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Song of Survival

Song of Survival

By Eleanor Harder and Ray Harder. Based on the book by Helen Coljin. Camp score written/arranged/edited by Margaret Dryburgh and Norah Chambers.

Product Code: SE4000

  • Musical
  • Drama
  • Cast size: 14w. (plus flexible female ensemble and chorus.)

Rights and availability
This title can be licensed and sold throughout the World.

* Please note the royalty rate listed is the minimum royalty rate per performance. The actual royalty rate will be determined upon completion of a royalty application.

$10.95 /script

Min. Royalty Rate: $90/perf

In stock


Based on the autobiographical work of Helen Colijn, who survived three-and-a-half years of internment in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps, Song of Survival is "a stunning drama about women interned during World War II in Japanese prisoner of war camps and the music they created to sustain themselves...A powerful and well-scripted depiction of an extraordinary story." (Monterey County Register) Present-day Helen, as narrator, faces herself as a younger Helen in the group of imprisoned women. Conflict results. Today's Helen urges forgiveness, young Helen insists that the daily horrors be remembered. Among the prisoners there's humor, extraordinary courage and compassion, as well as acts of selfishness. But above all, there's glorious music to unite them and give them hope. "Great theatre that touches the heart with its story and music." (Daily Californian) "Thrilling." (Los Angeles Times)


  • Status

    In stock

  • Type of Show Musical
  • Product Code SE4000
  • Cast Size 14
  • Min. Royalty Rate $90/perf
  • Cost $10.95
  • Approx. Run Time 100 min


  • Target Audience High School | College and Adult
  • Performing Group High School | College Theatre | Community Theatre | Professional Theatre
  • Genre Drama
  • ISBN(13) 9780871299642
* Please note the royalty rate listed is the minimum royalty rate per performance. The actual royalty rate will be determined upon completion of a royalty application.

Customer Reviews

"This story is a history lesson, a hymn to bravery and truly a Song of Survival. The play seemed to touch and attract people from all segments of our community and drew patrons aged eight to eighty. Song of Survival is an experience you'll remember forever!"
Review by Jeanne Hopson, The Family Playhouse, West Salem, WI
"This play was an excellent teaching tool as well as a very touching and memorable play. My students learned much more than they ever anticipated. Our audience did nothing but rave. Thanks for providing top-notch plays!"
Review by Bonita Sykes, Honeoye Central School, Honeoye, N.Y.
"I really enjoyed Song of Survival. It is very moving and strong, I particularly liked the fact that its staging can be so simple and flexible."
Review by Dr. Stanley Glenn, Theatre Department Head, UC Santa Barbara
"A fine piece of work … we're sold out for the entire run and we're adding more performances."
Review by Harvey Landa, Excutive Director, The Western Stage
"I knew the play would be good but I just didn't realize the enormous impact it would have on the whole community."
Review by J. Hopson, Director, La Crosse Playhouse
"Four years after our production of Song of Survival, people are still asking when we're going to do it again."
Review by Linda Hancock, Director Western Stage,Calif.

Hints, Tips, and Tricks

"It is a memory piece so think less is more. A few simple pieces allow the audience to focus on the actors and are symbolic of what these women had to live with as wellÑnext to nothing."
Tip by Michelle Long, Charlotte Christian School, Charlotte, N.C.
"Go on line and have students research. Also, have each character keep a journal as if they were in camp."
Tip by Bonita Sykes, Honeoye Central School, Honeoye, N.Y.

Media Reviews

"Song of Survival is a gem of a stage show. The best. Not a dry eye in the house. Those of us who served in WWII as young men had no idea that prison camps existed for captured woman. The standing ovation was for them, too." -Daily Californian

"Song of Survival strikes powerful chords." -The Des Moines Register

"A masterful symphony of hope. Great theatre that touches the heart with its story and music." -Daily Californian

"A stunning drama … This is not a pretty play, it is a beautiful one. The Western Stage has earned it's reputation for fine theater over the years, and this is not its first premiere. It may be, however, its most impressive." -Register Monterey

"An incredible theatre experience … An extraordinary and vital story brought to life in a powerful and moving play. The play reaffirmed my belief that the arts can make us whole, sustain us, empower us to do the unimaginable." -Peter Troxell, KUSP-FM, National Public Radio