With The Civil War on Broadway and Reunion off Broadway, why should New York be the only place the War Between The States gets a theatrical airing?
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel (How I Learned To Drive) will pen her own musical tale of the Civil War, A Civil War Christmas, for a Nov. 2000 premiere at Washington DC's Arena Stage. Longtime Vogel co hort and Arena's Artistic Director Molly Smith will collaborate with Vogel on the work.
Before taking the Arena job for the 98-99 season, Smith headed up Alaska's Perseverance Theater, which served as a second home for Vogel. At The Perseverance, Vogel developed such plays as Mineloa Twins, The Baltimore Waltz, The Oldest Profession and Desdemona.
Currently, Civil War Christmas -- billed as a play with music -- is being planned as a large scale piece set on the banks of the Potomac on the last Christmas Eve of the Civil War. Three soldiers along with historical personages like Frederick Douglass, Clara Carton, Mary Surratt and Mary Todd Lincoln are brought together by chance in the work which will feature Civil War-era ballads, spirituals and Christmas carols.
Vogel began her three year tenure as the Arena's playwright in residence in 1999 with a Smith-directed production of How I Learned to Drive, beginning performances April 23 and running through June 20 in the Kreeger Theatre. In the fall, her Hot 'n' Throbbing, a comic tragedy about sex and sexuality, erotica and pornography, will make its Washington premiere Sept. 3-Oct. 17 in the Kreeger Theatre with Smith again helming. -- By Christine Ehren and Sean McGrath