The Hopes and Fears of All the Years
book and additional lyrics by Matthew A. Everett
music and lyrics by Rob Hartmann
Six actors (three men and three women) portray eighteen characters in four interlocking stories which span four generations of an American family in the living room of the Harrison home on a day prior to Christmas in 1998, 1971, 1951 and 1921.
These holidays hold a mix of love - both requited and unrequited, pregnancy, unemployment, war, divorce, mourning, and distance - both physical and emotional.
Equal parts humor and heartache, the script and musical styles jump back and forth in time, until the tree is decorated, the families in their new configurations are united, and new traditions are forged as old ones are reaffirmed.
In 1998, Abby has been recently widowed by the sudden death of her husband Jeff. Abby's three grown children return home for the holidays, some more willingly than others. Son Ethan arrives with new wife Molly (secretly pregnant). Youngest son Jeremy, on winter break from college, is having the hardest time adjusting, due to unresolved issues with his late father, and his first personal experience with mortality. Eldest daughter Gail tries, with mixed success, to play peacemaker. Jeff's spirit and memory crowd every room as Abby's attempts at humor and normalcy grate on her captive audience.
In 1921, David has lost his job and is in danger of losing the family home. A new job presents itself, but would require him to be away for the holidays, and for some time after. As David is dogged by the thought that his family may no longer need him, his wife Abigail fears that if David leaves, he may not return. The couple struggles to find a way to communicate with one another and strengthen the family before it is pulled apart, perhaps for good. The needs of their children, Margaret and Joshua, and the conflicting opinions of their close friends Will and Ann further complicate the situation.
In 1951, Margaret is grown up with a family of her own. Her son Mickey is returning, injured, from the Korean War, with his army buddy Ben in tow. Her daughter, Abby, here only ten, runs rampant through the house. Her husband Ned plays referee in the sparring match between Margaret and Mickey's fiancee Kitty. Once all six of them are under the same roof, a love triangle reveals the frayed edges of family ties and romantic alliances brought about by Mickey's time under fire in Korea.
In 1971, Mickey and Kitty's nineteen year marriage has finally come unglued, and the awkward juggling of kids and competing family commitments brings everything to a boil.
The full script is available at
part of Matthew's online script store