WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Kurt Weill's and Paul Green's witty anti-war operetta, Johnny Johnson, is set during World War I and the United States, having pledged to remain neutral, is pulled into the fight in order to make the world safe for democracy "over there." Lowly American tombstone cutter Johnny Johnson has been persuaded to enlist in the U.S. Army both by his sweetheart, Minny Belle Tompkins, and by President Woodrow Wilson's promise of "a war to end all wars." But confronted with the horrors of the trenches in France, he is outraged at the absurdity of it all, and with a hint of laughing gas, he fools the Allied generals into calling a cease-fire. Johnson is arrested, shipped back to America, and locked up in a lunatic asylum for his "peace monomania." After 20 years in prison, Johnson is released and makes a living selling handmade toys as the trumpets of war once more sound in the distance.