The Ford's Theatre reopening season continues with the Tony-nominated "The Civil War" by Frank Wildhorn, Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy. Jeff Calhoun directs the production at Ford's Theatre from March 27-May 24, 2009.
A landscape of the people, voices and sentiments of the American Civil War, this song-cycle is inspired by the words of Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln as well as the lives (as documented through letters, photographs and journals) of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. The production features an ensemble cast with Hal Holbrook as the pre-recorded voice of Abraham Lincoln.
Drawing from the American musical genres of rock, country, gospel, folk and rhythm and blues, "The Civil War" combines the stories of Union and Confederate soldiers, slaves, abolitionists and veterans in an unconventional musical composition. The production is staged in a concert-like setting with a live seven-piece band and vocalists who tell of freedom and patriotism.
"'The Civil War' utilizes Frank Wildhorn's sensational score to bear witness to the struggles of the past, and actively connect those struggles to our lives in the present day," said director Jeff Calhoun. "This contemporary re-imagining, juxtaposed with historical elements, allows a diverse ensemble to simultaneously recall the slave experience, the lives of soldiers and the effects of war on families through a contemporary lens. It is hard to imagine a more poignant place than the Ford's Theatre to present this production of ‘The Civil War.'"
This production is made possible by Nortel, Raytheon Company, ExxonMobil, Southern Company and The Freed Foundation. Ford's Theatre stages are Built by The Home Depot. Chevron is a 2008-2009 season sponsor.
Jeff Calhoun returns to Ford's Theatre for the first time since the critically acclaimed productions of Shenandoah and Deaf West's Big River. Some of his many Broadway credits include "Grey Gardens," "Brooklyn, The Musical," "Deaf West's Big River," "Annie Get Your Gun," "Grease" and "Tommy Tune Tonight!" Additional credits include Deaf West's "Pippin" at the Mark Taper Forum, domestic and international productions of "Disney's High School Musical: On Stage" and the first original ASL musical, "Sleeping Beauty Wakes." He will direct a United Kingdom tour of "Disney's High School Musical 2: On Stage" later this year. Calhoun is currently developing a new musical entitled "Bonnie & Clyde" with Frank Wildhorn, Don Black and Ivan Menchell. Calhoun is an Associate Artist with Ford's Theatre.
The ensemble cast of "The Civil War" includes Sarah Darling, Elliot Dash, Jarrod Emick, Eleasha Gamble, Darryl Reuben Hall, Sean Jenness, Matthew John Kacergis, Kellee Knighten, Michael Lanning (original cast, Broadway's "The Civil War"), Kingsley Leggs, Michael "Tuba" McKinsey, Aaron Reeder, Timothy Shew, Chris Sizemore, Stephen Gregory Smith.and Bligh Voth.
Calhoun has assembled a team of talented designers to create a concert-like setting for "The Civil War." Set Designer Tobin Ost has dressed the stage in a way that emulates the brick architecture of the historic Ford's Theatre, complemented with metal piping and opaque projection scrims where imagery from the Civil War period is displayed. Costume Designer Wade Laboissonniere ("The Heavens Are Hung In Black," "The Matchmaker," "State of the Union") has updated period military uniforms in blues and grays with a modern rock-and-roll sensibility. "The Civil War" design team also includes Music Direction by Jay Crowder, Vocal Arrangement/ Direction by Dave Clemmons, Lighting Design by Michael Gilliam, Video Design by Aaron Rhyne, Sound Design by David Budries, and Hair and Wig Design by Cookie Jordan ("The Heavens Are Hung In Black"). The production team also includes Production Stage Manager Craig A. Horness and Assistant Stage Manager Bradley C. Cooper.