The CIRCLE project aims to specifically honor the men and women who fought during the Vietnam War. Because of that war’s massive unpopularity, many returning soldiers were treated with contempt and disdain. Unfortunately, soldiers returning from Iraq are experiencing similar reactions.
It is our hope that through this project, soldiers and their families may feel welcomed home, and for those who need it, perhaps the healing
process can begin.
Terrence Mann is universally recognized for his numerous starring roles on Broadway, which include the original “Rum Tum Tugger” in CATS, “Javert” and the “Beast” in LES MISERABLES and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, for which he received a Tony Nomination and the Tony Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Nominations for Best Actor respectively; also as “Scrooge” in A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and he created the role of “Saul” in RAGS. More recent Broadway portrayals include “Jekyll and Hyde” in JEKYLL AND HYDE, “Chauvelin” in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, and “Frank N Furter” in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. Film audiences have seen Terry in THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER, as “Ug” the bounty hunter from another planet in CRITTERS, “Larry” in A CHORUS LINE, “Snowball the Clown” in BIG TOP PEE WEE, “Ivor” in SOLAR BABIES, and numerous television shows such as LAW AND ORDER, the mini-series LIBERTY! THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, the network pilot of SHANGRI LA, THE EQUILIZER, and as “Earl Boyd” on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, just to mention a few. Terry is married to the beautiful and equally talented Broadway veteran, Charlotte D’Amboise.
Liza Vann was introduced to New York theatre audiences when she premiered Off-Broadway in VOX HUMANA #3: A LOVE SONG at La Mama. Most recently praised for her performance as “Marietta Corsini” in Richard Vetere’s MACHIAVELLI, her favorite New York credits also include “Lydia” in LADIES IN WAITING, “Sybil” in TEASERS, and her much acclaimed portrayal of “Mary Shelley” in Ken Eulo’s THE FRANKENSTEIN AFFAIR. A recipient of the Clarence Ross Fellowship from the American Theatre Wing, she has performed extensively in regional theater, as well as abroad. Also a producer of independent feature films, Liza has provided audiences with the award-winning drama, THE RADICALS, and the poignant love story, SONG OF LEAVES. THE TOP OF THE BOTTOM HALF: AN EVENING WITH THE KEEPER OF ALL KNOWLEDGE, is her 70-minute one-woman show which won the Silver Award in Women’s Issues in April 2000 at Worldfest-Houston. As a live performance, THE TOP OF THE BOTTOM HALF has crisscrossed the U.S. and Canada, making stops at theaters, universities and various organizations. Liza’s performances often benefit women’s health organizations, and she continues to accept limited engagements nationwide. Liza was also featured in the film, THE RADICALS. Shot entirely on location in France, Switzerland, and Germany, it was accorded a special honorary screening at the International Festival of the Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria, one of only three American features so honored (the other two being SCHINDLER’S LIST and GETTYSBURG). Liza holds a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from Queens University of Charlotte, NC, and currently resides in Manhattan.
Ryan McWhorter is a graduate of LaGrange College with a B.A. in Theater Arts. He has worked professionally as an actor, model and technician for over eight years. Ryan began his career appearing on stage at the Papermill Theatre in Lincoln, New Hampshire. He has worked on projects such as RUN RONNIE RUN, ROAD TRIP, and as “Zorro” in the Atlanta production of ZORRO at the 14th Street Playhouse.
The People Behind the Project – The Producers
Steven Earl Edwards’ professional experience spans more than thirty years as actor, director, and producer. As co-owner of the independent film company Ed-Man Productions in New York, he co-produced two Japanese music videos with partner Jim Manley, which received two Silver Awards at the Houston International Film and Video Festival. Besides co- writing the screenplay for CIRCLE, Steven has co-authored two full-length musicals, THE ADVENTURES OF MAID MARIAN, and A CHRISTMAS DANCE, and co-wrote the libretto for the New York based Goliard Musical Ensemble for their tour of WORDSMITH. Steven made his New York debut as an actor in the role of “Melvin P. Thorpe” in THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, directed by Tommy Tune and Peter Masterson, and was featured in subsequent productions of the Las Vegas, Bus & Truck, and Stock companies opposite such stars as Barbara Eden and Edie Adams. He has also worked with, or appeared opposite such talent as Kim Zimmer, Terrence Mann, Barry Corbin, Orson Bean, and Larry Drake. In 1999, he was featured as “Mr. Technically Delicious” in the Short Film LUNCH IN AMERICA, which received Silver Awards at both the New York Film and Video competition, and the Houston International Film and Video Festival. Steven later appeared as guest on BBC Digital Television and Radio Ulster in conjunction with his performance in and direction of Eugene O’Neill’s last play, Hughie, at the Belfast Festival Fringe. Steven is a member of SAG, AFTRA, AEA, and the Dramatists Guild. Briefly stated, his experience in New York also includes on camera principal spokesperson on national and international commercials for such clients as Polaroid, Xerox, Coast Soap, A & W Root Beer, Godiva Chocolates, Wilkinson Sword & Blade, Kaliber Beer, and was seen in his Hanes with super model Carol Ault. He appeared as the “Sheriff of Lanview” on ABC’s ONE LIFE TO LIVE, and was a featured actor in the stage version of A CIRCLE ON THE CROSS, recipient of the New York Drama League’s Award for Best Play. A stage combat instructor and former member of the Society of American Fight Directors, he was also an original founding member of the highly acclaimed “Fights R Us” in New York for which he also produced and directed at several Manhattan venues. He continues to train in the martial art of Aikido with Art Harrison, Sensei, at the Newnan Budokan in Newnan, GA. Professor of Theatre at LaGrange College in LaGrange, GA , “Dr.” Edwards holds an interdisciplinary Doctorate of Fine Arts (Art/Music/Theatre/Philosophy) from Texas Tech University, a Master of Arts from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, a Bachelor of Arts from Texas Wesleyan University, and special studies and certification in Dramatic Interpretation from the University of Texas at Austin. Edwards continues to perform, direct, produce and choreograph professionally in New York and Regional Theatres. He has served on the Governor’s Committee for the Georgia Council for the Arts as a Theatre Panelist and is a past chair of the Professional Division of the Georgia Theatre Conference.
Cheryl J. Elliott Wilkins (Executive Producer and Producer)
– Cheryl has produced independent feature films, documentaries, children’s films, and multimedia productions for over 20 years. Through her company, Legacy Group Productions, her
endeavors have included development of several feature films including MIRACLE IN LANE TWO (produced by Disney Channel in 2000); BUTTERFLY KISSES: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO DADS, a national primetime television father’s day special; THE RADICALS, a docu-drama feature on the origins of the Anabaptist movement in the 1500s (winner of CINE Golden Eagle, the Chris Award from the Columbus International Film Festival; the Silver Award from Worldfest-Houston; and “Best Film of the Year” by the Religious Public Relations Council of America); TOP OF THE BOTTOM HALF, a one-woman show on breast cancer (winner of the Silver Award in Women’s Issues at the 2000 Worldfest-Houston); STRIPES & STARS, an art appreciation kit including a children’s book, meet-the-artist video and K-3 educator’s guide; WATERDANCE, a symphonic film of a ballet of life in the sea, with an original symphony performed by the London Symphony Orchestra; and A CIRCLE ON THE CROSS, explores the human capacity for survival at all costs. For her “day job,” Cheryl currently works in marketing and external relations for the Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance (IIIA) at James Madison University, which supports the University’s research efforts in the area of homeland security. She oversees websites, publications and special events, including JMU’s annual homeland security symposia at the National Academies of Science. An undergraduate alumna of James Madison University, Cheryl also holds a master’s degree in public communication from The American University, Washington, D.C. Active in her community, Cheryl serves on a variety of arts-related, economic development boards and events committees, often coordinating marketing, photography, and design efforts. She lives with her two teenagers and a multitude of animals in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
The soundtrack for A CIRCLE ON THE CROSS is an original symphony composed by award-winning composer Lee Johnson. The soundtrack was recorded by the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow. Lee’s latest work is “Dead Symphony No. 6,” which is more than just pop songs arranged for an orchestra, it’s a 12-movement symphony that twists the Greatful Dead songs in inspired adventurous directions. For more information and to listen to samples of Lee’s work, visit his website.
When the film was in the pre-production stage, Keni Thomas wrote a song based on the screenplay. He performed the song on set for the cast and crew during production. In the years since production, this CIRCLE song became part of Keni’s Flags of our Fathers: A Soldier’s Story CD. Kenny Rogers performs the introductory statement to the Circle on the Cross song. See Keni’s website for more information on Keni and to order the CD. Keni also wrote and performed a second song, “That’s My Dad,” for the movie, which is on Keni’s newest CD, Gunslinger. (A former Army ranger and member of the elite Task Force Ranger assault unit, Keni Thomas fought in the Somalia battle recounted in the book and motion picture “Black Hawk Down.” He also served as military advisor for the film “We Were Soldiers.” Keni was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and the combat infantryman’s badge.)
Each name is preceded (on the west wall of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, D.C.) or followed (on the east wall) by one of two symbols: a diamond or a cross. The diamond symbol denotes that the serviceman’s or servicewoman’s death was confirmed. The approximately 1,300 men who names are designated by the cross symbol were either missing or prisoners at the end of the war and remain missing or unaccounted for.
“In the event a serviceman’s remains are returned or he is otherwise accounted for, the diamond symbol will be superimposed over the cross. If a man returns alive, a circle, as s symbol of life, will be inscribed around the cross. As of this time, there are no circles on the wall.”
–Statement at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, D.C.