"The Souls of the Sea"
Book and lyrics by:
Allen Estes and Frank Tedesco.
Set in America's oldest seaport, Gloucester, Massachusetts, The Souls of the Sea portrays the rough-and-ready culture of commercial fishing on the perilous North Atlantic, depicting the world's most dangerous occupation through the passionate, colorful lives of the rugged fishermen and their heroic women. Captain Cosmo and his crew, Jack and Manny, meet up at the House of Mitch Tavern on the waterfront, where Cosmo's wife, Marge, rules the roost with Shirley, her widowed sister, and Angelina, Jack's girlfriend. Due to repressive federal regulations, the men had been forced to ship out in the hurricane-prone weather of late fall. Their near-disastrous voyage has left them with a damaged hull and little money to show for their efforts. Marge believes the boat is finished for the season, but Cosmo informs her that he's shipping out the next day. "We're behind on the mortgages," he tells her, insisting he'll be back by Christmas—not a comforting promise since this Christmas will mark the 20th anniversary of the disappearance of Shirley's husband at sea. Meantime at the bar, Manny is spurned by Fay, the local barfly who claims to despise all fishermen, while Jack and Angelina argue and split up over the unfulfilled expectations of their stormy relationship. In spite of all forebodings, Cosmo and the crew set out on their dangerous trip, leaving the others behind to test the foundations of love, commitment and faith.
Frank Tedesco writes, “This story is much about the women. There is an unconquerable romance between the wives/girlfriends and their fisherman. The men are gone for months, and sometimes don’t come back. The women keep the families together, even in times of great fear and loss. This is real American folklore. The fishermen are the true cowboys of our culture; The fishermen of Gloucester and their families have fought a war with the sea for over four hundred years. The many heroes of this saga, both men and women, ought to be household names. These circumstances are very private. The women work hard to keep their families together. There is so much pain and hundreds upon hundreds of lost fishermen over the generations. In early days, there was no Welfare or public assistance. It was up to the families in the villages to take care of each other. The people have preferred to keep a dignified silence about their personal sufferings. There is great risk and not always the great reward.”
The Souls of the Sea: Cast Recording
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Mark S. Fuller, North Shore North
“… a marvelous collection of artists ...excellent title track ... captures the truth of the harrowing occupation of harvesting from the sea”