Amelia, Acclaimed Civil War Romance, Begins May 26 in Historic Military Space on Governors Island | Playbill

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News Amelia, Acclaimed Civil War Romance, Begins May 26 in Historic Military Space on Governors Island Amelia, Alex Webb's two-person Civil War drama about a wife disguising herself as a Union soldier to find her missing husband Down South, gets its New York City premiere May 26-June 17 in a unique site-specific production on historic Governors Island. Performances are free and take place at Fort Jay's Powder Magazine, a 19th-century storage building on the storied island off the southern tip of Manhattan.

Shirleyann Kaladjian as Amelia on historic Governors Island.
Shirleyann Kaladjian as Amelia on historic Governors Island.

This is the same critically acclaimed Equity production that had its world premiere in January at Washington Stage Guild's home in Washington, DC. One of the island's many uses over the years was as a former Civil War prison camp. The picaresque drama, staged with spare intensity that encourages an audience to use its imagination, has its climax at the notorious Andersonville Prison Camp in Georgia.

Webb portrays multiple characters opposite Shirleyann Kaladjian, who plays the title character. Webb and Kaladjian are veterans of New York City's Aquila Theater Company and have performed together in regional theatres around the country.

Of the performances on Governors Island, Webb told, "The Powder Magazine takes everything we're trying to do to a new level. Telling a story from the Civil War in a period-appropriate space demands an even more rigorous attention to getting it right. The ghosts are watching."

He previously said that there were approximately 500 women who masqueraded as men and fought in the Civil War, adding that the play "isn't a celebration of the legendary generals that are so often at the center of history. This is the Civil War from the perspective of a woman, the story of common people dealing with uncommon circumstances."

Amelia "is a celebration of the inherent theatricality of two actors using only their voices, bodies and passion to recreate the power and tragedy of the American Civil War," Webb said. Amelia is directed by five-time Helen Hayes Award nominee Bill Largess, artistic director of the Washington Stage Guild. Four-time Helen Hayes Award nominee Marianne Meadows is the lighting designer. Sigridur Johannesdottir is the costume designer. Stowe Nelson is the sound designer. The production crew includes Joshua Klein, Ian Mortensen and Michael McCormack.

The play runs 95 minutes and is performed without an intermission.

Amelia is presented 3 PM Thursdays through Sundays, May 26-June 17. Admission is free, but reservations are required. The island is not open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays, so access to the play on those days represents a unique opportunity for theatre and history buffs (though ticket holders are not allowed to wander). To make a reservation, or for more information about the schedule and logistics, visit


Amelia had its world premiere at the Washington Stage Guild in Washington, DC, where it was extended following positive reviews. It had two previous public developmental readings. It was selected to inaugurate the Davenport Reading Series sponsored by producer Ken Davenport (Godspell, Blithe Spirit, Oleanna). It was then invited to be a part of the Kennedy Center's Page to Stage reading series.

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