Stories From The War

WWII Vets in Their Own Words

with Adam Mellema

Stories from the War: WWII Vets in their Words

Adam brings to life the stories of real men and women—told in their own words— based on interviews he conducted with the people who were there.

It was a time when patriotism swelled and Americans banded together. It was a time when the women went to work for the men, and the men went to work for Uncle Sam. It was a time of action and sacrifice. It was a generation that become known as "The Greatest Generation."

Stories From The War draws us back to this era through personal stories and wartime songs, capturing a unique piece of the early 1940’s experience. This poignant collection has been celebrated as a gripping history lesson, a tender look at humanity in trying times, and a surprising trip down memory lane.

Adam commands the audience's rapt attention... the importance of what he does cannot be emphasized enough.
- Lily Holleman Leirness, President, The Los Angeles Breakfast Club

In Stories From The War, we meet:

  • Lee Zimmerman, who tells of being shot down over Germany and living as a prisoner of war.
  • Meyer Fishbein, the slacker engineer who slept through D-Day.
  • Sy Bierema, who was on the toilet when his ship was torpedoed in the Pacific.
  • Evelyn Sholley, a respected officer whose story highlights the role of women in the war and the importance of family history. You’ll also meet Stanley, the enlisted man with whom she had a clandestine romance!
  • James Tinker, who worked his way up and faced firsthand the terror of the Nazis. As Mellema performs this story, he applies old-age make-up and journeys from age 18 to 80 right before our eyes.
Not only was Adam's portrayal of these veterans uncanny, but his passion for these stories was contagious. Afterwards everyone lingered to share their own stories!
- Peggy Child Smith, Bay View Historical Society

The History of This Show

In 2003, while living in the nation's capital, Adam created "Washington Talks!" a project at Round House Theatre that brought the extraordinary stories of ordinary Washingtonians to the stage. The Washington Post wrote "his audiences learned that even a place that famously lacks a distinctive identity is near to bursting with stories very much its own." Although Adam set out looking for stories about Washington, he found that most of the people he interviewed had compelling World War II stories... stories that were begging to be told. This sparked memories of the tales his own grandmother had told him about her experiences, and Stories From The War was born.

Stories From The War has since been performed at such venues as the Los Angeles Breakfast Club, Calvin College, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, the Red Barn Playhouse in Saugatuck, MI, Jackson District Library, Bay View Historical Society in Petoskey, MI, various high schools, veterans homes, senior living facilities, and Shanghai American School in China.

Adam had us all entranced while he aged, using makeup and outfits. He drew us into the lives and memories of veterans from the past, sharing their trials and triumphs. His stories were real and raw with hardly a dry eye in the theater.
- Annette Hoppenworth, Program Coordinator, Kalamazoo Valley Museum

About Adam Mellema, Storyteller

As a storyteller, Mellema has performed in China, South Africa, Kenya, Mexico and around the US most notably at the Washington Storytellers Theatre, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Olympics. Adam studied acting at The [Goodman] Theatre School in Chicago and received a BA in Theatre from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Trained in the tradition of the Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association, Adam ranked among the top three storytellers in the state three years running.

Adam also moonlights as Head of Content for Yippee TV, a streaming service for kids. Since launching in 2019, Mellema has overseen the licensing of hundreds of shows, and the creation of 50 original series. Mellema co-created the campy action figure hit, Playtime, and Backseat Drivers, the world’s first car show for kids. His preschool series, Maggie's Market, is in its second season.

Adam won a regional Emmy Award for his work on Come On Over, his first kids TV show gig. For Disney Channel, Adam was a producer and writer on all 12 Disney Channel feature-length “What’s What Editions,” (akin to VH1’s pop-up video) including High School Musical, and Camp Rock. At the Hub Network, Adam’s favorite projects included an Alf Marathon (hosted by Alf) and Blossom Reunion.

In his "spare time," Adam directs Barbie TikTok videos, visits old places, and avidly explores both fancy restaurants and dive bars.

Booking Information:

Email Adam at: adam@adammellema.com
You can also reach him at 616.304.7889