The Civil War, the highly anticipated new Broadway musical composed by
Frank Wildhorn, whose musicals Jekyll & Hyde and The Scarlet Pimpernel
are currently enjoying great success in New York, will have its official Broadway premiere
at the newly restored St. James theater on Thursday, April 22, 1999 following a series
of previews. The musical will be staged by four-time Tony Award-winning director, Jerry
Zaks, and is being produced by Pierre Cossette, PACE Theatrical Group, Inc., Bomurwil
Productions, Kathleen Raitt, Magicworks Entertainment, Inc. and Jujamcyn Theaters.
With the opening of The Civil War, Frank Wildhorn will become the only American
composer in the past twenty years to have three shows running simultaneously on Broadway.
Written by Mr. Wildhorn, Gregory Boyd (Artistic Director of Houston's Alley Theater,
where The Civil War was originally commissioned and produced) and Jack Murphy
(Silver Dollar), The Civil War is a musical saga that takes audiences
beyond the bugle calls and the battlefields to tell the stories of the real people
who went to war for what they believed in. The authors have adapted such original
source material as letters, diaries, contemporary newspaper accounts, and other historical
texts, as well as the poetry of Walt Whitman, speeches by Abraham Lincoln, Frederick
Douglass and other great orators of the day, to create a thematic musical tapestry -
"an emotional landscape" - which movingly recounts individual hope and heroics, love
and loss, and the private battles between brothers. The Civil War is directly
inspired by the actual wartime correspondence of soldiers and slaves, generals and
Presidents, wives and mothers and is filled with the passion, idealism, turmoil and
heroism of the men and women who defined a nation at a time when honor was something worth
fighting for and freedom a cause worth dying for.
A distinguished creative team has been assembled for The Civil War which includes,
in addition to director Jerry Zaks (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Guys
and Dolls, Six Degrees of Separations, and the Miramax film, Marvin's Room), musical
staging by Luis Perez (the new Barry Levinson film, Liberty Heights), set designer
Douglas W. Schmidt (Grease, Damn Yankees); lighting designer Paul Gallo (Crazy
For You, Guys and Dolls), costume designer William Ivey Long (Chicago, Cabaret),
sound designer Karl Richardson (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel), and
projections designer Wendall K. Harrington (Ragtime, Tommy). The fight director is
David Leong and the show's musical team includes Kim Scharnberg (Orchestrator), Jason Howland
(Musical Supervisor), Jeff Lams (Musical Director) and Dave Clemmons (Vocal Director).
In addition, renowned Civil War expert and Columbia University Professor of History,
Eric Foner, is consulting on the project to ensure its historical authenticity.
The 26-member ensemble cast showcases acclaimed singers from Broadway, Nashville,
and pop/r&b music, and includes Michel Bell (Showboat), Matt Bogart (Miss
Saigon), Gilles Chiasson (Rent), Lawrence Clayton (Dreamgirls), Dave Clemmons,
Mike Eldred, David Michael Felty, Cheryl Freeman (Play On!, Tommy), Hope Harris,
Capathia Jenkins, Keith Byron Kirk (Miss Saigon), Michael Lanning, Bethy Leavel
(Crazy For You), David M. Lutken, Gene Miller, Irene Molloy (Andrew Lloyd
Webber's Whistle Down the Wind), Wayne Pretlow, Jim Price, Royal Reed,
Christopher Robers, John Sawyer, Ron Sharpe, Bart Shatto and Cassandra White.
Atlantic Records is releasing an unprecedented series of three distinct recordings
based on The Civil War. Each recording is designed not only as a companion to the
Broadway musical, but also as a unique rendition of the show's music and concept.
The Civil War: The Complete Work - an all-star "concept record" featuring all the
musical content of the Broadway show performed by such artists as Hootie and the Blowfish, Dr. John,
Patti LaBelle, Amy Grant, Bebe Winans, Betty Buckley and Linda Eder intermingled with
thematic readings by poet Maya Angelou and actors James Garner, Danny Glover and
Ellen Burstyn - has been released in record stores all across the United States after
more than two years of preparation. The first in a series of Frank Wildhorn Civil War
album projects, "The Nashville Sessions," was released nationally on November 3rd to coincide
with the show's regional theater staging at the Alley Theater in Houston. It, too, is
now in record stores, and features selections from the show performed by many of
country music's biggest stars including Travis Tritt, Trisha Yearwood, Deana Carter,
Charlie Daniels and Trace Adkins. The Civil War "Original Broadway Cast
Recording" will follow this summer.
The Civil War will be performed on Tuesday through Thursday evenings
at 8:00 p.m. with matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and Sundays
at 3:00 p.m. During the preview period of March 23rd through April 21st, Sunday
performances will be at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and there will be no Wednesday
Tickets for all performances range in price from $20.00 to $75.00 and may be
obtained by calling TeleCharge at (212) 239-6200 or in person at the St. James
Theater Box Office. Visit The Civil War website for more information.
See you Thursday!