Ford's Theatre to Present New Frank Wildhorn Musical Freedom's Song, Driving Miss Daisy and More for 2014-15 Season

By Carey Purcell
18 Mar 2014

Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. has announced the lineup for its 2014-15 season



Along with presenting its mainstage productions of Driving Miss Daisy, the return of Edward Gero as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, the world premiere of The Widow Lincoln and the new musical, Freedom's Song, the theatre will honor the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln and commemorate the 150 years since his assassination with the "Ford's 150: Remembering the Lincoln Assassination."

Special programming for the "Ford's 150" includes a museum exhibition that will return artifacts connected with the events of Lincoln's assassination to the Ford's Theatre campus for the first time since April 1865; an around-the-clock vigil on April 14-15 marking the events of Lincoln's shooting and death; performances of the Society's one-act plays One Destiny and The Road From Appomattox; History on Foot walking tours; a series of free panel discussions featuring historians and scholars; "Remembering Lincoln:" An online collection of personal reactions and artifacts showcasing the response to Abraham Lincoln's death; and more. A full programming schedule will be announced in January 2015.

"Daily at Ford's we seek to honor Lincoln and the tremendous impact his life, leadership and death had on our nation," director Paul R. Tetreault said in a statement. "With next year's season, we will celebrate classic stories of generosity and friendship, and pay tribute to one of our nation's greatest leaders through a vast array of engaging events, lectures, exhibitions and vigils on our campus. We welcome all to learn our national history, celebrate Lincoln's life and be inspired by his vision."

Additionally, Ford's Theatre is committing to a new commissioning initiative, featuring female playwrights. Jessica Dickey, Elaine Romero and Karen Zacarías are the first of many to be commissioned to write plays for upcoming seasons.

"For too long, plays by women have been underrepresented on the American theatre stage," Tetreault said. "Ford's is making a commitment to showcasing women's voices and to developing new plays that explore the American experience and Lincoln's legacy. In addition to participating in the fall 2015 Women's Voices Theatre Festival in Washington, we have commissioned three amazing playwrights to develop work for us."

The season-at-glance follows.

Driving Miss Daisy
Featuring Nancy Robinette and Craig Wallace
By Alfred Uhry
Directed by Jennifer L. Nelson
Sept. 26-Oct. 26

"When Daisy Werthan causes a car wreck, her son hires hard-working chauffer Hoke Colburn to look after her. What begins as a hostile clashing of wills between a stubborn Jewish matriarch and a proud black man evolves into a decades-long friendship as the two navigate Civil Rights-era Atlanta. With humor and heartfelt emotion, Alfred Uhry's Pulitzer Prize-winning play poignantly explores the transformative power of true friendship. Acclaimed Washington stage actors Nancy Robinette and Craig Wallace return to Ford's to perform in this beloved classic."

A Christmas Carol
Edward Gero returns as Scrooge
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Michael Wilson
Directed by Michael Baron
Nov. 20-Jan. 1, 2015

"The annual Ford's Theatre production of A Christmas Carol has been a Washington tradition for more than 30 years. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Originally conceived by Michael Baron, this music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens's Yuletide classic."

World Premiere
The Widow Lincoln 
By James Still
Directed by Stephen Rayne
Jan. 23-Feb. 22
"Ridiculed for her elaborate White House redecorations and extravagant expenditures, Mary Todd Lincoln sparked more controversy than any First Lady before or since. Set during the weeks following Abraham Lincoln's murder at Ford's Theatre, The Widow Lincoln portrays a very human Mary in the aftermath of her husband's death as she mourns the post-war life they will never share. Playwright James Still (The Heavens Are Hung in Black) returns with an emotional drama that explores the tenacious attitudes and heartbreaking grief of the maligned 'Mrs. President.' Ford's Theatre commissioned this world premiere as part of the Ford's 150, a series of events commemorating the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination."

Freedom's Song
Abraham Lincoln and The Civil War
By Frank Wildhorn, Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy
Music by Frank Wildhorn
Adapted by Richard Hellesen and Mark Ramont
Directed by Jeff Calhoun
March 13-May 16

"This epic, concert-style musical features the words of Abraham Lincoln and music inspired by those who lived through the Civil War. With rousing music and stirring speeches, the musical evokes the soaring hopes and tragic losses of the real people of Civil War America. Jeff Calhoun (Newsies) returns to direct this lively historical opus. Ford's Theatre is developing this work as part of the Ford's 150, a series of events commemorating the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination."

Visit fords.org for more information.