Shows "C"

THE CIVIL WAR An American Musical Event (a Musical) in Two Acts. Book and lyrics by Frank Wildhorn, Jack Murphy and Gregory Boyd. Music by Frank Wildhorn. Opened 22 April 1999 at the St. James Theatre and closed 13 June 1999 after 61 performances. (35 previews) Authors' note: Many voices inspired the writing of THE CIVIL WAR: Sojourner Truth and Abraham Lincoln; Walt Whitman, Sullivan Ballou and Frederick Douglass; Hanna Ropes and R. E. Lee; Henry Kyd Douglas (2nd Virginia) and Henry Pearson (6th New Hampshire), among others. SYNOPSIS Drawing on letters, diaries, firsthand accounts, and the words of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Walt Whitman, "The Civil War" is a thrilling, gut-wrenching and awe-inspiring "dramatic theatrical concert" that covers the enormous emotional landscape of the most difficult test our nation has ever endured. This epic thematic revue, reminiscent of Ken Burns' acclaimed documentary, puts a human face on the greatest tragedy of American history, exploring not only the experiences of the soldiers and leaders who fought for their way of life and the lovers and families they left behind, but also the hopes and fears of the slaves whose freedom was at stake. It passionately asks us to consider our A flexible, multi-ethnic cast of dramatic singers shines in a parade of emotional, showstopping numbers which encompass the range of American popular music, from Gospel, Folk and Country to Rock to Rhythm and Blues, in a riveting score by Frank Wildhorn, one of Broadway's most popular tunesmiths. STORY Act One Lochran appears with a guitar in front of an oversized, war-torn American flag, circa 1862, and begins to sing (“Brother, My Brother”). Midway through, the flag flies away, revealing the company in tableau. In voiceover, we hear Lincoln speak, telling us that a nation divided against itself cannot stand and that the Union must defend itself. Two brothers step out of the tableau. Sam and Nathaniel Taylor. Through the song (“A House Divided”), they disagree about which side of the argument to join and agree to go their separate ways, neither happy with the other. They step back into the tableau as Bill and Sarah step out, continuing to sing. Despite her protests, Bill tells Sarah that he must honor their forefathers by defending the country that they established. Captain Billy Pierce then steps out, claiming that he will defend Virginia, his land and home, against Union occupation. They all step back into the tableau, which is now a less-harmonious version of its former self. The soldiers burst onstage, and the tableau is broken. Young recruits from both the North and the South shout war slogans and mock their opponents (“By the Sword / Sons of Dixie”). They boast of their strength and envision the glory that the battle will bring them. The scene changes to a slave auction, where the Auctioneer sells off a young black man who stands, head bowed, following the Auctioneer’s barked commands. The slaves sing of the ordeal of being sold as merchandise, separated from those whom they love, and of the terrible life that they endured on the plantations as we are shown projections of tortured slaves. Frederick Douglass prays “the Lord God send / all his wrath down upon what he knows isn’t right” (“The Peculiar Institution”), and the slaves trickle away, the Auctioneer shouting, “Sold!” with each of their exits. Again, the scene changes. Bill’s wife, Sarah, writes a letter to him from their Minnesota farm. She tells him how she is learning to run the farm alone, but confesses that she is still “Missing You (My Bill).” The captains of the opposing sides, Pierce and Lochran, confront their thoughts on the eve of battle (“Judgment Day”). They each pray, asking for God’s mercy for sending men to their deaths in battle. As the