WSG artistic director Bill Largess will direct at the Stage Guild's new space, the Undercroft Theatre. Webb will appear in the play opposite his actress wife Shirleyann Kaladjian. Both are veterans of Aquila Theatre Company productions in New York City, as well as regional theatres around the country.
Webb wrote the title role of a Pennsylvania farm girl for Kaladjian; he will play multiple roles in the romantic drama, which was inspired by a line in a Civil War diary.
In the play, which climaxes in the notorious Andersonville Prison Camp, Amelia transforms herself from a feisty, lovestruck farmer's daughter to a Union soldier.
"It is a little-known historical fact that there were 400-500 women that masqueraded as men and fought in the Civil War," Webb said in a statement. "My play is not a celebration of the legendary generals that are so often at the center of this history. This is the Civil War from the perspective of a woman — from the perspective of the common people." Webb was inspired to write the play after researching a part he was playing in The Andersonville Trial. He read a journal entry that someone had written at the Andersonville prison: "Rumor has it that a woman has come in here after her man."
Amelia is the playwright's imagined answer to that mystery.
Amelia was selected to inaugurate the Davenport reading series in New York City, sponsored by producer Ken Davenport (Godspell, Oleanna on Broadway and Altar Boyz Off-Broadway). It later had a Kennedy Center Page to Stage reading in DC in 2010, directed by Largess.
"We got a tremendous response and some great feedback from both readings which went into this even stronger final draft of the play," Webb told Playbill.com. "I am excited to bring a full production to the public with some powerful new scenes that have been added to our story. It is a special time to present the play with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War going on over the next five years."
He added, "Amelia is a celebration of the inherent theatricality of watching two actors on a bare stage using only their voices, bodies and passion to create the power and tragedy of the American Civil War."
Performances will play Jan. 5-29, 2012, at WSG's home at Massachusetts and Ninth Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. This is WSG's 25th anniversary season.
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