A Musical in One Act

Book, lyrics, and music by Daron Hagen


Three old Juilliard school chums — a composer named Robbie, a singer named Roger, and Roger’s ex-wife, a singer named Rose — reunite at Robbie’s request to perform for financial backers a revised version of I Hear America Singing, a musical that, two decades earlier, established Robbie’s career on Broadway. Roger’s alcoholism has stalled his career and ended his marriage; now he’s living with his ailing mother in Milwaukee. Based in Chicago, Rose has been performing on the road for years. She’s thinking about changing her life. Robbie lives in Manhattan on the Upper West Side (where the show takes place). Robbie, who is “between hits,” views this show as his comeback. Rehearsing, the three reminisce, debate the past, and experience epiphanies that the composer describes as “revolutions of the heart”.  “This revolution,” Robbie tells them, “consists of reconnecting with your earlier selves, embracing personal reinvention, and rekindling old love.” The show’s score does the same thing by taking old songs and making them new, and providing new songs that revisit old tropes.

The words and music are both clever and compelling. The harmonies are rare and exciting. This is a work where you have to pay attention. ‘I Hear America Singing’ is the kind of impressive, unique and fascinating production that deserves a full house every night
— Dave Begel, OnWisconsin.com

Premiere Production
Spring 2014
Broadway Theater Center
Skylight Music Theater
Milwaukee, WI

Commissioned by the Skylight Music Theatre

Running Time

60 minutes, with no intermission


  • Robbie (tenor / pianist)
  • Rose (soprano)
  • Roger (baritone)
Hagen has composed a message that ‘love abides,’ whether in love of art, country, music, personal relationships or self. In this inventive production that defies conventional definitions, each of the 18 original musical numbers fuses musical genres with sincere inspiration that uncovers the buried meanings to the word love.
— Peggy Sue Dunegin, Broadway World