The large-cast musical with book and lyrics by Lee Goldsmith and music by Roger Anderson was among titles announced by Samuel French in its list of January 2009 acquisitions. The bicentennial of the birth of the 16th U.S. President is being celebrated around the country in 2009.
As previously reported on Playbill.com, Abe — a traditional musical rooted in the Rodgers and Hammerstein tradition — will have its world premiere Feb. 20 by the Muddy River Opera Company, the troupe that performs operas and musicals in Quincy, IL. Quincy was the site of one of the famous 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates in which Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, candidates for the Illinois seat in the U.S. Senate, spoke on the day's issues.
Sam Hepler will play Lincoln for Muddy River. Greg Anthony (Signature Theatre's Ace) penned orchestrations.
Anderson and Goldsmith wrote the scores to the musicals Shine (book by Richard Seff), Quality Street and Ladykiller (book by Chuck Blasius), and the Carbonell Award-winning Chaplin (book by Ernest Kinoy), which was recently seen in a U.K. workshop production.
In 2008 Goldsmith's longtime collaborator Anderson began work on the now-completed score, "which uses bold, melodic and traditional musical theatre styles that embrace the story's period and Americana roots," composer Anderson said.
For information about Abe, visit samuelfrench.com or abethemusical.com.
As previously reported, Abe has been picked up for a second 2009 production — at the Illinois historic site where much of the show is set. Kari Catton, executive director of Theatre in the Park, the resident non-Equity company at Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site near Petersburg, IL, previously told Playbill.com that the musical by lyricist-librettist Lee Goldsmith and composer Roger Anderson will be one of a handful of summer 2009 shows at the 535-seat outdoor amphitheatre there.
New Salem State Historic Site, a reconstruction of the village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood (around 1834-39), is two miles south of Petersburg and about 20 miles northwest of Springfield, IL.
The New Salem State Historic Site is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state of Illinois.