The production, under the direction of Tina Landau, began previews Nov. 26 and will continue through Dec. 21. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright set out to create a Christmas tale that was distinctly American after noting the large number of holiday productions of Dickens' London-set A Christmas Carol that are produced each year.
Long Wharf artistic director Gordon Edelstein described the new work, which features Christmas carols and traditional American songs, as "Paula's biggest play, the first play she has attempted that is so large in scope. She is dealing with themes central to American spirit and American history – the issues of race, gender, freedom, inclusiveness and forgiveness."
The company includes Jay Russell (The Play What I Wrote), Diane Sutherland (The Light in the Piazza), Marc Damon Johnson (The Brothers Size), Ora Jones (Boy Gets Girl), Susannah Flood, Justin Blanchard (Journey's End), Bianca LaVerne Jones, Drew McVety (Sunday in the Park with George), Rachel Shapiro Alderman, J.D. Goldblatt (Iphigenia 2.0), Brian Tyree Henry (The Brothers Size), Scott Thomas, Guy Adkins, Melanky Welsh and Faith Philpot.
Press notes for A Civil War Christmas state, "It's 1864, and Washington, DC, settles down to the coldest Christmas Eve in years - in the White House, where President and Mrs. Lincoln plot their gift-giving; on the banks of the Potomac, where a young rebel challenges a Union blacksmith's mercy; and in the alleys downtown, where an escaped slave loses her daughter just before finding freedom."
Designing the production are James Schuette (set design), Toni-Leslie James (costume design), Scott Zielinski (lighting design), Josh Horvath (sound design), Daryl Waters (music supervisor) and Andrew Resnick (music director).
For tickets visit longwharf.org.
The Long Wharf Theatre is located at 222 Sargent Drive in New Haven, CT.