Harlem Stage presents the world premiere of The Vicksburg Project, a song cycle created by Eve Beglarian, Karen Kandel, and Mallory Catlett, through January 14. Performances began January 12 at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse.
The new work uses historical diary entries, letters home, newspaper accounts, live interviews, and more to tell the history of the Mississippi city. Focusing on the experiences of women and gender-expansive residents across the centuries, it also features original writing by Karen Kandel and poetry by June Jordan, Thylias Moss, and Lucille Clifton.
Performers include Lauren Genevieve, Karen Kandel, Red, Megan Schubert, and understudy Ariadne Greif plus musicians Melanie Dyer, Gwen Laster, and Christina Morris.
Along with stories from the Civil War, Jim Crow era, and the Civil Rights Movement, The Vicksburg Project also pays tribute to the creators’ experiences as women—"Black and white, straight and gay, the descendants of enslavers and the enslaved." Songs and confessions are inspired by several music genres, including 1860s parlor music, 1920s traditional blues, 1960s freedom songs of the 1960s, and more.
The production also has set design by Peiyi Wong, lighting design by Kate McGee, costume design by Dianne Smith, video design by Wyatt Moniz, sound design by M. Florian Staab, and choreography by Leslie Cuyjet. The production manager is Eric Dyer, and the production stage manager is Jason Kaiser.
The work is produced by Mabou Mines and piece by piece productions.