Linda Eder will not appear in the new Frank Wildhorn musical, The Civil War , during either its pre-Broadway engagement in New Haven, CT this coming February, or on Broadway, where the tuner will begin previews in March 1999. Eder made the announcement Nov. 13 from the stage of New Haven's Shubert Theatre, where she was appearing in concert.
"She said she had some bad news, that she would not be in Civil War" said Andrew Beck, a Connecticut native who attended the concert. "She said, for an eight-show-a-week commitment, she wanted to do larger roles that she could get excited about." Beck told Playbill On-Line that Eder spoke of the leading role in Wildhorn musical Havana as such a project.
Eder spokesperson Beth Nussebaum (of Dan Klores Associates, reached Nov. 16), confirmed that Eder would leave war-torn Atlanta to concentrate on Havana, which hopes to reach Broadway in spring 2000 after a fall 1999 out-of-town tryout. Cities being discussed include Miami, FL -- a natural, Nussebaum says, "because it's so close to the location of the musical."
As for Eder's role in Civil War, Nussebaum says, "She had a small part. Plus she has several albums she has to record, including a new Christmas album and her regular album for Atlantic Records." Eder's many music projects also include more touring and taping a PBS concert special in January at an undisclosed NYC location for airing in spring 1999.
Eder, who is married to Wildhorn, starred in the first staging of Civil War at Houston's Alley Theatre. All along, the Alley staging (which was extended through Nov. 1) was called a regional production rather than a Broadway tryout. Eder called her involvement in the Houston production "a labor of love" and said she did it to be near her husband. The Civil War has lyrics by Jack Murphy and draws from original Civil War-era documents, Walt Whitman poetry and correspondence of the time. The Alley's artistic director, Gregory Boyd, wrote the book with Wildhorn.
The Jerry Zaks-directed pre-New York engagement of the commercial Civil War , produced by Pierre Cosette, PACE Theatrical Group, Bomurwil Productions, Kathleen Raitt, Magicworks Entertainment, Inc., and Jujamcyn Theaters, will play the Shubert Performing Arts Center in New Haven, CT., Feb. 16-March 7, 1999. It will then begin previews at Broadway's St. James Theatre Mar. 23, 1999 for an Apr. 22, 1999 opening.