"Vidal's new play will be produced as a staged theatrical concert reading, in the style of such classical presentations as Don Juan in Hell, John Brown's Body and, more recently, Love Letters and The Exonerated," according to the Theater Previews announcement. "Vidal will be active in both the production process and in related academic activities on campus."
Warner Shook (The Kentucky Cycle) will direct the premiere of On the March to the Sea Feb. 22-March 6, 2005, at Reynolds Theater on the Duke campus.
"On the March to the Sea is a play whose universal themes of betrayal, honor and integrity in time of war resonate now more than ever," Zannie Giraud Voss, producing director at Duke, said in a statement.
According to the announcement, "One of our nation's most respected authors delivers a ripping new tale set during one of America's darkest hours. At the height of the Civil War, Hinks, a Southern opportunist, christens his palatial new home and sends his sons off to war. But when the Union soldiers commandeer his estate, Hinks must choose between duty to his friends and the Confederacy or protecting his legacy."
Gore Vidal is the prolific American novelist, playwright, screenwriter, historian and essayist. His 22 novels include his historical series "The American Chronicle," comprised of seven novels, including "Burr," "Lincoln," "1876," "Hollywood," "Empire," "Washington, D.C." and "The Golden Age." Among his other major works are "Julian," "Myra Breckenridge" and "Duluth." His plays include Visit to a Small Planet, The Best Man, Romulus, Weekend and An Evening with Richard Nixon. His film works include "The Catered Affair," "Suddenly, Last Summer," "Ben-Hur," "The Best Man" (Best Screenplay, Cannes Film Festival) and "Is Paris Burning?" Casting has not been announced. On the March to the Sea received a developmental reading this past fall at Hartford Stage Company.
Theater Previews at Duke's mission "is to serve as a breeding ground for professional, innovative and high quality new plays and musicals, and to offer audiences the opportunity to engage in productions in a variety of stages of development. The presence of the playwright is an essential part of the program. Theater Previews provides the personnel, space, time and support required to bring his or her vision to fruition in the course of producing work that makes a contribution to the field on a national scale."
Voss said in a statement, "We seek to serve playwrights by nurturing their works, which in turn serves the American theatre by contributing to our generation's body of expression and legacy and provides audiences with engaging, stimulating and high caliber art."