Sheet Music
Take It Easy

The author pictured here when he was a Lieutenant in the US Navy 1945.

Take It Easy
A Musical that celebrates a younger and more innocent America
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Raymond G. Fox

Raymond G. Fox (1923 - 2009), a resident of Warrenton, VA, was a fourth generation Oregonian who grew up surrounded by music, His paternal grandfather played a number of instruments and for many years conducted the Sunday concert from the bandstand in Portland, Oregon.

After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1942, Mr. Fox served in the US Navy as an Engineering Officer in the Atlantic and Mediterranean theaters, and later as Commanding Officer of the USS Trapper in the Pacific theater. When the war ended, he joined IBM.

In 1975 he was co-founder of the Learning Technology Institute, an educational organization, focused on interactive multimedia applications. Upon retiring from IBM in 1978, he joined LTI on a full-time basis as its Director and Board Chairman. All the while, Mr. Fox continued writing songs which he would play for family and friends. By the 1960’s the body of songs became oriented to the plot of a World War II musical. Take It Easy focuses on a segment of America’s wartime history on the home front, and the part the American institutions of higher learning played in the war effort. Much of the book was based on his own wartime experience, which placed him on the Penn State Campus in 1943 where an Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) unit was undergoing training. The ASTP, of course, was only one point in a constellation of events and reactions that we call the World War II Era. Take It Easy was written to represent a retrospective, focusing primarily on the youth, of an era now more than sixty years behind us. 

Take It Easy was conceived as a remembrance of the World War II era by one who had lived through it. This structure allows for a unique view of that time. Rather than presenting a bland recitation of battles, names, treaties and events, in Take It Easy we see it transformed into speech, costume, music, and dance. The book examines archetypes, motivations, mores, and home front activities in vignettes that capture and recreate the essence of the time. This re-creation makes it far easier to grasp the reality of the era, and provides a more complete understanding, rather than one that eludes us; for it rests on a nostalgia which is the remembering of those elements of the past that bring its reality back to the people who lived through it. Although 60 years later the manners, mores, and values of the ’40s seem innocent, even naive, the author sought to create a book that would allow the audience to tap into that era.

The first draft – complete with songs, lyrics and libretto – was completed in 1988, and there followed a period of extensive revision and discussion with potential producers. Critique, as well as public presentation of parts of the work came from a number of organizations, including the Musical Theater Wing of the Washington DC Playwrights Forum and the Piedmont Society for the Lively Arts. 

Take It Easy opened off-Broadway at the Judith Anderson Theatre on March 8, 1996. It attracted thousands of theater goers as its scheduled run was twice extended. Take It Easy's 103 performances elicited audience members to write letters of praise to both author and company. The response to the work was overwhelming. After each performance many from the audience were eager to talk to any member of the staff in order to share their emotional responses to this event. It was a portion of their lives or the lives of their families that had not been presented to them in any other form.


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