By Kenneth Jones
06 Mar 2009
Hal Holbrook is heard as the pre-recorded voice of Abraham Lincoln.
The Civil War has been reconceived since its brief Broadway run. This production "is staged in a concert-like setting with a live seven-piece band and vocalists who tell of freedom and patriotism."
The show is billed as "a landscape of the people, voices and sentiments of the American Civil War. This song-cycle is inspired by the words of Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln as well as the lives (as documented through letters, photographs and journals) of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances."
The show uses rock, country, gospel, folk and rhythm and blues and "combines the stories of Union and Confederate soldiers, slaves, abolitionists and veterans in an unconventional musical composition."
Calhoun (Deaf West's Big River) said in a statement, "The Civil War utilizes Frank Wildhorn's sensational score to bear witness to the struggles of the past, and actively connect those struggles to our lives in the present day. This contemporary re-imagining, juxtaposed with historical elements, allows a diverse ensemble to simultaneously recall the slave experience, the lives of soldiers and the effects of war on families through a contemporary lens. It is hard to imagine a more poignant place than the Ford's Theatre to present this production of The Civil War."
Calhoun's creative team includes set designer Tobin Ost, costume designer Wade Laboissonniere (who has "updated period military uniforms in blues and grays with a modern rock-and-roll sensibility"), music director Jay Crowder, vocal arranger and vocal director Dave Clemmons, lighting designer Michael Gilliam, video designer Aaron Rhyne, sound designer David Budries, hair and wig designer Cookie Jordan, production stage manager Craig A. Horness and assistant stage manager Bradley C. Cooper.
For more information visit fords.org.