Past Press Release
STORY OF WW 2 BAY AREA HISTORY, RIVETS RETURNS TO THE SS RED OAK VICTORY ON SITE OF THE KAISER RICHMOND SHIPYARDS
“Homefront Soldiers,” the family and loved ones 16 million American WW 2 Soldiers left behind while fighting overseas, are celebrated in RIVETS by Kathryn G. McCarty and Mitchell Covington, opening August 28 on the SS Red Oak Victory at the site of the historic Kaiser Richmond Shipyards in the Rosie the Riveter National Park. The Kaiser Shipyards, the most famous and productive shipyards in the San Francisco Bay Area, serve as backdrop for RIVETS, which will run on the historic site Fridays-Sundays, August 28- Sept. 27. Last Fall, RIVETS played to full houses, and the show's success prompted another run, in which several new songs will be added. The Red Oak Victory ship is the last surviving Victory ship built and launched in the Kaiser Richmond Shipyard. “The show’s characters are fictional,” McCarty explains, “but the story is based on a decade of historical research. Henry J. Kaiser's Shipyards produced the ships that helped America win WW 2, and changed our country forever.” McCarty noted that the entire Bay Area played a critical role in America winning the war, "Richmond, Sausalito, Marin, Vallejo, San Francisco, Oakland - the characters and plotline of RIVETS are a tapestry of the entire Bay Area's dedication to the war effort." With most of the Country’s men at war, women entered the work force for the first time in history. Women known as “Rosie the Riveter,” “Wendy the Welder” and “Dynamite Dorothy” were led by industrial geniuses like Henry J. Kaiser. The Bay Area had the largest concentration of shipbuilding, reaching from the Golden Gate nearly a hundred miles east to Stockton, with 14 shipyards contained within the area. The Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond employed over 40% of the area’s 250,000 shipyard workers. The deck of the SS Red Oak Victory boasts views of both the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges and the Port of Oakland. “We are grateful to have a musical that celebrates the dedication of Americans during WW2 performed on the ship,” said Lois Boyle, President of the Richmond Museum Organization, owners of the Red Oak. Boyle is optimistic about the future of the SS Red Oak Victory, adding that the organization " is engaged in an all-out effort to raise funds to put the ship in drydock for the badly needed hull painting and engine room work so that the ship will once again sail." According to Boyle, unlike any surviving WW2 ship in the entire Country, the historical integrity of the Red Oak Victory will remain in tact when it has been restored. "It is a museum, above all. It is a piece of of history and RIVETS brings the history of the Yard and the Rosie the Riveters to life in 3-D.” “RIVETS is the story of the Rosie the Riveters, the women of World War II who influenced generations that followed. It is the story of the development of the Bay Area where the population swelled as people migrated to the East Bay in search of war production work,” said McCarty. "Because we are developing a new musical, this is an excellent opportunity to further work on the script and to add additional songs to the show." said Mitchell Covington, the show's composer. Covington is an award-winning Bay Area composer whose works span many genres including music for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensemble, theater, television and film. He has recently written the score for the television series "Saving the Bay," currently in production for Northern California Public Television. He has also composed the music for over 20 independent film projects, and has served as Director of Music for First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley for 17 years. "The show contains moments that are heroic, poignant, funny and dramatic—these have provided me with many wonderful opportunities to compose music in a broad range of styles and emotions." Covington says. According to McCarty, the production team is enthused about the opportunity to continue to partner professional theatre with community service. Among the community groups that RIVETS will help support are the Blue Star Moms, a service organization created during World War II. Patrons will receive ticket discounts with donations for Holiday Care packages to the Blue Star Moms who have sons and daughters currently serving in branches of the Military all over the world.
In addition, all WW2 Military Veterans and “Rosie the Riveters,” and uniformed soldiers will receive complimentary admission to the show.
“The 1940’s were the beginning of monumental transformations between both sexes and races” said McCarty, citing President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 8802 as an example. “As a result of pressure from the African American Porter’s Union, President Roosevelt banned discrimination in War Production industries and Government because of race, creed, color, or national origin. These people changed the world."
“Before that, Blacks and Whites were assigned separate drinking fountains. Interracial relationships were a felony -- there was no such thing as interracial marriages.” added McCarty, acknowledging parallels between those laws and present day legislation to ban same sex marriages.
While RIVETS is based on fictional characters, McCarty spent 10 years researching the development of the Bay Area during the 1940’s. “I've blended historical information with fictitious story lines and characters,” explains McCarty, who says RIVETS explores many aspects of the 1940’s America, including American Industrialization, War Propaganda, Rationing and Changing Roles between the Sexes and the Races. “We have been very pleased with the response from the earlier productions,” McCarty said, adding that while enjoying the response from critics, “The most heartfelt review came from an original Rosie who told us that she felt that she’d been ‘transported back in time.’ You can’t ask for more.” For tickets to the performance call (925) 676-5705 or visit Galateanplayers.com Performances are Friday - Saturdays Aug. 28- Sept. 27, Friday, Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3. Saturday matinees will held on Sept. 12, 19, 26. Before the Saturday and Sunday matinee performances, the Ship is open to visitors on Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., donations requested. Please note that access to the ship requires the ability to climb stairs.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE VICTORY SHIP SS RED OAK VICTORY
Tours of the SS Red Oak Victory are available before all Sunday performances. Visiting hours are 10 AM - 3 PM. $5 donation requested.
A Pancake Breakfast will be held on the Ship's Deck on September 13th - 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Cost $6
Note access to the ship requires the ability to climb stairs
Launched November 9, 1944 as the SS Red Oak Victory, then commissioned as the USS Red Oak Victory (AK235) in December, 1944, the Red Oak Victory is the only vessel built by the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, California that is being restored. It is number 558 of the 747 ships built in the Yard.
The ship served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. In 1996, by an Act of Congress, title to the SS Red Oak Victory was conveyed to the Richmond Museum Association.
The SS Red Oak Victory, built in Yard 1, was named after the town of Red Oak, Iowa, which suffered the highest per capita casualty rate of any American town during World War II.
The USS Red Oak Victory (AK-235) served as a Navy ammunition carrier. In her maiden voyage she hauled over 10,000 tons of ammunition from the Port Chicago Ammunition Depot to the South Pacific.