Tidewater Players opens a musical production Dec. 2 that sees the War Between the States through the eyes of Union and Confederate soldiers who fought, slaves whose freedom was at stake, loved ones left behind and a nurse who cared for the wounded.
"The Civil War" has been described as a "thrilling, gut-wrenching and awe-inspiring dramatic theatrical concert." Reminiscent of Ken Burns' acclaimed documentary, the play draws on letters, diaries and first-hand accounts as well as the words of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Walt Whitman. Music is by Frank Wildhorn, with book and lyrics by Frank Wildhorn, Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy. Songs such as "A House Divided," "Candle in the Window" and "Last Waltz for Dixie" run the gamut from gospel and folk to country, rock and rhythm and blues.
Tidewater Players President Laurie Starkey directs the show with the help of musical director Christopher Rose.
"We [she and husband Todd] saw the show in 2001 on tour and fell in love with it. We were waiting for the right time to do it. We felt like now was the perfect time, the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War," Starkey said.
The show opens Dec. 2 and runs weekends through Dec.18 upstairs at 121 N. Union Ave. in Havre de Grace. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 and can be reserved on http://www.tidewaterplayers.com or by calling 410-939-TIDE.
Civil War buffs will find that the Tidewater production pays close attention to detail. All the costumes are from a Civil War sutler and accurate to the period.
On a recent weekend, most of the cast took a bus trip to Gettysburg and toured the battlefield with a guide to get in better touch with their characters. They posed for the photos that accompany this article near the Peach Orchard close to where Pickett led his famous charge.
Cast members, whose good voices are a must, include Union soldiers Mark Briner, Jeffrey Harrison, Hudson Imhoff, Paul Meehan and Rob Tucker. Confederate States of America soldiers include Todd Starkey, Jason Crawford, Jay Golden, Ray Lawson and Mike Schaefer. In the role of slaves are Michelle Harmon, Donnie Lewis, Paula Diggs-Smith and Leanto Jones, who also portrays Frederick Douglass. Real-life spouses Rondy and Erica Vick play husband and wife slaves who are sold away from each other at a slave auction. Amy Tucker plays a southern belle, performs in the ensemble and plays violin in the live onstage orchestra. Lauren Spencer-Harris portrays the wife of a Union soldier and Jenny Wassom plays a nurse.
Chad LeFleur gathered images and statistics, which will be projected on the walls of the theater. Janet Dill is the stage manager.
It is interesting that for the first time, reports have surfaced about a "theater ghost" at Tidewater. Allegedly, at rehearsals, when the slaves sing "Someday" [we'll all be free], the lights start flickering in time with the music. It is well-known that the hall in which the theater is used to be an opera house. Perhaps the ghost might better be called "O.G." [Opera Ghost], as he styled himself in "The Phantom of the Opera." Whether the lights will flicker for a live audience remains to be seen.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun