Technically, the Civil War ended at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. Frank Wildhorn's The Civil War, however, takes its last shots in Denver, where it runs at the Buell Theatre June 13-25.
This isn't the end for the boys in blue and grey, though. The tour's retelling of the War Between the States resumes Feb. 27, 2001 at Seattle's Paramount Theatre.
Larry Gatlin, who has been alternating with John Schneider in the lead role of the Confederate captain, finishes the tour in Denver. Country singer Gatlin was a vet of Broadway's The Will Rogers Follies and other regional musical productions.
Also in the cast are multiple Grammy Award-winning gospel star Bebe Winans, original cast members Keith Byron Kirk (who played Frederick Douglass), Michael Lanning (who was Capt. Emmett Lochran of the Union Army), Mike Eldred (who was Cpl. John Beauregard, Confederate Army), Royal Reed (who was Sgt. Byron Richardson, Union), Chris Roberts (a swing on Broadway) and Bart Shatto (who was Pvt. Elmore Hotchkiss, Union), John Ayres, Moses Braxton, Dan Cooney, Steve Gannon, Dawana Gudgers Richardson, Amy Rutberg, Maylayna Syms, Carolyn Saxton and Traci Lyn Thomas.
Winans is best known as the male half of the duo, BeBe & CeCe Winans, who first began recording together in 1987. Winans himself received four Grammy Awards, two of which were for Best Soul Gospel Performance by a Male. 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 at the Arnoff Center in Cincinnati.
Tickets for the Denver engagement are $55-$15. The Buell Theatre at the Denver Theatre Center is located at 14th and Curtis Streets. For tickets, call (303) 893-4100 or (800) 641-1222.
Rayne, a Trevor Nunn associate whose background includes Shakespeare, will stage 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).