In a statement Paul R. Tetreault, director of Ford's Theatre Society, said, "In February, Ford's Theatre will reopen its door to once again inspire visitors by celebrating the life and legacy of President Lincoln. This is the most extensive renovation of the site since 1968, and we are excited to offer visitors an enhanced experience that will educate them about Lincoln while letting them share in his love for the performing arts. . . We are thrilled that the reopening of Ford's Theatre will coincide with the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth. In honor of this event, we will reopen the theatre with the world premiere of The Heavens Are Hung In Black, a play about Abraham Lincoln in 1863, one of the most crucial years of his presidency. This play, along with many special events, will provide a magnificent tribute to our greatest president."
Two productions are currently scheduled for the theatre's new season: the world premiere of the aforementioned The Heavens Are Hung in Black and the Broadway musical The Civil War.
James Still's The Heavens Are Hung in Black will be directed by Stephen Rayne and will play the DC venue Feb. 3-March 8, 2009. The play, commissioned by Ford's Theatre, highlights "the five months between the death of Lincoln's son Willie and the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation. Heavens will offer audiences a glimpse into the person who was Abraham Lincoln. Faced with unbearable personal, political and historical pressures, Lincoln copes with the world around him and eventually, through an amazing transformation of thinking, conquers it."
The Civil War, which features music by Frank Wildhorn and book and lyrics by Wildhorn, Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy, will run March 27-May 24, 2009. Jeff Calhoun will direct the musical, which "puts a human face on the greatest tragedy of American history. A musical landscape of the people, voices and sentiments of the American Civil War, the show is inspired by the words of Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth and Abraham Lincoln as well as the lives (as documented through letters, photographs and journals) of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances."
The theatre will also offer several events to mark the reopening of the famed venue. A "Grand Reopening Celebration" will be held Feb. 11 during which filmmaker George Lucas will receive the Lincoln Medal in honor of his accomplishments, which "exemplify the character and lasting legacy of President Abraham Lincoln." On Feb. 12 Ford's Theatre will commemorate Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday with a series of public programs. And, on Feb. 16 Ford's Theatre will host an all-day open house. For more information about the various events, call (202) 638-2367 or (800) 899-2367 or visit www.fords.org.