will be required for all regardless of vaccination status.

Syracuse Stage is one of six theaters across the country presenting “War Words” in association with Veterans Day celebrations. Theaters in New York, Miami, Philadelphia, Fort Worth, and Los Angeles also have scheduled readings. A goal of the Atlantic Council, the Washington, D.C., based think tank behind the “War Words” project, is to make readings of the play an annual tradition to engage communities with those who have served in the military.

“It’s an honor for Syracuse Stage to be included in this national project,” said Hupp. “Brooks’ new play is a dramatic exploration of the veteran experience; it brings their words to vivid life and gives us all a firsthand account of what it meant to be part of our country’s more recent overseas conflicts. It’s a humanizing process, and the actors we’ve assembled give voice to 17 engaging and distinct veterans and their families.

“Our Central New York military veterans and their families are valued by everyone at Syracuse Stage, and we are pleased to continue our engagement with the University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families with this staged reading,” he added.

“War Words” depicts the funny, strange, heroic and heartbreaking stories of men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Playwright Brooks interviewed veterans and their families to create this compelling entertainment with the intent of humanizing professional warriors by telling their true stories in their own words.

"Few movies or plays have ever captured for me as powerfully as ‘War Words’ … the experiences of American veterans, especially those who have served in uniform since 9/11. Many of the reflections in it were not just familiar to me, they struck important chords with me as well," Petraeus noted.

The Atlantic Council is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization that galvanizes U.S. leadership and engagement in the world, in partnership with allies and partners, to shape solutions to global challenges. The “War Words” Project is one expression of its aspiration not just to analyze challenges but to inspire, seek and implement solutions to them.

COVID policy: At the door, audience members will be required to show proof of full vaccination, or for those not vaccinated, a negative test result from either an antigen-type test within six hours prior to entry or a PCR-type test within 72 hours prior to entry at the theatre. MASKS WILL BE REQUIRED AT ALL TIMES by everyone, regardless of vaccination status, except while eating or drinking in designated areas.

(Syracuse Stage)