When the Civil War ended at Appomattox Courthouse, the fighting ended. Not so Frank Wildhorn's The Civil War, which, after finishing its first leg in Denver June 13-25, 2000, starts up again in Seattle Feb. 27.
This engagement at the Paramount Theatre will run through March 4. Other cities to be visited by The Civil War include Minneapolis, St. Louis, Houston (where the show originated), Orlando, New Orleans, Dallas and San Diego.
Larry Gatlin again takes the leading role of the Confederate Captain. The country singer was a vet of Broadway's The Will Rogers Follies and other regional musical productions.
Also in the cast are original cast members Keith Byron Kirk (who played Frederick Douglass) and Michael Lanning (who played and still plays the Union Captain).
Unlike Broadway, tour performers play non-specific characters — officers, soldiers, slaves, wives, African-American abolitionists, etc. — in what insiders call a conceptual concert rather than a traditional musical. This is the third version of the show by composer Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel) and writers Jack Murphy and Gregory Boyd. It began at Houston's Alley Theatre in 1998 and was revised for Broadway by director Jerry Zaks in '99. The national tour began Jan. 18, 2000 at the Arnoff Center in Cincinnati.
The tour's future engagements follow:
March 6-11: Detroit, MI; Masonic Auditorium
March 13-18: Minneapolis, MN; State Theatre
March 20-25: St. Louis, MO; Fox Theatre
March 27-April 1: TBA
April 3-8: San Antonio, TX; Majestic Theatre
April 10-15: Houston, TX; Jones Hall
April 17-22: Salt Lake City, UT; Capitol Theatre
April 24-29: TBA
May 1-6: Orlando, FL; Bob Carr Auditorium
May 8-13: Tampa, FL; Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center
May 15-20: New Orleans, LA; Saenger Theatre
May 22-June 3: Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Broward Performing Arts Center
June 5-10: Charlotte, NC; Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
June 12-24: Dallas, TX; Music Hall
June 26-July 1: San Diego, CA; Civi Theatre
For tickets in Seattle, call (206) 628-0888. For all other dates, contact the venue. The Civil War is on the web at http://www.civilwarbroadway.com.
Stephen Rayne, a Trevor Nunn associate whose background includes Shakespeare, stages the conceptual concert about the war between the states. Bookings covering six months have been announced by tour producer Ken Gentry, of NETworks Presentations, LLC. More dates are expected.
Wildhorn's fans embraced the pop conceptualization of the American Civil War, but critics rejected it. High-profile partly for being Wildhorn's third concurrent show on Broadway (including The Scarlet Pimpernel and Jekyll & Hyde), the show earned two Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical. Pimpernel closed Jan. 2.
The tour has a smaller cast, an on-stage band, and will be more loosely theatrical, handing many of the big songs about the people, personalities and tensions of the 1861-65 conflict, to the lead performer.
"At the end of each performance of The Civil War in New York City we saw audiences standing and cheering; some with smiles and some with tears," producer Gentry said in a statement. "And we felt this was a grand reason to bring this wonderful experience to the rest of the country."
"With this new staging we are taking the best of what the piece has to offer and placing it in a new context that makes it work," director Rayne said in a statement. "We are finding the true spirit of this amazing work."
The new creative credits (with some holdovers from Broadway) include musical staging by Peter Pucci (The Joffrey Ballet, Pilobolus Dance Company); scenic design by Douglas W. Schmidt (Broadway's Civil War, Grease, They're Playing Our Song); lighting design by Howell Binkley (Kiss of the Spider Woman); costume design by Christine Hanak (NETworks' current touring production of Show Boat); projections by Wendall K. Harrington (The Who's Tommy, Ragtime, Putting It Together, Civil War); and orchestrations by Kim Scharnberg (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Civil War).
Rayne directed stagings of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Othello, The Comedy of Errors, Hamlet, They Shoot Horses Don't They? and The Great White Hope.
NETworks Presentations, LLC, is a theatrical production company based in Maryland. The current season includes national tours of Annie, directed by Martin Charnin; Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn's Jekyll & Hyde; Hammerstein and Kern's Show Boat; and a newly mounted production of Victor/Victoria.
The 2000 tour cities included Providence, RI, Feb. 29-March 5 (Gatlin), Cleveland March 7-19 (Gatlin), Atlanta March 21-26 (Gatlin), Wilmington, DE, March 28-April 9 (Gatlin), Nashville April 11-16 (Gatlin), Pittsburgh April 18-23 (Schneider), Louisville April 25-30 (Schneider), Columbus, OH, May 2-7 (Schneider), Hershey, PA, May 9-14 (Schneider), Hartford, May 16-21 (Schneider), Tempe, AZ, May 30-June 4 (Gatlin), Costa Mesa, CA June 6-11 (Gatlin).