Cost of War
A benefit performance for Bedlam’s Veteran Outreach Program and Good Bread from Good People, an on-the-ground Ukrainian aid organization baking bread and distributing it to soldiers of the Armed Forces and Territorial Defense, the police, hospital patients, the elderly, and families with children in Kyiv. Created and performed by the Veterans of Bedlam Outreach.
Watch the full performance below!
When Ukraine was invaded, the Veterans of Bedlam Outreach immediately asked, “How can we serve now?” The horrifying images of rubble and destruction, the heartbreaking stories of displaced civilians, and the familiar call to arms reminded us of the fragility of freedom.
The 2022 ensemble of Bedlam’s Veteran Outreach understands war on a visceral level. War anywhere in the world can activate a sense of loss, fear, and frustration in the veteran/military community. We serve now not by donning uniforms, but by holding space for the exploration of these feelings and the sharing of stories using theatrical tools and techniques. Structure, discipline, training and above all, camaraderie are foundational in military service and any theatrical endeavor.
On November 1, 2022, 7:30 pm, we invited audiences to bear witness to our stories, comprised of original writing, classical and contemporary theater texts, poems, and music. Proceeds served to continue the work of Bedlam Outreach, now in its seventh year, as well as Good Bread from Good People.
Mary Jo McConnell
MJ is a proud veteran, having served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, specializing in Neonatal Intensive Care. She is honored to offer free guided meditation classes to veterans on the Veterans Arts Workshop-Online Portal. She serves as a De-Cruiter, using personal narrative and Shakespeare to promote healing in the veteran community as well as a facilitator and program developer for Poetic Theater’s “Veteran Voices”, where veterans and their family members craft and perform personal stories to ritualize and share the moral burden of war.
She is currently an actor with three-plus decades of professional experience buoyed by an MFA in Acting from American Conservatory Theatre. You might have seen her perform in the Broadway National Tours of The Phantom of the Opera, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Sister Act and All Shook Up, as well as creating over fifty roles in regional and off-Broadway theatre. She co-wrote, produced and starred in the short film Trumped as well as her one woman show, Captain MJ’s Fantastic Adventure. On television, she appeared in One Life to Live, Masters of Sex, Pan Am, and loves working on NYC indie films. She is currently featured as Una, a “Nazi bombmaker on a mission” in Hunters on Amazon Prime. As a founding artist of New York’s Musical Theatre Factory, she is a recipient of their inaugural “Builder’s Award”.
MJ is a native New Yorker who recently moved to San Francisco. She thanks her husband, Broadway musician John Johnson, for being her pandemic pod-mate and home studio gaffer.
Lou was drafted into U.S. Army in 1955 and served in Germany. For forty years he was as advertising exec for BBDO, working network TV area. As an actor: All-Army Entertainment Contest. Off and Off-Off Broadway: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Judson’s Poets Theater, etc., one hundred TV commercials as principal, forty years and ongoing as a non-singing actor (Super) at Metropolitan Opera and New York State Opera. Thanks to Eric and Bedlam for generous support of Outreach program! Keeps an old guy going.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul (Paolo) Pillitteri was a top-secret cryptologist upon the USS Intrepid during it’s last tour of duty before becoming a museum on the west side of Manhattan. During his there years in the Navy, he met a crewman from North Carolina who taught him that some of the secrets of life were in books and in theater and helped make him into the playwright/composer he is today. He considers his time on the Intrepid some of the greatest moments of his life.
Paolo’s play, “Nocturnal Emissions” was produced at Ensemble Studio Theater, his one-man play, “I am Hamlet,” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and his musical, “Immigrant Son,” a homage to his immigrant heritage, at the Hudson Guild Theater, where it was awarded “best score” of a musical. He is the proud spouse of the ballerina/teacher Martha Chapman and thanks Zuzanna Szadkowski for her stewardship of the Bedlam Veteran’s Class and it’s members for their constant inspiration.
Drafted into the U.S. Army in May, 1966. Basic Unit Training with 9th Infantry Division, Ft. Riley, Kansas. Went to Vietnam in February, 1967 and served with HHC 2nd Brigade, 9th Inf. Division at Dong Tam, Mekong Delta. Served in the Mobile Riverine Force, a joint Army/Navy operation patrolling the rivers of the delta. Discharged (honorably) February, 1968. Member of Bedlam’s veterans outreach group since 2017.
Lucas Niedzialkowski entered the performing arts after serving as an Infantry Officer in The U.S Army. He has appeared in numerous theatre productions including Charles Mee’s BIG LOVE, Darlene Craviotto’s PIZZA MAN, Adam North’s SPIN and Anthony Wilkinson’s MY BIG GAY ITALIAN WEDDING. He studied at The Barrow Group, Atlantic Theatre Company, Bedlam Theatre Company and HB Studios. Originally from Central New York, Lucas currently resides in Harlem and is on a constant mission to improve his craft.
Philip J. Milio
Philip J. Milio served in the US Army. As an actor, he performed in Sophocles’ Philoctetes with Aquila Theatre (Warrior Chorus); Ensemble of As You Like It, Twelfth Night and Disney’s Hercules for Public Theatre / Shakespeare in the Park. Philip has been a featured writer and performer with Poetic Theater Productions.
U.S. Army; QuarterMaster/Operations Research Analyst; Captain: Gulf War era.